Equinix Digital Leaders Spotlight: Stuart Halford, CIO of Goodbody on innovation and supporting the next generation of financial services

Finance, Partner Content | Tue 31 May | Author – Business & Finance
Pictured: Stuart Halford, CIO, Goodbody

“We want to make it easy for our customers to do business with us and to me, that is what innovation is all about. It’s the incremental changes – the removal of the little annoyances – that combine to make the customer experience a seamless one.”


Long before COVID-19 accelerated enterprises’ digital agendas, Goodbody was embracing digital infrastructure to transform its business for its customers and its employees – and with good reason.

One of Ireland’s oldest financial institutions, Goodbody is a firm operating in wealth management, investment banking and asset management in Ireland’s highly competitive – and crowded – financial services industry. A report from New Financial shows that between 2016 and 2021, 135 financial services firms relocated to Ireland, equating to 25% of all Brexit-related financial services moves. Add this to an already robust, world-renowned banking sector and competition is high.

Standing Out From The Crowd

For Goodbody, the key to differentiating itself – along with a strong focus on customer service and relationships – is technology, powered and supported by the world’s digital infrastructure company, Equinix. Platform Equinix enables enterprises around the world to create best-of-breed hybrid, multi-cloud architectures by locating their IT infrastructure next to leading public clouds and networks. It is enabling Goodbody to master digital transformation in a highly regulated industry, bringing services and efficiency in an era when users expect everything to be at their fingertips.

“Everything that we do is digital,” says Stuart Halford, Chief Information Officer, Goodbody. “When you look at the marketplace and where it is going, it is essential. Customers want everything to be seamless and the only way to achieve that is by having a robust digital ecosystem in place, so our digital infrastructure is instrumental in supporting the business and our business goals.”

Goodbody uses Equinix Fabric , a software-defined, on-demand, secure, low latency network connecting enterprises to clouds and global digital ecosystems. In doing so, it facilitates the multi-cloud strategy necessary to interconnect different cloud environments and innovate in an agile, secure way. By avoiding the public internet – and therefore the associated latency and security issues – Equinix Fabric enables Goodbody to adopt a hybrid, multi-cloud architecture that supports the continuous rollout of new services and improvements, with the customer always at the core.

“Making Goodbody an easy place to do business with, minimising the friction in customer journeys, and optimising our digital workspace for staff is key and central to what innovation is all about,” says Halford. “It’s the incremental changes – the removal of the little annoyances – that combine to materially enhance the customer experience.”

Driving Progress

It is part of Goodbody’s mission to drive, and support, the next generation of financial services. Financial services firms are competing on speed of services to meet the needs of a customer base that expects everything in an instant. It is an area of constant innovation – and success – for Goodbody, as its customer base continues to grow year-on-year.

“We have a widening client base across all areas of our business and the next generation of customers don’t want to wait a couple of days to get money in and out,” explains Halford. “If we can make our services faster, that makes an enormous difference to our existing and prospective customers.”

This focus on speed of services is made possible through Goodbody’s increasing utilisation of Equinix Fabric to access the world’s leading cloud providers. Halford says the company has plans to move even more infrastructure to the cloud, which he adds will support the firm’s sustainability goals, too. “Equinix has become the central nervous system of connectivity for us,” says Halford. “We have a dedicated network that allows us to remove friction, scale at speed and in real time, access the cloud services that best fit our needs. Platform Equinix is our digital hub.”

Security

Security, particularly in the highly regulated financial services industry, underpins everything. The absence of a secure platform, Halford says, can stifle innovation and it is therefore essential for enterprises to find ‘best in breed’ partners that help them to innovate and scale securely.

“When you’re dealing with people’s money, as well as very strict regulatory obligations, security is an absolute priority. The consequences are unacceptable if the security is not there: you risk damage to your clients, reputational damage, and the significant fallout of regulatory breaches. Having a secure, resilient digital infrastructure platform with the right controls and governance in place means that we can foster innovation. With digital capabilities and secure connectivity to clouds and digital ecosystems using Equinix Fabric, we are enabled to do things in a self-service, digital way that meets all of our security obligations.”

As the firm grows, that peace of mind is enabling Goodbody to explore new ways to scale at speed. “Automation is going to be a major focus area for us and we will use it everywhere that makes sense,” says Halford. “It will help us to scale at an accelerated pace, without the need for manual processes that delay innovation.”

 As hybrid, multi-cloud strategies become increasingly important for the financial services sector, it is vital that enterprises can connect to multiple partners quickly and securely. Equinix works with leading financial services institutions to provide secure, low latency virtual connections to their workloads, customers, partners and employees – via the cloud – in an easy and cost-effective way. Equinix is home to more than 1,250 financial services institutions and with Equinix Fabric’s global footprint, enabling organisations to interconnect with customers and partners wherever they are in the world; and ensuring proximate, low-latency connections to a rich ecosystem that powers their success. 

Find out more about Platform Equinix and how Equinix can securely and dynamically connect your business to a world of possibilities at Equinix.ie. Equinix will host the launch of the CIO 100 Index with an exclusive breakfast panel discussion in the RDS on the 15th June as part of Dublin Tech Summit. If you or your team are interested in joining this event, please email editor@businessandfinance.com.