According to an IDC Infosys global cloud adoption study conducted late last year, the top two sectors to have formalized cloud strategies were telecoms and financial services, in that order. But when it comes to hybrid cloud adoption, financial services were the clear forerunners.
Clearly the sector’s cloud agenda has moved significantly beyond a debate on issues of security and compliance.
The versatility of the cloud lies in its ability to offer nuanced variation even within the predominant private and hybrid structures. For larger banks with existing best-in-class IT infrastructure, designing, securing and managing a private cloud is the logical next step. It gives them access to the capabilities and functionalities of a public cloud minus the security and compliance concerns.
For the smaller banks that need best-in-class IT infrastructure, the cloud is the logical next step too, minus the heavy investment. The shared services feature of public cloud gives these banks access to industry benchmark software that instantly levels the playing field.
It’s almost tempting to argue that the latter approach, which drastically slashes CAPEX and immediately energizes performance, ranks higher on a transformational scale. But that’s besides the point considering the larger disruptive impact that the cloud will have on the banking industry as a whole. Traditional banking structures will be transformed by the emergent possibilities of big data, in-memory analytics, social integration and mobility, to name a few.
In fact the mobile capability of the cloud is already taking banking into hitherto non-financial territory; mobile operators and postal networks are leveraging their reach and customer base to build a niche financial services business.
The likelihood of a mass migration of core banking to public clouds lies only in the future. But in the here and now, banks have a choice of cloud configurations to suit their IT profile, their growth aspirations and their competitive streaks. Core banking on the cloud will only be the culmination of a transformative process that’s already underway.