Everything has changed as we've heard infinitely of late and Business Technology News' 10 Tech Companies to Watch keeps pace with the times. In years past, the ranking called out innovative startups with the potential to impact the financial services landscape, and often destined to be acquired by industry giants. This year's list recognizes the reality that triumph via acquisition, the eminence of efficiency, and security and soundness are themes that dominant many conversations.
From the "deals" category comes this year's most influential event, and BTN's number one pick, Fidelity National Information Services' planned acquisition of Metavante likely to unleash competitive pressures that rewrite the core processing landscape in the U.S. Also ranked in recognition of the power of strategic purchases are Mastercard, with its Orbiscom buy; Sybase365, which packs on mobile payments dominance with paybox; Oracle's deal for Sun; and M-Com, likely to set in motion a mobile banking juggernaut thanks to its alliance with Fiserv. Efficiency plays can be found in Verari Systems, with its uber-efficient data centers in a box, and Encomia, which rids the lending process of paper. The final three companies: Secerno, Silver Tail Systems and SAS, all make the cut as security plays of a sort, with SAS given the nod for its impending release of a truly enterprise-wide GRC platform.
This year's selection process was daunting. If only the list were longer we'd include uGenius, for its take on convenient deposits; First American, for its place at the heart of automated valuation; Passageways, for its community bank compliance training; Billeo, as a promising payments play; and Hyland Software for its ECM SaaS efforts. These recovery-focused efforts will hopefully engender a future dominated by the renewal of forward-looking R&D. Rebecca Sausner, Editor-in-Chief
- FIS/Metavante. For Jack Henry and Fiserv, it was the rudest kind of alarm for an April morning. Archrival Fidelity National Information Services agreed to buy Metavante, turning the already cutthroat bank IT vendor game into a battle royale.
- Silver Tail Systems. When a pair like this decide to build a Website security product designed to detect and prevent fraud perpetrated via Website attacks, the market ought to take notice.
- Sybase365. Hearing about all the cool advanced mobile payments applications in production around the world - particularly in developing countries - is enough to make an American mobile banking executive feel a little inadequate.
- MasterCard. MasterCard acquired Dublin-based software company Orbiscom in January for $100 million, hoping to empower card holders with a new generation of tools that include budgetary features and security controls. If the deal delivers, it will be a game changer.
- M-COM. The last year has been an interesting one in the mobile banking world, as players that used to lead the pack appeared to struggle and newcomers booked deals that gave them major leverage in the U.S. market. Enter M-Com, which inked a deal to power Fiserv's Mobile Money product line.
- Verari Systems. Where banks park their data these days is at the heart of countless technology initiatives - whether it's in the cloud, in a newly-virtualized server environment, or, in the case of Verari Systems' customers, in the parking lot.
- Encomia. Everyone's got an opinion on what caused the mortgage meltdown, but Andy Dubinsky's is one of the rare public criticisms of the market embedded with a forward-looking solution.
- Oracle. If Oracle's planned purchase of Sun is successfully completed, it will gain a connection to myriad software platforms built on JAVA by a number of other tech firms. That would put Oracle on the 50-yard line of systems integration, data management projects, the advancement of remote employee and consumer access, and a number of other major tech initiatives impacting thousands of banks in the United States and abroad.
- SAS. SAS this year will leverage its considerable analytic capabilities and four-figure client base to plot a sweeping grab for market share in this highly competitive segment by releasing a series of new GRC-oriented software.
- Secerno. UK-based Secerno makes the Top 10 list based on its unique take on database security. The company calls it active database control - as opposed to database activity monitoring - but it essentially comes down to real-time whitelisting of allowed queries, and blocking those that aren't approved.
This article can also be found at AmericanBanker.com.
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