Cloud & Finance: A Matter of Balance

An uncertain economic climate. The changing regulatory environment. Building sustainable, transparent business models. Maintaining service and productivity levels with fewer resources.

 

Any of the above sentences would comfortably comprise a list of the top 10 challenges facing today’s finance industry. In essence, decision-makers must master a complex balancing act, whereby regulatory and security guidelines are strictly observed and spending is tightly controlled; while high levels of innovation and customer experience are achieved.

 

More with less…

 

Ultimately, it’s all about quality of service – regardless of whether financial institutions are delivering that to enterprises or individuals. The unpredictability of the landscape obviously creates a plethora of concerns for those charged with shaping the strategic course of their organisations. How do you effectively invest in innovation when even the short-term market conditions in which you compete are so unclear?

 

Agility, agility, agility…

 

If the finance industry is to thrive in the coming years, then it is necessary that firms operating at every tier strive to be as agile and flexible as possible. This means being able to react to regulatory changes, market trends and customer demands faster. Inherent in this, are bodies lowering their cost-to-serve, reducing time to market and maintaining world class standards of security and legal compliance.

 

It is imperative that Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) take a leading role in assessing their company’s operational aptitude to deliver quickly and efficiently. In 2015, the most crucial aspect to focus on will be the organisation’s technological infrastructure and the current strategy, buying processes and spending patterns associated with it.

 

Value through technology…

 

For finance groups to fully realise an agility-based business model, broad adoption of cloud computing systems will essentially be mandatory.

 

Only the cloud allows for the sort of rapid deployment of services expected by the modern consumer. With the rise of industry-specific software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers, financial entities can now benefit from mobile, web and back-end applications custom-built to provide bespoke amenities for the requirements of individual clients and end-users. Critically, such applications can provide CMOs with invaluable insights via their facility to generate real-time feedback and integrate with powerful analytical tools (as well as with other systems such as CRM).

 

It is through this concurrent process of customer insight and analysis where answers to key problems can be extracted sooner; allowing for the implementation of valuable, relevant solutions as a result. The net effect of this is both sounder investments in technology, innovation and customer satisfaction and (due to the nature of cloud computing) a delivery model which can be promptly altered to placate changing regulatory conditions.

 

A quick look at the numbers…

 

According to Gartner, 2016 will witness a scenario in which more than 60% of the world’s banks will process the majority of their transactions in the cloud[1]. Lending credibility to this prediction are numerous compelling examples from around the globe where finance houses have utilised cloud to transform their corporate practices.

 

We have seen banks reduce deployment times from days to minutes, while cutting expenditure on maintenance and infrastructure by as much as 75%[2]. Meanwhile, other entities are now completing risk analyses in less than an hour as opposed to full days[3]. Once again, it is this agility innate to cloud computing that is allowing financial firms to get more done faster, better and at a fraction of the cost.

 

The bottom line…

 

Undoubtedly, the kingpins of capital have some vital decisions to make this year. If they are to seize the opportunities posed by an improving, albeit fragile, economic arena, then overcoming their lingering security concerns around cloud will be paramount.

 

Of course, it is critical that finance institutions fully appreciate the commercial and legal risks characteristic of moving to any new IT arrangement. It is also fundamental that they understand exactly what they are buying, its compatibility with existing architecture and its ability to serve and support future business plans while fulfilling expectations of the regulators.

 

Irrespective of their chosen cloud approach, now is the time for CMOs and those responsible for building customer relations to influence their boards; educating them on cloud’s capacity to integrate systems, cater for sudden change and stimulate innovation and how it has already provided companies across all verticals with invaluable competitive differentiation, for much less.

[1] http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2607115

[2] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/technology/special-reports/cba-saves-millions-from-cloud-services/story-fn8lu7wm-1226526235736

[3] http://aws.amazon.com/solutions/case-studies/bankinter/

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About Colin J. O'Sullivan

Colin O’Sullivan is a senior business and partner development manager, currently working with leading UK managed services provider, Wavex Technology. Colin has spent a decade in the technology industry, helping customers across the globe to drive organisational improvement through the adoption of world class products and services.

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