What is AdNovum? What do you do?
AdNovum is a Zurich-based IT company with over 500 employees. Our core business is the development of tailor-made software solutions for large companies and government institutions. Our offering also includes support, operations and IT consulting services, as well as NEVIS, a leading identity and access management product.
Your claim is ‘we are the Tech in FinTech’ – can you tell us more about this?
We have been working for the financial services industry for over 20 years. For example, we developed UBS mobile banking, and we provide the security for the e-banking of PostFinance. More recently, we implemented the UBS Paymit mobile app, and we develop the Twint mobile payments solution. We also design and provide secure collaboration environments for banks and insurance companies. And in addition, we’ve developed the software for several startups with a financial context. In other words, similar to the engine of a car, we provide the software foundation for a variety of fintech ventures – ‘the tech in FinTech’.
How important is fintech for your company and what impact will it have on the Swiss financial market, in your opinion?
The finance sector is our strongest market segment. Our customers need Fintech to develop new markets, address their customers’ needs and – in some cases – reduce operating costs. Fintech is all about innovation. Applying technology to optimize business or to enable completely new models fits very well with our capabilities. Our specialists love to develop innovative solutions, which fit perfectly into existing environments. Switzerland has to innovate all the time to stay relevant and to keep ahead, Fintech is a clear manifestation of this. What is changing is the level of cooperation. Today, software projects have more and more involved parties because the combination of skills, components and people allows going faster and faster and thereby reducing time-to-market.
AdNovum was founded in 1988, so this company has literally lived through different eras of technology. How do you manage to keep up?
Yes, looking back to the beginnings and looking at the technologies used today shows big changes. The methods and tools we use have also evolved significantly. For one thing, the range of technologies has gotten broader. Today, we implement web frontends, rich clients, backends and mobile apps, and each requires a special set of technologies, frameworks and skills. We are running our own technology management to both control the number of technologies used, but also to provide a process on how to identify, evaluate, introduce and fade out technologies. And our automated build and quality control environment includes information about each project and each version of every component that is used. This helps when upgrading components, and it helps to identify affected projects quickly in the case of security vulnerabilities.
Let’s have a look at Switzerland as a business location. Do you think this country is doing enough to keep up with the changes going on the global market? How could Switzerland shape a future-proof economy?
For one thing, we get many talented and well educated software specialists thanks to our education system. This is something absolutely critical. However, this is not enough, we also need to be able to hire specialists from abroad, and we have to be able to bring our employees from foreign locations for short and longer stays into Switzerland. This needs to be made simpler. In terms of mindset, I see a new generation coming which is more willing to take risks, start their own business and make their innovative ideas a reality. We need to create enough room and a nurturing environment for this.
When we take a look at your references, we find the really big names there. Are startups even a topic for you? And if so, at what stage should a fintech startup come to you?
Definitely yes, startups are a topic. Particularly startups started by people with a business background which need a partner that can cover all aspects of designing, building and running enterprise-grade IT systems. Our services and experience cover all stages, from the early stage idea validation straight through to implementation and running mission-critical systems. We’ve done that several times and are eager to take up new challenges!
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