Middleware solution in East Africa financial services

July 1, 2013

Finland’s finance minister Ms. Jutta Urpilainen said last month in a wide ranging interview with financial daily Kauppalehti that Finland is prepared for any eventuality with Eurozone bailouts including leaving the Euro. She was quoted as saying European banking union would not work if it was based on joint liability. Ms Urpilainen extensive interview brought into my attention how entrepreneurs in Europe and other parts of the world faces a myriad of unavoidable challenges that must be tackled to achieve key business objectives. This should serve as a lesson to East African community member states currently working on a single currency monetary union and harmonizing the region’s financial industry. Many financial experts have strongly opposed the idea. In the regional financial services sector, there are unique challenges facing the industry and middleware offers financial players a platform to integrate and automate business processes therefore limiting the loss of information.

Security is a top concern for financial institutions, given the significant priority placed on it by customers and industry regulators and is well catered by the open source middleware. Middleware is part of software encompassing components including but not limited to application servers for application deployment, enterprise service buses and messaging platforms for integration, business rules management systems with event processing to analyze business events and automate decisions, and business process management platforms to automate business processes are missing in the regions financial sector. Financial Institutions within this industry have failed to place significant focus on middleware software as an integral part for expanding businesses beyond their home countries. Middleware is crucial for the financial industry players because they help tackle the sophisticated business processes, addresses security loopholes, pace and timeliness of information and more importantly the customer satisfaction.

Middleware implementation would also come in handy for financial institutions that badly need to achieve scalability, performance and effectiveness while keeping the costs low. East Africa’s financial institutions should search for systems and policies that are effective, scalable and represent the best technical practices and capabilities in the regions lucrative marketplace. From my perspective, I think middleware requirements are a must implement. Applications deployed and managed by securities exchanges in Kenya (Nairobi Securities Exchange), Uganda (Uganda Securities Exchange), Rwanda ( Rwanda Stock Exchange) and Tanzania (Dar-es Salaam Stock Exchange) should strive to maintain a high level of integrity and peak performance throughout the trading periods. Middleware allows institutions to become more competitive, while at the same offering complex services to customers. Financial services institutions in East Africa should recognize the need to incorporate open source middleware into their technology strategies given the enormous benefits in security, scalability, operations and customer service.

Contador Harrison