As part of our very foundations and our passion to be involved in Open Source communities across the eco-system, we’ve been engaging with FINOS (Fintech Open Source Foundation) for some time – attending and speaking at events and meet-ups and learning how we can play our part. So we’re delighted to make this official and announce our FINOS membership today.
FINOS is a nonprofit whose mission is to foster the adoption of Open Source, open standards, and collaborative software development practices in financial services. A like-minded organisation with the same views on the power of Open Source as ourselves, we know that there is a mutual benefit to our joining. It has been encouraging to see the number of large Financial Services organisations contributing to OSS in the recent past and we’re excited to see the future potential that exists within this already strong ecosystem.
The growth of Open Source within the Financial Services Industry
In announcing our membership, Gabriele Columbro, Executive Director of FINOS commented on the future opportunity in this sector: “New technology, especially open source, is no longer additive to the financial services industry–it’s something that firms, large and small, must fully embrace in order to stay competitive.” FINOS also referred to a 2019 BDO study which stated that 97 per cent of financial services firms are making significant progress on digital transformation, and 21 per cent of companies list developing a digital transformation strategy as their top digital priority. They believe Open Source has become centre stage as a result with banks, capital markets institutions and others recognizing the value in its ability to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
“The conversation around Open Source used to be a sensitive one, as many firms were sceptical of its true ability to drive innovation and increase overall collaboration,” added Gabriele Columbro at FINOS. “Now, that rhetoric has almost entirely dissipated – the discussion has changed too, ‘how can I become even more involved in Open Source?’”
As a part of our evolution as a technology company we have come up against industry issues around sustainability of Open Source projects, and we are on a multi-year journey to address this issue. As a part of our journey we appointed Danese Cooper (former CTO of Wikipedia, and Head of Open Source at PayPal) to lead this initiative. We see a major opportunity to grow global contributions to Open Source through helping the financial services industry to understand how to contribute to and support the movement. In early 2019, Danese published a book on InnerSource – bringing Open Source patterns into the enterprise – and we are now helping organisations to transform their technology organisations through InnerSource programs and capability building. (Here’s a link to Danese key-noting at All Things Open and a recent podcast with James McLeod about the Lloyds journey to InnerSource.)
So how do we plan to contribute to FINOS?
NearForm’s long history in developing OSS means we have a deep set of skills and experiences we can share with the FINOS members and wider community. Many NearFormers are active maintainers, contributors and advocates and we expect that our approaches will resonate. Our expertise not only lies in the technology, languages and tools but in the ways in which developers can contribute and collaborate. We look forward to sharing this expertise to help members across the financial services industry to effectively engage and actively get involved.
We are also strong advocates of InnerSource and are working with enterprises across the globe to help them adopt this approach to building more efficient delivery models inside enterprise organisations, strengthening their innovation capabilities. Together with FINOS, we believe there is an opportunity within the financial services industry to embrace InnerSource at this stage in their journey to Open Source, in order to reap the benefits it delivers. This will further help organisations in the sector to build proficiency and ultimately a level of maturity around Open Source.
With this, NearForm Research is dedicated to innovation through research and development of major new functionality and advancements in the areas of performance and security, and we are actively looking at how to develop & enhance technologies for the financial services industry.
Cian Ó’Maidín, NearForm CEO and co-founder, commented on the announcement: “We are really excited to join FINOS, we believe that we can help to foster much greater contribution to Open Source from the financial services industry, and also for the industry to benefit at a much greater level from the existing work they’re doing.”
You can read our highlights from FINOS’s recent inaugural Open Source in Fintech Meet-up in London for a glimpse at some of the topics they’re passionate about.