OpenFin has moved into the cloud to provide financial services firms with turnkey app stores and workspace management. The move builds on the OpenFin operating system that allows interoperability between desktop apps and is designed to deliver value to users quickly, accelerate time to market and facilitate digital transformation programmes.The company had been considering building an app store for some years and has released the solution now in response to escalating interest in cloud solutions that avoid in-house infrastructure build and support digitalisation. Mazy Dar, CEO at OpenFin, comments: “Firms want to curate their own app stores, integrate both their internal and external apps, and have easy access to the apps. They need infrastructure for this, but it is not their core competence and it is costly and time consuming to build, which is why OpenFin is providing a turnkey service.”
The apps store is based on FDC3 – Financial Desktop Connectivity and Collaboration Consortium – standards including the FDC3 app directory standards that are close to finalisation. It includes three key cloud features: the app store itself, which firms can use to provide their own private, white-labelled app store that allows users to choose from curated internal and third-party apps that are all automatically discoverable and can form part of a user’s workflow; OpenFin Workspace, which gives users the ability to store workspace configurations so that they can switch computers or work remotely; and OpenFin Account, which enables easy creation and management of user accounts and single sign-on capabilities to third-party applications.
The cost of the cloud services is based on a per employee charge, with employees logging in and firms paying for what they use. The cost of OpenFin OS is based on the number of desks running the operating system.
Dar describes the benefits of the turnkey app store as accelerated time to market, an open and neutral solution, and the ability to integrate both internal and third-party apps to provide users with a common desktop experience. On OpenFin’s commitment to neutrality, the company’s chief product officer, Nick Kolba, says: “Our commitment is to openness and neutrality. For that reason, we don’t mix being a platform provider with being a content creator. We provide the technology, but it’s not our app store, it’s your app store. You decide what’s in your store, you set your branding, you decide who has access to what. We ensure the technology works.”
In terms of a common desktop experience, Dar explains that if a vendor distributes an app to major banks, each bank has its own way of describing the app in an app store, so the vendor has to make the app work in each bank’s ecosystem, which is impractical. Instead, using the OpenFin app store and FDC3 standards, third-party providers delivering apps will do so in a common way such that the app will work in all ecosystems.
The app store also supports web apps and, from the second quarter of this year, will support native apps to cover older apps written in languages such as Java and Microsoft .NET. As sell-side and buy-side firms modernise operations and look for HTML5 apps, OpenFin is increasingly working with development partners that can stand-up apps quickly. These include Genesis Global, Adaptive, Giant Machines and FastFin.