Everything has changed - as we've heard infinitely of late - and BTN's 10 Tech Companies to Watch keeps pace with the times. In years past, the ranking called out innovative startups with the potential to impact the financial services landscape, and often destined to be acquired by industry giants. This year's list recognizes the reality that triumph via acquisition, the eminence of efficiency, and security and soundness are themes that dominant many conversations.

From the "deals" category comes this year's most influential event, and BTN's number one pick, Fidelity National Information Services' planned acquisition of Metavante - likely to unleash competitive pressures that rewrite the core processing landscape in the U.S. Also ranked in recognition of the power of strategic purchases are Mastercard, with its Orbiscom buy; Sybase365, which packs on mobile payments dominance with paybox; Oracle's deal for Sun; and M-Com, likely to set in motion a mobile banking juggernaut thanks to its alliance with Fiserv. Efficiency plays can be found in Verari Systems, with its uber-efficient data centers in a box, and Encomia, which rids the lending process of paper. The final three companies: Secerno, Silver Tail Systems and SAS, all make the cut as security plays of a sort, with SAS given the nod for its impending release of a truly enterprise-wide GRC platform.

This year's selection process was daunting. If only the list were longer we'd include uGenius, for its take on convenient deposits; First American, for its place at the heart of automated valuation; Passageways, for its community bank compliance training; Billeo, as a promising payments play; and Hyland Software for its ECM SaaS efforts.

These recovery-focused efforts will hopefully engender a future dominated by the renewal of forward-looking R&D.

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