I’ve met with a few people recently who have studied our website but tell me that they only really came to understand eCo after discussing it face to face. The website has quite a lot of information about how eCo works, they say, but it doesn’t explain why we set things up the way we did. This piece is, in response to that, an attempt to answer the why questions as succinctly as I can…

1. Why should I buy software on eCo?

Your alternatives to eCo are normally (a) build software in house or (b) license application software from a software company. Option (a) is hugely expensive and, at this point in our industry’s history, unsustainably so. Producing most software in-house enables you to customise the relatively small amount of software that can yield a business edge but to do so you take on the burden of writing and maintaining much, much more software that is completely generic (or if it’s not generic it’s because it’s shivving into all the custom code a heavy in-house approach burdens you with). Option (b) doesn’t solve your problem because, though potentially cheaper, running applications significantly constrains the flexibility you need when a new and/or customised solution, rapidly implemented, can confer a business advantage. Commercial and technology leadership in financial services remain tightly intertwined.

In contrast to option (a), licensing software over eCo gets someone else to bear a large part of the cost of implementing and maintaining your standard technology. In contrast to option (b), licensing software over eCo gives you full rights to view and change the source code of the software that you acquire. In contrast to both (a) and (b), when you license software over eCo its technical suitability is independently scored by a company that didn’t produce it so the risk of building or buying something that doesn’t work out is significantly diminished.

2. I’m a bank/hedge fund – why should I sell software on eCo?

Licensing software that you’re developing anyway generates income that can be used to defray costs and gives you more funds to invest in software improvement. Also, both the act of preparing your software for commercial release (which eCo helps with) and having other developers analyse/improve/fix it are quality improving in a big way. Furthermore, the chances of getting left some years down the line with millions of lines of legacy code that no one understands any more are very significantly reduced.

3. I’m a software company – why should I sell software on eCo?

Licensing your software in a source-available form makes it interesting to institutions whose complexity and need to lead make application software highly problematic. In short, it’s a route to relevance to the top tier. Furthermore, mid-tier and lower tier clients who may only rarely need to customise your code will still have a higher quality relationship with you when it’s based on transparency. And you never know: the act of getting your software assessed by eCo may improve it, and the fact of having our independent technical assessment out there will make it more trusted.

One other highly significant advantage is that any firm that licenses your software over eCo will do it under our standard Master Services Agreement so there is no need to sign a new contract – it’s just a schedule to the MSA, which they may well have already signed.

Meanwhile, you can carry on selling application software on your own paper as you do today.

4. Why should I become an eCo Service Partner?

Being an eCo Service Partner simultaneously generates income while giving you detailed knowledge of proprietary software from top-quality firms. It enables you to develop trusted relationships with buyers and sellers in the eCo community.

In some cases there will be scope to negotiate the rights to IP for software, where it suits both you and the seller.

5. Why should everyone want eCo to work?

Our industry cannot bear the scale of IT cost that it currently carries and the vast bulk of this arises from totally unnecessary duplication. There is no other cost mutualisation strategy that a large bank can expect to pull off successfully several times a year. Think about it!

6. Why should everyone want eCo to work?

The argument above should resonate with anyone who allocates or controls an IT budget in a financial institution and with anyone from a software firm or consultancy who wants to earn honest money selling solutions that will work into the long term in those kinds of places. But what if you’re a worker rather than a suit? For developers, whether at software firms or financial firms, eCo offers an unparalleled opportunity to gain a reputation both for producing excellent software and for being a trusted/expert deployer of other people’s software (which is arguably the more valuable skill). It’s what LinkedIn might be if you stripped out the self-marketing and replaced it with evidence of accomplishment.

I hope these why explanations resonate for those who find that the rest of our website doesn’t. Maybe there’s simply no substitute for direct personal contact. Please let me know.