Perhaps one of the grandest visions for today's Enterprise IT. Learn more below.


Foreword by an Enterprise CIO

“I have lots of production systems that I am responsible for. A few are new, but many are old spanning many generations of technology. I even have some systems that are 30 years old. They are doing their jobs for the most part, but some of these oldest systems should be migrated to new generations, but they are doing their jobs so far. And, for that matter I do not have anyone who knows them to change them or migrate them anyway. So the only alternative would be to develop a totally new system, but there is not enough budget. I know. I know that many of my peers are in the same boat as I am.

All in all it is a very complex and fragile environment. And I am very limited in terms of how I can control it and make it more manageable. I am totally dependent on a few good people and good fortune, that some of these old systems are not going to go belly-up on me one of these days.

Then there is the outside world with all the denial of service threats, security issues and the like. How can I control this? What happens if the bad guys turn their attention to us? I would not know what to do. I can’t control that outside world. I can also not control what we should do should the attacks come.

Then there are the business units and their business people who are asking for changes all the time. I suppose that from their point of view, their requests are reasonable, but I just can’t deal with most of them. Even if the requests are for improvements to one of the systems where I do have the people and where-with-all to make changes, our enhancement process will take nine months at least and cost over half a million dollars. Well, with changes to those systems, I will have to do lots of integration and testing work - that takes a lot of resources and time. “Tough, business folks - welcome to reality!”

I wish I had some magic that could help me out. That magic would not disturb anything in the data centers, since I can not afford that. But that magic would, for example, let me put something between us and that mean ugly world out there. Through this magic I would want to look at everything that is thrown at us, let the good stuff through and deflect the bad stuff back to where it came from. It would almost be like one of those missile shields they keep talking about in Europe, Israel and places like that. A shield of protection from evil.

But if I had that magic, I realize I could also use it for some other reasons as well. I could use it internal to my data center, such as between systems and subsystems. You know with peaks of use, sometimes our resources are not sufficient to handle those peaks. Since with this magic I am looking at everything anyway, I could probably balance the good stuff from clients that I am letting through so that I do not overload some of my systems, especially the old ones.

But, you know, this ability to look and change everything coming in... well, yes, why not also going out ... you know, there is no reason that I could not change what systems output as well, then I would really have magic in my centers. I remind you, we can make no changes to existing systems - I can’t afford that both in money and risk terms. But, you know, our systems are interconnected and work together in federated configurations. The needs on these systems change often which means that sometimes how they communicate with each other also changes. Wouldn’t it be nice, if I could use this magic that looks at everything, to do more than just look at and deflect messages. It would be great if this magic could augment the old system with new functionality, but instead of implementing it in the old system, the magic does it. As far as all the other systems are concerned, they would not know the difference. As far as they are concerned, the old system changed. This really is getting exciting!

The more I think about this magic, the more excited I get about its potential. Taking it to the extreme, you know, if I put some magic on every wire between all our systems and subsystems and also on all the wires coming in from outside, I could know what happens everywhere all the time and I could change things on the fly by using the magic so that I would keep complete balance and stability in my data center and its operations. That would be nirvana. Because, I remind you again, I would make no changes to the systems themselves, which, by the way, include all the network stuff, data base and data warehouseing stuff. That I guess would be getting as close as you could to total control. And, there is nothing that makes you feel better than being in control whether it is in your personal life or your data center with all these enterprise assets. Just imagine a dashboard with magic information about my enterprise data centers...

Well, here I am day-dreaming again. I called it magic. I suppose that is what it is. You know magic never really exists beyond your dreams. But it sure would be nice if magic could be made real.”

It seems to be the way that many great innovations and discoveries have occurred.  Protean design. Unintended side-effect. Accidental brilliance. Research starts at point x, someone notices y and the world benefits from product z. There are numerous examples in the pharmaceutical industry, such as penicillin and Viagra. You can read about Pfizer’s story here (resources.schoolscience.co.uk/pfizer).

FMT shares this similarity.

The software which was designed for online fraud management had an interesting side effect.  Once it was installed, it could access and alter the data going in and out of a legacy system.  In the early days, this was typically a banking system such as an internet banking application.  The software did this without requiring any change request to the underlying system.  

