Banking on the Cloud: 3 Steps to a Successful Transition

By: Rupesh Khendry, Director, Worldwide Financial Services at Microsoft

Satya Nadella, CEO, and Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Group, Microsoft, recently talked about Microsoft’s approach for delivering the most complete cloud across every business, industry and geography. This is extremely important, especially from the financial services industry perspective, since banks and capital market firms play a crucial role as custodians of customer information and ensuring security, privacy compliance cannot be compromised under any circumstances. Our customers are facing a radically changing landscape, lower margins, lack of customer loyalty and non-traditional competition where even some technology providers are beginning to provide financial services to people. Our clients are deciding that, in addition to providing a modern infrastructure and a technology backbone that is future ready, Microsoft cloud can provide huge benefits to their various lines of business.

Here are some pointers to cloud adoption that leaders in the financial services industry are taking.

1: Start small if you like, but start fast

There is no reason to hold off on the cloud journey. Create the overarching plan identify the user case to validate the cloud business case. Consider a cloud provider that isn't just a commodity infrastructure provider, but a strategic partner that understands your business and can offer end to end solutions for your enterprise.

2: Adopt a hybrid cloud approach

Maintaining the privacy and security of customers’ sensitive information is the greatest concern in financial services, so clients need to be ensured of maintaining total control and ownership of their data. Microsoft’s approach to offering hybrid solutions, on-premise or in the cloud, guarantees just that. This allows financial institutions to benefit from the cloud processing power while retaining the core customer sensitive data and associated controls within their own firewalls. (Read more on our Azure blog about how financial services companies benefit from establishing a hybrid cloud.)

3: Evaluate the benefits of Public Cloud to drive innovation and agility in your business

Enabling agility in risk management and related analytics. With a huge data overload and dynamic demands from regulators, the ability to provision massive compute grid capacity on demand helps manage ever increasing requirements, while rapidly reducing “time to value.” A cloud-based model can give banks a flexible set of apps that manage the entire risk management lifecycle, from data sourcing, data management, computing, analytics, consumption, distribution and monetization. This allows banks to more easily bring disparate data together for one version of the truth, get the data faster to those who need it, and will allow them to deliver the data to business users through the devices they prefer, and the media they use.

And, the hybrid model allows banks to use on premises data alongside Microsoft Azure to securely merge with cloud-based data and analytics to create powerful, transparent dynamic analytics. Business teams can then leverage these tools to run and share computational outputs, collaborate, and deliver growth for the business.

For example, The Royal Bank of Scotland—the leading UK provider of corporate banking services—needed a powerful analytics platform to improve performance and customer services. To handle multiple terabytes of data and an unprecedented level of query complexity more efficiently, the bank implemented Microsoft Analytics Platform System. As a result, it gained timely insights to help clients manage risk, such as how currencies impact manufacturing supply chains, or how the UK’s GDP effects daily trading.

Catalyzing business productivity and innovation Consumers are increasingly tech-savvy, mobile and demand instant access to information and services. This is true for both customers and employees who expect to be able to seamlessly collaborate, build new products, and improve sales productivity regardless of business area – commercial banking, wealth and asset management, investment banking or consumer banking. Cloud applications deliver on this promise.

Societe Generale recently announced it will be moving 150,000 employees to Office 365 as part of a broader digital transformation. Given Office 365 makes information securely available through the cloud on PCs, phones, laptops, tablets and more, Office 365 provides bank employees the ability to collaborate from virtually anywhere, at any time, which allows them to get things done faster and more effectively.

Enhance loyalty with great service End customers want to stay abreast of their financial situation and are looking for their institution to update them, regardless of time, place or medium. Microsoft cloud helps trigger notifications, alerts and more, keeping customers happy, while providing opportunities for cross sales.

Why should you consider working with Microsoft on this cloud transformation?

We’ve invested heavily over time to establish the operational security rigor that financial institutions require. The cloud gives financial services companies ways to grow their business, streamline operations, and manage risk while reducing costs and business complexity. Microsoft offers the choice and flexibility that gives financial services organizations three important things: a hybrid environment as an option; hyper-scale infrastructure and enterprise grade experiences; and the assurance that our cloud meets critical security, reliability and availability needs. For much more information on Microsoft’s cloud, visit Scott Guthrie’s blog post here.