Cloud Computing in Finance: Decision Guide to Choosing the Best Cloud Model for Finance Enterprises

Just about everyone is talking about the cloud. Cloud computing in finance sector is driving agility for enterprises, and everyone from business leaders to forward-thinking CIOs is using it to support their business strategies to improve performance and returns. The banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) industry are also leveraging the cloud to address specific requirements and unique challenges. 

Cloud is a game-changer for businesses, and COVID-19 has further accelerated cloud adoption. Today,  most finance enterprises have eagerly embraced cloud-based systems to enable remote working, upgrade customer-facing software, prevent frauds, and increase efficiency.  It aids operational activities such as new account opening, fund transfers, loan approvals, insurance advice policy renewal, and more.  All you need is a cohesive cloud strategy to realize its business value fully.

As per a Google Cloud survey1, 83 percent of respondents said they were deploying cloud technology as part of their primary computing infrastructures, with hybrid cloud being the most popular (38 percent),, followed by single cloud (28 percent) and multi-cloud (17 percent). It, therefore, becomes imperative to understand the different cloud deployment models and options and define your objectives to create a roadmap for cloud adoption

Adoption of cloud computing in finance and banking

The financial sector is far from full adoption as far as core, back-office workloads are concerned. BFSI companies have adopted cloud technology for various reasons, including Data and IT security, regulatory reporting, fraud detection and prevention, data reconciliation, and underwriting activity. 

Those who have embraced cloud adoption unanimously agree on its benefits that include:

Ø Adapting to changing customer behaviors and market trends

Ø Enhancing efficiencies and operational resilience

Ø Enabling innovation to upgrade product and service portfolio

Ø Enhancing data security capabilities

Ø Eliminating silos to ensure connectedness and transparency

Ø Scale up or scale down capacity to manage diverse workloads and activities

Ø Driving integrated decisions by integration of business units to share data and respond quickly

A cloud computing environment is just what you need in the current scenario. But you need to first understand the influencing factors and the cloud compositions and service models to decide which one’s right for you. 

Factors to consider

BFSI enterprises often embark on a cloud journey with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) models to later evolve to platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) models as they mature. To choose the right model and devise a strategy, you need to be very clear about your objectives. 

Your business case for adopting Cloud 

Critical applications are often built on legacy technologies, and moving them to the cloud usually entails high costs. Also, migration is not easy until they undergo a bit of a revamp. A detailed cloud strategy and roadmap, therefore, becomes essential to initiate cloud adoption. 

Intended customer experience & service differentiation

A differentiated service experience is a key to the success of a Cloud implementation. You can either build your custom solution for max flexibility or use an existing Off-The-Shelf (OTS) or SaaS solution with their out-of-the-box features. OTS and SaaS solutions are suitable when the time to market is key – A custom solution works better to deliver a differentiated CX

Government regulations

The modern regulatory framework requires enterprises to comply with stringent privacy, security, and regulatory standards in regards to the capture, storage, and sharing of customer data. Understanding these requirements is essential before choosing between on-premise, private, or public cloud to host systems.

Choosing the right cloud deployment and service models

Financial institutions vary in their business functions and technology priorities. Feasibility analysis, cloud migration assessment, and strong decision-making capabilities are necessary to choose the right deployment and service models. 

A leading investment bank is using a public cloud for its regulatory reporting solutions. In contrast, a prominent Norwegian bank has adopted the PaaS model to transform its peer-to-peer mobile payment application using microservices on the public cloud. The bank has captured nearly 80% 2 of the market, ensuring high application availability and scalability to service more than 2M customers.  While doing so, it was able to increase transaction processing throughput by 10x and reduce infrastructure setup time from 60 to 6 days and release time by 3x.

A major North American bank specializing in cards, wealth management, and investment services had spectacular results after migrating to the cloud. It leveraged the IaaS and PaaS models on the private cloud to modernize its channels by enabling digital identity, push notifications, e-wallets, behavioral biometrics, etc. The bank saw a 40% improvement in time-to-market, an increase in active mobile user base by 20%, and a drop in annual infrastructure cost by 15%.

Chinese banks3 such as Minsheng Bank, Ping An Bank, Industrial Bank, and Beijing Zhongguancun Bank are using cloud-native SaaS platforms to strengthen their anti-fraud systems and increase the responsiveness of the front-office and agility of the back-office. 

Clearly, cloud adoption differs significantly in scope and value for every organization. While some banks have adopted PaaS and SaaS models to modernize their channel and teller applications, many adopt low code SaaS offerings for sales, customer relationship management, onboarding, and enterprise resource planning systems.

