Do financial apps ever change? Longevity. It is amazing the long life some financial sw apps have realized. I invested $100,000 in 1984 in the predecessor company to Corecard software (later bought by First Data). First Data is still using the software in certain locales – over 30 years later! Sure it has been refined and revised ad infinitum times but it is tried and true and works every time (well almost). I think it is a testament to how tough it is to write heavy duty and stable financial systems (young bucks who think otherwise notwithstanding).
The pendulum swings back and forth over long stretches around this central question. It would take a full white paper to give this topic justice but I have seen it move back and forth every 8-10 years. Want to control your destiny? License (or try to grow your own – good luck with that). But if management wants to focus on their ‘core’ business, then they outsource –process. Corecard had a customer for almost 10 years who had licensed the software and grew the business from 250,000 accounts to over 2 million active accounts (had over 5 million on the system). New management came in and chose to outsource (choice between TYSYS and First Data) to focus on core business. Cannot fault the decision as it is simply a management cultural decision. The outcome was getting rid of IT internal infrastructure, IT headaches, and letting the winner (FDR) deal with that. The tradeoff was less functionality, slower ability to issue new products, and twice the annual cost.
I delivered a speech recently to a group (Management teams for 20 start-up companies). After I had finished, the host said “Thank you. We’re all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.” Not sure how to take that – did he mean “Strange point of view?” Reminds me that my daughter-in-law pointed out a few weeks ago that there is an ecommerce store selling T-shirts with the phrase “It’s a Strange thing – you wouldn’t understand”.