Our first article focuses on Nick Meredith, Chief Architect in our Systems team.
Last week Nick gave a demonstration of ATG (the Altus Transfer Gateway which he originally designed) to a new and rapidly growing platform operator. Nick stepped through the entire transfer process from end to end, answering questions and occasionally swerving off to show how some particular use-case could be handled by the system. Three days later, he ran an implementation workshop for the same firm where he explained the key configuration decisions that are needed to set up ATG and the integration options available for connecting it to their existing systems. Next step will be to be hand over to the product implementation team (PIE) to load the client-specific rules and asset universe into ATG, run a few tests and then switch them on as an electronic transfer counterparty.
That would be a pretty impressive achievement under normal circumstances but it’s even more remarkable that this sequence of events has happened under a nationwide lockdown. The entire process will have been completed without any of the team leaving their homes!
This story would have been unthinkable even a few years ago and it tells us a lot about the way technology has advanced in the age of the Internet. Nick ran the remote sessions using Teams, sharing his screen, answering questions via text and video with other colleagues chipping in along the way. ATG itself was running in the cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS) with Nick making real-time changes to configuration to show the effects. Configuration will be completed remotely, and the client will go live without ever having met the team face to face.
Of course, it’s one thing knowing the technology exists but it’s another to have successfully adopted it and Nick has been central to that at Altus. He’s been responsible for our software design principles since the company was founded and Altus was an early adopter of Teams and collaboration tools for our software developers. We also embraced the concept of remotely hosted systems from the outset, even when most financial services firms insisted on having software installed on their own premises. All Altus systems have been designed to be multi-tenanted with secure segregation of clients’ data but, crucially, running on one single version of the code. Considerable engineering effort is required to achieve that whilst still accommodating multiple different ways of working but the results are worth it and made remote hosting possible.
Over the years, more and more organisations have seen the benefits of hosted solutions and today we have over a hundred clients running on our systems in the cloud with only a tiny handful of installed clients. Because of the way our systems have been designed, it was a painless exercise to move them from hosted data centres to AWS and none of our customers even noticed we’d done it. The benefits in the current crisis now speak for themselves – as well as our ability to demonstrate, configure and deploy for clients, the AWS infrastructure can scale instantly which has allowed us to handle some significant peaks in transaction volumes over the last few weeks.
All of which probably explains why Nick says he’s been working from home for years!
If you would like more information, or would like to talk to Nick about any of the issues raised in this article, please get in touch with a member of our Press Office team.