It was so different to the status quo that it started to draw attention.  “Do-ers” in the enterprise IT function drew close and were fascinated by the simplicity of the architecture and the power of the engine.   When presentations of the outcomes were shown to the executive group, comments such as “wow”, “unbelievable” and “amazing” were heard.  They’re still heard today.

Similar to the pharmaceutical industry though, the process of moving from the ‘research’ and ‘testing’ phases, to that of releasing a product does not happen overnight - and for just cause, as there is a lot at stake.  How is the drug produced, how does it interact with other drugs, what is the right dosage, does it have unwanted side-effects, and in what form is it best consumed for ultimate results?  All of these questions - and many more - must be satisfactorily answered, tested and proven to work.

This is also the case with FMT.  After 7 years, millions of dollars spent in Research and Development and trials and deployments with companies around the world, such as GE Money UK, Vodafone, the Thrift Savings Board in Washington DC, QANTAS, the National Australia Bank, Citibank Asia and many more, Octopus™ has been proven to work. At Experian, the software has been used to process the data of every new product application for a major Asia-Pacific financial institution, from credit cards and mortgages to auto-finance.  In years of non-stop operation, the software has had zero outage and Experian have lodged a single support request.  Yes, 1.  All FMT clients share similar experiences.

Accidental or not, the outcome is clear.

It was early on that Gartner named FMT a ‘Cool Vendor’ and FMT won the Microsoft-backed “Consenus Award” for software excellence.  IBM invested in FMT in 2008 and remains a minority shareholder.  

More importantly, FMT continues to develop the platform and is introducing Octopus™ solutions for more functional requirements than ever before.  And this is just the beginning.

Below is a short list of the companies we keep company with.

Inventions like Octopus™ don’t happen by chance. Nor do they happen by ordinary people working in ordinary enterprises. Large enterprises need to focus on running the business and the whole company has to run like an orchestra. When the maestro lifts the baton, it’s follow-the-leader. FMT operates much more like a Jazz band (credit.)

Jazz is relentless innovation. You can’t play jazz if you don’t really understand music. Deep inside. But you have to let go of what you know. Lose the fear. That’s what makes it swing. A jazz group is multiple expressions of the same mind. The music chooses the leader.

Here are some members of the FMT Jazz Band:

 

Kostas Kostas Siourthas - CEO. Founder.

Ideas man.  For the future. A better, sustainable future. Easy ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ ideas. Hard ‘how did he think of that?’ ideas. Loyal, trusted and trusting ‘people person’.  The conduit.  Relentless passion, never say die, will make it happen.  Some call him "the postman" - he delivers. Masters in Computational and Applied Linguistics.  Spent time busking and playing gigs on Greek Islands over the summer holidays. Has worked in more industries than we can name. Too much energy. Very little sleep. Marathon runner, of the Marathon marathon. Patient entrepreneur.  Of the learning mindset.    

 

BjarneBjarne Matzen - CTO.  Chief Engineer.

Co-authored IBM Red Book on Java Performance and there are many to vouch for his skills in this domain. Previously co-founded ERP software company, used by clients such as Nintendo. Has developed software that’s sold in 26 countries. Has probably lived in even more. His car licence plate is AS400.

 

StuartStuart Mackenzie - Head of Partnerships. 

Left his career in banking to join FMT. Departed the UK prior to GFC and moved to Cyprus. Most recently an avid wake boarder. Over a decade of banking experience in compliance, risk and fraud management roles. Barclays Bank and GE Money hired him to implement and apply the latest software and processes to keep their clients safe and their assets safer. His results were excellent. His ideas won awards. The young companies he introduced to the banking industry and referenced to their investors were acquired, just ask Cyota and EMC. Regular speaker at VISA International’s Security Summits. Trend setter and diligent risk manager. Now helping partner organisations realise their goals and their clients' goals using Octopus™. Willing to invest time and help all who are courageous enough to make it happen. Winner of “Most accessible person” in FMT for years on end - except when Manchester United are playing (or England, for that matter.)