Think of cloud as a cost savings move only? Think again. While it can often lower expenses due to its scalability, flexibility and the generally simpler integration of new technologies, it is so much more than “just” a cost reduction tool.
According to the DTCC, the “capabilities, resiliency and security” offered by cloud computing have advanced so much as to often exceed “the capabilities of private data centers,” and the gap will continue growing at an accelerating rate.
Cloud can also help improve regulatory alignment. Growing regulatory demands, including the increased penetration of central clearing and collateralization and the ongoing drive towards the Capital Markets Union (CMU) within the EU, are a fact of life. Cloud’s flexibility and transparency to regulators were even highlighted by the European Post-Trade Forum’s 2017 report.
Finally, cloud might even be smarter. It is clear the main cloud providers are also investing huge development spend into new technologies, such as machine learning and big data analysis tools. The integration of these into their cloud offerings has the potential to unlock value from data in a way capital markets companies have simply never before experienced.
That said, the migration to cloud can be a fraught process, and we see five key considerations IT teams should consider while making that journey.
Five barriers to success in cloud integration
- Security: Some security teams would probably prefer if the cloud didn’t even exist. But if cloud services are delivered by the right people and backed by compelling systems and expertise, they have the potential to be even more secure than in-house data centers. In fact, for many of the firms we work with, technical security is less of a challenge than finding someone within the organization who can assess cloud risk and approve implementations.
- Networks: While cloud-based developments are defined by agility and rapid delivery, the same can’t always be said for the networks you need to connect to. Network carriers often adopt a traditional approach to procurement, which can be a major barrier to agile integration. For that reason, it’s critical that organizations identify their connectivity needs at the outset—especially if private networks are required, since they can take much longer to establish than public alternatives.
- Automation: Automation is critical for successful cloud interactions, but it’s often not deployed to full effect. Rather than creating the application in code for control via configuration management, teams should define both the application and the entire environment as code for storage in configuration management. Moving from infrastructure-as-code (IAS) to everything-as-code (EAS) will enable full-stack automation which, in turn, could increase quality, improve availability and reduce defects. The effort and investment required to set up EAS may seem daunting, but the long-term benefits of removing manual processes and workarounds are well worth the outlay.
- Containerization: Organizations can get into trouble if they invest too heavily in a single solution or provider, limiting their flexibility and choice. Instead of developing infrastructure-specific native apps, migrate your existing apps into containers and use a container platform to run them in the cloud—whether that’s on premise, private, public or hybrid. This approach can give you the flexibility to shift applications and workloads across different environments as your business requirements demand.
- DevOps: DevOps and agile, enabled by the cloud, have the potential to help organizations reach market faster, but the cultural shift required with those approaches should not be underestimated. Businesses need to embrace continual innovation and iterative development processes from day one. Changing mindsets and behaviors shouldn’t be treated as an afterthought.
Cloud integration in action
If organizations can overcome these integration challenges, the benefits of the cloud could start flowing quickly. At Accenture, we’ve successfully deployed the cloud alongside the latest technologies in robotic process automation, artificial intelligence and analytics as part of Accenture Post-Trade Processing—an innovative solution that can help clients simplify operations and drive growth in their post-trade processing functions. Thanks to the cloud, we’ve been able to deliver working integrations for one of our clients after just one month (instead of the three to four months estimated for an in-house startup).
Having an experienced partner with an eye on the wider potential of this technology could be a key driver of a successful implementation—saving costs, simplifying regulatory alignment and opening new revenue opportunities. For more information on cloud integration, please contact me at email@example.com.