Cloud computing deployment in finance

Cloud service models

Choosing the right cloud service model is easier if you recognize its potential in furthering your business objectives. The model you select should evolve based on your needs and the business functions you want to support. 

Distinctions exist among all, especially when you evaluate them with a risk-based approach. Here are the top 3 popular ones:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

It offers IT infrastructure (servers and storage) that can be managed online via a pay-as-you-use basis without getting into the complexities of purchasing and managing physical servers. It is dynamic and flexible, and the services are highly scalable. Resources are available as a service, and it allows enterprises to carry out automated administrative tasks.

  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)

It allows enterprises to develop, test, run, and manage applications since it is accessible to multiple users through the same development application. It can be integrated with web services and databases and supports diverse languages and frameworks. Its ability to ‘auto-scale’ gives it an edge.

  • Software as a Service (SaaS)

It is an on-demand software that hosts applications. Applications can be accessed easily via an Internet connection and a web browser from a central location. It is hosted on a remote server and available for use on a pay-as-per-use basis. Users do not have to oversee hardware or software updates since updates are applied automatically.

Winning with Cloud power

As the needs of modern finance enterprises evolve, mature cloud services will continue to emerge to help manage different business functions. Cloud adoption can help deliver compelling value propositions to customers and innovate along the way. Cloud power is the way forward to enhance capabilities and enable end-to-end automated processing. However, the key to successful cloud adoption lies in the cloud model you choose and the service provider you decide to work with. 

Embrace cloud technology with Trigent

Trigent has been helping the BFSI sector minimize risks and maximize benefits with the right cloud transformation strategies. We help them approach cloud migration in an incremental manner to reduce transition risks and enjoy the benefits of cloud storage and compute power in a cost-efficient way. 

Our cloud-first strategy enables cloud transformation at speed and scale to help enterprises drive agility and collaboration. We can help you embrace cloud technology too to operate in an agile digital environment.

Call us today for a business consultation. 

References

  1. https://cloud.google.com/blog/topics/inside-google-cloud/new-study-shows-cloud-adoption-increasing-in-financial-services
  2. https://www.tcs.com/content/dam/tcs/pdf/Industries/Banking%20and%20Financial%20Services/cloud-adoption-migration-bfsi.pdf
  3. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bairongs-cloud-native-saas-platform-accelerates-china-bohai-bank-digital-transformation-301369690.html 

Understanding the Concept of Anywhere Operations and Its Scope

The pandemic has had a lasting impact on many things including the way we work. We have all transitioned into the digital world for virtually everything. The massive shift has posed infrastructure challenges to organizations urging them to re-examine traditional methods of working and enable a ‘work from anywhere’ culture. It has also become important for enterprises to use their resources wisely both during and after the pandemic. They are now pulling up their socks to prepare for the evolving needs of hybrid workspaces in the New Normal.

What they truly need is Anywhere Operations – an IT operating model Gartner believes 40% of organizations would have applied already by the end of 2023 to offer a blended virtual and physical experience to employees as well as customers. It is garnering a lot of attention since the time it has come into being.

So what is Anywhere Operations after all and how does it impact enterprises? Let’s find out.

The concept

Remote working has become a reality that will continue even in the future. In a recent survey by Gartner, 47% of the respondents said they intended to allow employees to work remotely full time. Explains Elisabeth Joyce, Vice President of advisory in the Gartner HR practice, “The question now facing many organizations is not how to manage a remote workforce, but how to manage a more complex, hybrid workforce. While remote work isn’t new, the degree of remote work moving forward will change how people work together to get their job done.”

As boundaries between real and virtual environments continue to blur, enterprises need to ensure ubiquitous access to corporate resources. There is greater dependability on digital tools and the resilience of enterprises will largely depend on how well they deploy them. Enterprises will have to adopt a more serious approach towards the transformation of their IT infrastructure – be it devices & apps or remote IT support and cybersecurity.

It is imperative that businesses deploy management solutions that allow teams to work in tandem and continue to enjoy the same accessibility irrespective of the location they log on from. Anytime Operations, clearly, is inevitable and the need to match pace with the fluid working style of today will push it towards mass adoption. Remote work however is more about the workforce whereas Anywhere Operations includes customers into the mix so that customers are also able to connect and interact for all their needs any time from wherever they are.

When implemented correctly, Anywhere Operations will serve as the perfect model for building resilience and flexibility.

