Home Insights People Spotlight: Meet Stuart Heriot our Global Head of Product Technology

People Spotlight: Meet Stuart Heriot our Global Head of Product Technology

Blog, Composer, Wealth management administration 06/02/2024

Stuart is based in our Wollongong office, the origin of our WealthTech business. Stuart’s passion for continuous learning and tinkering with new tech means he is the perfect person to determine new trends and technical capabilities to benefit GBST clients. Read more on Stuart’s GBST journey since 1997!

When did you join GBST, and what is your role?

I joined GBST in 1997 as a Software Engineer when Composer was being built. I have grown with the company, taking on many roles over the years: Product Consultant, Pre-sales Engineer, Product Management, and Architecture Manager. My current role is Global Head of Product Technology.

What do you like most about working at GBST?

I like working from our Wollongong office in Australia; if you don’t know where Wollongong is, it’s about an hour’s drive south of Sydney. It’s a lovely coastal area with the most beautiful beaches and great people. But the best thing about our Wollongong office is that one of our colleagues brings delicious homemade ice cream weekly!

In my role, I travel and work with our global team and clients. This experience consistently expands my insights and understanding of diverse markets and client needs. Whether in Australia or overseas, the best part of my role is collaborating with our many talented staff and clients to deliver innovative business solutions that are consistently recognised with industry awards.

How do you align technology strategy with an organisation’s overall business goals and objectives?

We’re never building technology for technology’s sake alone, and our strategy is to provide business value aligned with our overall goals. We are constantly asking ourselves the “Why” or “So what?” i.e. does what we are building provide capabilities that support growth opportunities, lessen risk, and reduce build and/or support costs for our current and prospective clients?

How do you stay up to date with the latest trends and technologies in the financial software industry?

One of the best resources to determine important trends is questions that clients ask in Request for Proposals (RFPs). Most companies looking at replacing their current systems will be looking to the future for evolving technology capabilities they see as critical for success.

We also need to practice continuous learning from others in the industry and other industries that are often ahead of Financial Services for innovation. I personally do a lot of reading across many forums, some broader reviews such as Gartner magic quadrants and hype cycles or Thoughtworks radars, and other more focused technical sources such as Medium, DZone Trend Reports, etc.

I’m always ready to jump on the keys and try out new things, gaining experience in the latest technologies through readily accessible online training resources. I recently tried out some augmented developer experience tools like AWS Code Whisperer and Github Copilot. Using the latest ML features, they provide context-aware code generation and can significantly lift developer productivity.

What excites you most about the future of financial technology, and how do you envision your role evolving in the coming years?

We are at an interesting point in the nexus of digital cloud adoption and the unlimited capacity it offers, along with consumer expectations of highly personalised experiences and AI-driven engagement. As the custodians of critical data and processes within the value chain, there is a lot we can contribute.

Roles like mine are moving from focusing on lower-level software technologies (languages, frameworks, integrations, networking) to cloud-based services and composability of applications built on platforms. Cloud platforms today are not just somewhere to deploy our code but a place to create our service.

How do you balance the need for product innovation with the need for regulatory compliance and security in the financial industry?

Adopting the right platforms with security built in means we can confidently build out innovative ideas. I see compliance and security not as inhibitors to innovation but as guard rails for us to work within. GBST is a SaaS company, which comes with greater responsibility for client data and assets, our adherence to security standards and best practices becomes a critical factor.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Coastal walks, cafes, Netflix, gym, and tinkering with new tech.

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