Based in the City of London, Lanware is a specialist Managed Service Provider to the mid-market Financial Services sector. Here, Henry Duncombe, Managing Director explains the product behind the success.

The Lanware flagship service, Finance Forward 365, is an end to end solution which provides clients with fully managed end user support, modern workplace technology, unified communications, public cloud infrastructure, cyber security and business intelligence all tailored to the strict compliant needs of a financial firm. It is built almost exclusively using Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Azure products, unique pure public cloud offerings in the market. It has allowed all clients to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to focus on what they do best, managing financial services not IT in very difficult market conditions.

Our financial services sector clients range from a growing number of independent asset managers, hedge funds, through to insurance companies and payment providers. By partnering with Lanware the clients benefit from industry experience and being part of a close-knit community of clients with similar needs, cultures, and objectives. Something which they could not get with a generalist managed service provider.

Tell us about your award entry for Specialist Vendor of the Year?

Our entry for Specialist Vendor of the Year is based on Lanware’s success in helping financial firms over the last 18 months in very turbulent times. To support this, we led with an example case study from a Lanware client Skytra, who launched an innovative Financial Services start-up right at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and overcame numerous challenges to establish their business with the help of Lanware.

Skytra, is a new Airbus company established in early 2020 to provide highly regulated financial instruments and infrastructure to support the air travel industry’s revenue risk management. For example, its unique financial products allow airlines to hedge their revenue risk.

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As a start-up with ambitious timescales, Skytra needed an IT partner that was agile, experienced and responsive to support its day one requirements as well as long term strategic business technology needs, whilst ensuring the highest levels of security to meet stringent regulatory requirements.

Skytra was in the process of applying to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for authorisation to act as a Benchmark Administrator and to operate a Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF)

Lanware’s aim was to help Skytra launch their business which included a new green-field technology platform, setting up new UK offices, transferring data from Airbus, putting in place connectivity to trading venues and being able to tactically support a small number of founding users as well as putting in place a full solution for the rest of the future business. All of which had to be completed within the first six months of 2020.

What feedback have you had from your customers?

Our goal is not to be just seen as another ‘supplier’ but a true partner that proactively guides customers based on the changing needs of their business. We received great feedback from our clients, including Jeremy Norwood, CIO, at Skytra:

‘As a CIO, you need confidence in the technology solutions that you provide to your users. The high-quality workplace solution Lanware has delivered meets this rigorous requirement and is secure, robust and feature rich.’

‘Lanware provides a very high-quality service that has delivered on our expectations.’

How has Lanware delivered value within the business?

Despite the pandemic disruption and the client’s challenging requirements, we delivered a successful outcome to our client. Skytra has fully adopted Microsoft’s modern workplace technology, including Microsoft Teams for all corporate communication with compliance. Its employees now have a simple, fast and secure cloud service for remote working and both firms have started their partnership on a foundation of strong collaboration.

Value has been achieved by reaching the project’s high-level objectives including:

  • Provisioning a new modern workplace technology and managed cloud platform within Lanware’s Finance Forward 365 Solution
  • Implementing local network and technology within Skytra’s offices, enabling high speed access into the cloud and trading facilities
  • Lanware’s Security Operations Centre now monitors and responds to the changing threat climate providing detailed, tailored reporting, so Skytra can understand their security position and risks
  • Breaking new ground with ‘Compliant Teams’ being one of the first regulated firms to use Microsoft for all business communication whilst meeting stringent compliance requirements.

Who was your product specifically designed for?

Finance Forward 365 is a specialist managed service which is designed to benefit the UK market of mid-size financial firms (including start-ups) who want to confidently adopt and benefit from the public cloud, but without the risk. Whilst there’s no technical reason why other sectors couldn’t benefit from the service, at its core it’s a platform for small to medium financial services firms. Every aspect from each 3rd party product all the way through to the end user experience and security has been designed based on its ability to meet the high service levels and strict compliance needs of a financial firms.

What motivated you to enter for an award?

The background is that Financial Services are still playing catch up with other industries in terms of public cloud adoption. Their wariness of the public cloud can be attributed to historical security and compliance concerns. To help them over-come these challenges, they need a specialist vendor like Lanware who can guide them on the journey and have a trusted solution which allows them to benefit from the public cloud without the risk.

We felt that with our success delivering Managed IT services, specifically to the UK Financial Service sector, combined with our Finance Forward 365 service and the support from our client Skytra, motivated us to enter the for the specialist vendor award. We didn’t go for any other categories.

What did winning the award mean to you?

Lanware goes to market as a specialist managed service provider to Financial Services. It’s our whole purpose and at the heart of our culture, and we were therefore thrilled to receive recognition for our whole reason for existing!

Did you attend the awards? If so, how did you find it?

The award ceremony was a great experience. Being in a room with a huge IT crowd probably isn’t everyone’s idea of a ‘great night out’ but everyone was so up for it, especially after all the lockdowns. It was just great to be out, and the winning was the icing on the cake.

About the author

Henry Duncombe is the Managing Director of Lanware, a digital company providing tailored outsourced technology services to the financial sector. For the last ten years Henry has been the driving force behind Lanware and its vision to be the leading technology outsourcing partner to the financial services industry. As Lanware’s Managing Director his client-focused approach and technical background has enabled the company to build long term relationships with its financial services clients.