Anywhere Operations supports:

  • Remote work
  • Remote deployment of products/services
  • Business partners, stakeholders, and customers

It encompasses productive business operations and its core objective is to ensure that these operations can be managed effectively from literally ‘anywhere’.

Anywhere Operations is not just an enabler of work from home, online customer support, or remote deployment of products/services but an organizational paradigm that offers value across multiple areas. These include:

Collaboration and Productivity

The need to attain the pre-pandemic level of collaboration and productivity has led to the emergence of virtual offices replete with task management tools, meeting solutions, club office suites, digital whiteboards, and video conferencing platforms. This enables employees to see each other, interact, conduct meetings, assign tasks, share ideas in real time, review space occupancy and usage, etc.

Remote assistance is crucial to enable sharing of digital replicas of devices and maintain real-time analytics. While it was easier to visit the client’s office in the past, the need to implement XR tools is being felt today to facilitate better collaboration around tangible objects and help clients in this period of social distancing.

Secure Remote Access

Development teams and clients are provided secure remote access via cloud solutions powered by firewalls to ensure safe access to the virtual environment. In order to fortify the security measures, ways and means are being explored to replace traditional VPN for users operating in multiple time zones.

Identity & Access Management (IAM) solutions that enable multi-factor authentication, passwordless authentication, Zero Trust models, and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) are now being applied to ensure secure access to data and applications, anywhere, any time. Cybersecurity mesh is also being considered by modern enterprises. While ensuring timely responses and a more modular security approach, it makes identity the security perimeter.

Cloud and edge infrastructure

Organizations had already started discovering the power of automation and how certain tasks that were being performed manually needed immediate automation. In order to ensure 24/7 secure access, ubiquitous cloud migration was important.

Distributed cloud now has become the future of cloud computing and provides edge cloud for a nimble environment. Edge computing provides an opportunity for enterprises to collect a huge amount of data from various locations separated by distance and time zones to create efficiencies and bring down operating costs. It ensures that cloud computing resources are closer to the location where data and business activity is.

Project management and product development tools along with CRM tools used by sales and marketing departments are therefore being moved to the cloud. Enterprises are shifting infrastructure to cloud to ensure governance and accessibility for business continuity. Apart from flexibility and security, cloud solutions offer cost benefits with respect to smart repository usage.

Enterprises are looking at integrating IoT and 5G technologies to catalyze connectivity beyond imagination. The ability of IoT to allow back and forth flow of data makes it critical for dynamic business environments of today and will continue to drive edge-computing systems. Cloud and edge infrastructure will help avoid latency and gain real-time insights. Cloud and edge architectures will minimize time lags in data processing to help industries perform computing tasks closer to where data is gathered quickly.

AI edge processing is now being leveraged extensively for applications that have sub-millisecond (ms) latency requirements and helps circumvent bandwidth, privacy, and cost concerns. Enterprises are now critically evaluating their API platforms that serve as the essential building block on the road to successful digital transformations.
Google’s recently rolled out Apigee X is a case in point.

Says James Fairweather, chief innovation officer at Pitney Bowes, “During these uncertain times, organizations worldwide are doubling-down on their API strategies to operate anywhere, automate processes, and deliver new digital experiences quickly and securely,”
Automation to support remote operations

Automation will be at the helm of operations in a bid to minimize human intervention. Enterprises are now keen on automating tasks that can help make better business decisions.

Enterprises are increasingly using AIOps platforms that connect ITSM and ITOM to deliver high-value insights that can predict outages, prioritize events, and get to the root of event patterns to fix them. The modern AIOps platforms help a great deal for discovery, endpoint automation, and self-enablement. Zero-touch is also being deployed for automatic provisioning and configuration of devices without manual involvement.

Quantification of the digital experience

Dubbed as ‘total experience’, digital experiences are a culmination of customer experience, employee experience, and user experience that can be tracked by mapping the EX and CX journeys. Quantification concerns the entire interaction from the time the first contact was made up to the present day. As interactions get more virtual, distributed, and mobile, total experience will give enterprises the edge to reach new frontiers of growth and make technological leaps.

Enterprises need to offer better technology to support the hybrid workforce while supporting the buying behaviors of customers. Just offering a great customer experience is not enough, and effort must be made to monitor and respond to experiences in real time to strengthen the relationship with employees as well as customers.

Achieve Anywhere Operations with Trigent

With decades of experience in turning insights into strategies and a sophisticated suite of products to drive your business, we can help your organization usher in a much-needed technology transformation for achieving Anywhere Operations seamlessly. We can be your trusted partner in delivering Enterprise IT solutions.

Talk to our experts for a business consultation.