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Following Brexit, and the uncertainty in the banking sector, now is the time for the UK FinTech sector to shine. UK FinTech firms are excelling in offering financial organisations new and exciting digital-driven services for mobile payments, money transfers, loans, fundraising, and even asset management.

In heavily regulated environments, FinTech startups are remarkably agile companies. Some will go all the way and take a prominent place in the market on their own. Others will reach IPO stage and get acquired by big market incumbents. Many add their value unseen, white labeling their SaaS (Software-as-a-Service ) to various FS teams facing particular challenges. This hotbed of innovation, it is hoped, will keep UK FinTech agile and competitive, and the banking sector at the top of its game.

Digital is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the UK economy, and the Government is strongly backing FinTech growth. Consultancy KPMG argues that London is becoming the Fintech capital of the world because of things like the talent pool, expertise, innovation and government support.

Another factor that is driving growth is that leading financial services companies are investing in software development skills, more flexible IT purchasing models, and opening up their APIs, with the help of FinTech innovators.

The network is a critical part of the digital transformation that is happening in the financial sector; as it provides the platform for security, agility, and innovation.

As more financial organisations depend on managing and mining big data, applying advanced analytics, and automating processes, having a sophisticated network is becoming more important than ever.

Whether Fintech firms are building their IT operation from scratch or modernising an existing infrastructure, step-by-step secure and agile network transformation is possible with Cisco, which has all the components necessary to build out the solution that best fits their requirement going forward.

This includes network virtualisation, to translate hardware processes into more fluid, more manageable software ones; automation to raise network and application efficiency; and orchestration to coordinate network operations.

Cisco solutions also incorporate security into the network, leveraging the network as a threat sensor and security enforcer, which is essential in FinTech; and intelligence, to optimise performance and efficiency and discover new revenue streams.

Cisco’s DevNet Data Learning Platform provides the capability to innovate on the network. It provides an intuitive interface, open-source big-data support, and a toolset for data developers/scientists to develop, validate and provision their own solutions. It also integrates with Cisco Streaming Analytics to process streams of data.

Another useful component is the Cisco APIC-EM for building a converged, scalable networking infrastructure. This delivers SDN to the WAN, Campus and Access networks. Through programmability, automated network control helps IT rapidly respond to new business opportunities.

There is also the option for a cloud-managed network with Cisco Meraki: a platform that provides cloud-controlled WiFi, switching, routing, and security.

Cisco offers many implementation options for FinTech businesses to balance Capex with Opex, which is an important consideration whether you are a fast-growing start-up or an established business. These options include on premises; managed services; cloud-based networking, and leasing. Cisco’s flexible software licencing Cisco ONE enables features and capabilities to be more easily managed and deployed across the network.

This makes it easier for businesses to add the features they need, in order to progress along the path to digital transformation. As a result, you can think and act like a digital native, but in a secure and risk-controlled way.

Global insurance company RSA Group implemented a Cisco solution to change its working culture, and reduce rental expenditure, by freeing employees from having to work at a particular desk or office. This flexible workspace initiative was based on secure, pervasive Wi-Fi that gave policy-based access to mobile workers.

By having a single unified network for wired and wireless connections, and a single management interface, RSA simplified its IT management, successfully introduced culture change, and saved millions of pounds annually through desk sharing.

As well as FinTech for banking, there has also been a surge in growth in InsurTech for the insurance industry, bringing innovation through breakthroughs such as artificial intelligence, cloud-based insurance on demand, peer-to-peer technology, wearable tech and blockchain.

As with FinTech start-ups and innovators, these new technologies and initiatives are facilitated by network transformation: underpinned by robust, flexible and secure networking infrastructures.

Take distributed ledger technology (DLT) as an example. This takes an immutable log of data that can be replicated and shared across a consortium of insurers in real-time. At the core of this ‘blockchain-style’ system is a secure, scalable and robust network.

FinTech, InsurTech, and the related banking and insurance sector, face a huge challenge to transform and be competitive. In the light of Brexit, the cost of failing to achieve digital transformation is one for the industry and the country to bear. But if you can get it right, the UK will remain a financial services powerhouse.