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Embracing Change: Cloud Adoption In Financial Services

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Damodaram (Damu) Bashyam, Managing Director, Head - Technology & Consumer Banking, JPMorgan Chase & Co. An alumnus of Kellogg School of Management, Damodaram is a resourceful IT executive, who specialises in IT Strategy, Application Development, M&A/Systems Integration, Technology Leadership, e-Commerce, Mobile Solutions, Retail & CRM Solutions and many other areas.

There is no doubt that the cloud, digital disruption, big data, and machine learning are the driving forces behind changes to almost every industry and its users. Cloud and its all-connecting structure is reinventing the way companies do business and the way people use products and services.

The financial sector is embracing a cautious approach towards adopting cloud. While companies recognize its benefits in delivering agility, innovation, and cost reduction, there are concerns around regulation, security, and legacy technology. While some companies move to the cloud to cut costs, the bigger potential is making developers more efficient and using technologies such as machine learning and micro services that improve time to market and data driven experiences.

Moving applications to the cloud requires upfront investment, but companies should establish new ways to calculate the return on investment. In addition, the shift to the public cloud goes beyond simply cutting costs or moving on-site applications to the public cloud. Cloud adoption helps companies scale usage and access tools on an as needed basis by delivering computing power without full onsite technology suites. In addition, the cloud can help them more easily integrate with technology offered by large providers and smaller startups alike.

Companies generally show interest in running customer facing, digital, and mobile applications (among others) in the public cloud. They remain less inclined to shift prominent back-end applications. The biggest challenge is
bringing the culture change by educating businesses from top to bottom. Organizations need to adopt an increasingly cloud-focused culture throughout their organizations. The four areas of opportunity for any large enterprise adopting cloud technology are as follows.

"The biggest challenge is bringing the culture change by educating businesses from top to bottom. Organizations need to adopt an increasingly cloud-focused culture throughout their organizations"

1. Agility - The true benefit of cloud adoption is the ability to deliver new products and services faster.Rather than simply migrating a few applications to a cloud vendor, companies can consider building portions of their own applications using cloud native capabilities. This allows adoption of these new capabilities with minimum investment. In doing so, companies may employ APIs and other reusable components rather than build each app from the ground up. Many companies are delivering technology products and services using minimal viable product constructs, which enables developers to add new features later in the application life cycle based on user experience and feedback. This approach paves the way to improve software delivery in a product centric structure.

2.Innovation-Organizations are driving their innovations focused on open source development, faster go-to-market capabilities, and the ability to test, learn, and improve on the go have given many small, agile products disrupting the established industries. Added to this is the mobile trend, which gives smartphone equipped users full access to all their online needs when ever and where ever through data driven experiences.

3.Security & Compliance - Protecting your customer data, software, and systems has always been an imperative. Many public cloud providers have matured considerably; establishing better security, privacy, and compliance controls for cloud applications. However, as financial enterprises start to move to public cloud, they need to partner with cloud providers to solve for the gaps that exist today in cloud service offerings. Compliance is not a one time event, but rather an ongoing process of monitoring and maintaining. Additional opportunities may include automate compliance with cognitive computing including artificial intelligence(AI) and machine learning are the engines behind better, more efficient cloud governance.

4. Talent Development-Organizations need to bridge internal talent gaps by teaching cloud application development skills. Additionally, more IT workers in the market have gained experience in migrating applications from a private data center to the public cloud while utilizing cloud native platforms and languages. Companies can actively hire these individuals, including those with backgrounds in cloud engineering, automation, DevOps, and software development.

There is no fundamental reason why cloud services cannot be implemented in a manner to overcome the challenges discussed and reap the benefits of cloud computing with a clearly defined strategy, roadmap, and migration plans.