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Lockdown architecture – Building a user-centric platform designed around the mobile worker

Mark Veevers, CEO

Mark Veevers, CEO

16 December, 2020 5min Read
Lockdown architecture – Building a user-centric platform designed around the mobile worker

Mark Veevers and Jago Westmacott of MAIA Technology reflect on how they have built a user-centric platform designed around the mobile worker.

Before Coronavirus (B.C.), it would have been bold to make a claim about the world’s collective feeling, as in a recent article; “The wholeworld is sick to the back teeth of Covid”. Now however, this seems fair and accurate. As always some are more fed up than others, whilst some are thriving.

While many businesses are fighting for survival, the tech giants are getting bigger. Microsoft has reported a surge in usage of its cloud computing service Azure, while in March & April, Amazon hired over 175,000 workers in its fulfilment and delivery network to respond to increased demand.

Others have handled the crisis well from a customer relationship perspective. Pret A Manger made its shops take-away only to protect staff and customers and offered NHS workers free hot drinks and 50% off all food, garnering social media approval. BrewDog used its technology for good, moving production away from brewing to hand gels. ‘PunkSanitiser’ of course.

While the first two business are clearly well positioned due to their digital nature, the latter have risen to the crisis by responding quickly and empathetically to customer needs and safety. Somewhere in the middle lies the way through this.

While coffee and crayfish sandwiches can easily be translated ‘to go’, clients and customers in Financial Technology face a particular challenge: trying to do exactly the same job, to the same standard, efficiency and level of security,under radically different circumstances.

In this context the sudden move to working from home is presenting problems as well as opportunities for both users and service brands. On the one hand start-ups such as Slack and Zoom have been able to use needs created by lockdown to drive trial of their tools for free; in the hope they will have morphed into essential utilities by the time we are allowed out. Other systems meanwhile are struggling to cope withthe increased demand. Corporate networks are experiencing quirks in service and ISPs have been under pressure to lift bandwidth caps to ensure remote workers have access through to the end of the month.

Whatever behavioural shifts we’ve seen, it looks increasingly as if we will never go back to the world B.C., and some are questioning the need for office-based work (ever) again. Long term remote working will affect operational models, requiring greater flexibility, agility and remote ways of working. Corporate cultures will need, in some ways, greater connectedness. Innovations must keep coming to support this change, but still have to be safe and secure.

Security is a critical issue in our industry

B.C. it was managed centrally and oftenphysically, with secure entrance turnstiles before you set foot in the office.Now we have to ensure the same protection remotely which requires in-depth security changes and structural adjustments. A serious matter as since COVID-19 cybercrime has seen an increase in the EU.

Some have worked around access by facilitating a secure connection into the office and from there onto your home computer, but this creates a lag in the system; not ideal when we are already fighting for bandwidth. SaaS helps solve many of these challenges while the resilience of a cloud based system which can be remotely deployed and supported shores up the security of your service.

Out of office

A sophisticated user demands the same experience of their platform wherever they are. MAIA’s framework ensures each user has access to the same interface, workflows and tools whether you are in or out of the office.

MAIA was developed around the fact that the workforce has been increasingly mobile for years; Coronavirus has simply accelerated the process. As a result, the design decisions we took at the beginning meant the application was born in the cloud and we don’t have the technical debt that is incurred when migrating legacy systems.

Remote communication

Perhaps counterintuitively, the huge migration to remote working has been acknowledged to boost collaboration,cooperation and cohesion. In our world of multiple departments, third parties and the need for clear communication, how can social distancing possibly help?

B.C., we generally took it for granted that in the office colleagues would incidentally contribute to conversations and informally trade ideas. How do you recreate that serendipity in the virtual world? Communication does involve talking of course, but it is also visibilityof what other people are doing; a sometimes casual, but in built oversight of ways of working. Your business relies on multiple workflows and people doing different but interdependent jobs concurrently. Without real connectedness it’s easy to make mistakes through miscommunication even when sitting on the same floor; working remotely this problem is exacerbated.

Good technology should help solve this issue by providing a unified view of data in real time; no lag or delay. Everyone must see the same data whether that’s the Compliance team having oversight of risk limits or traders monitoring the impact of market movements on their ability to execute. MAIA provides one unified front to back system, strong communication and an alerting toolset that aids interaction and minimises the chance of workflow breaks, affording real time, dependable accuracy.

Ecosystem view

Good communication becomes even more vital and impactful at scale. Rather than benefiting an individual, technology is at its most powerful when it is being used by everyone in the chain. Historically,individuals would be using a suite of different products to do different tasks,in silos. MAIA has the flexibility and breadth of functionality to empower and control all the job roles, strategies and workflows required by Investment Managers today. We achieve this through distributed design, delivering an ecosystem of specialised engines working together to meet your requirements. One solution for all investment and operational workflows.

User focused

You could be forgiven for thinking MAIA was partially developed in response to lockdown; to the needs of remote working. But in fact the system has been created, crafted, tested and evolved in response to its customers. We believe it’s our philosophy of client centricity that has created a system aligned with needs now and in the future.

As the world shrinks, driven by the adoption of technology, we have observed the increasing correlation between previously diverse asset classes, an increase in portfolio complexity and the need to onboard and manage new and diverse data types. Thriving on complexity, MAIA is a multi-asset system built from day one to process millions of data points seamlessly. We have work flows structured by function which can be accessed directly, enabling users to onboard new workflows without upgrading or reconfiguring the system.

Looking forwards

As we all continue to work remotely into the future, we’re developing more client centric solutions to make life a bit more flexible and collaborative. We have developed notification mechanisms to provide personalised alerts flagging events for action. These sit within a personally configurable alerting framework delivering updates via Symphony, Slack or Teams. In this way we can alert users to what’s going on in the system without them needing to be logged in. Lunchtime bike rides suddenly become a possibility.


MAIA is tailor-made for today’s ambitious Investment Manager. Our cloud-native SaaS technology delivers class-leading portfolio management through an open architecture that places control firmly in the hands of the user. Multi asset, single asset and transformational businesses can select from pre-configured or fully customised workflows. Firms choose us because we are future-ready, with the flexibility to adapt and scale with their business.

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