This is Part 4 of our ten-legged journey to explore how the Cloud can enable productivity, innovation, and scalability in financial services.
Each of my ten blogs over the eighty days will echo the themes discussed in Reply’s ten-part webinar series,
Cloud in Financial Services, in which we’ll highlight some of the key points offered by our presenters and panel members.
In the third webinar, we benefited from an extraordinary panel of experts who shared their ideas on the ‘architectural’ considerations of Cloud adoption and we discussed the blueprint that ensures that the Cloud solution reliably meets your business requirements. If you haven’t yet read the third write up, you can do so
Moving from on-premise solutions to the Cloud means more than just lifting and shifting data and systems. That’s why, in this blog relating to the fourth leg of the journey, we’ll cover the operating model and governance issues that financial institutions must consider at the board and C-suite level.
My esteemed panel of speakers this week include Julien Recan, Associate Partner with
Alpha Reply; Marco Noli, Partner with
Storm Reply; Vasu Gupta, Head of Cloud Consulting - FSI UKI at Google; Daniele Tonella, Group CIO UniCredit; and Alan Clacher, Senior Cloud Advisor for Reply in the UK.
I have summarised the expertise that they so generously shared with us here in this short blog. Vasu Gupta kicked us off with his experience of driving Cloud adoption Journeys as head of Cloud Consulting FSI UKI at Google.
There is no one way of adopting the Cloud. As with most complex technology, one must take one’s firm’s specific situation into account. Of extreme importance is the impact that Cloud adoption can have on your business model from a customer, regulatory, and product perspective.
With the Cloud, you can drive processes and insights very efficiently. Cloud-enabled AI and machine learning let you explore and exploit large quantities of data for better insights and this gives you an uncommon power to make data-driven decisions.
With such power, the board and C-suite must ask themselves a number of questions:
Next comes the impact of Cloud adoption on the business model. You can now make faster decisions with better insights. But what do you do with those insights? Where do you invest? Which new projects do you begin? Which new markets do you enter?
Following Vasu Gupta, we heard from Marco Noli in conversation with Daniele Tonella who shared wisdom from his experience as CIO of UniCredit.
Daniele started with the prediction that
“Cloud will do to IT what Lean Methodology did to manufacturing.”
Once you have the right system in place, you need to define your ambitions: What do you want to achieve with Cloud? Depending on the level of your ambition, the depth of the transition may be different and that will impact your governance.
The nature and risk of Cloud is the atomisation of IT. If you don’t control your Cloud consumption, very rapidly you’ll get Cloud everywhere in the sense of your data being on platforms without you knowing and with no idea over who has access to what, where, how, and why. That’s a nightmare scenario.
We then heard from Julien Recan, now an Associate Partner with Alpha Reply, formally of Natwest Markets and Revolut, about organisational setup and the changing role of the project manager.
Organisational setup is fundamental. Financial institutions tend to be set up with multiple layers within different departments, each with their own business, change, and tech functions. That pushes the product owner further away from the raw material which, in this case, is the Cloud. We need to turn project managers into empowered product managers as it encourages long-term ownership of a problem.
To redirect these people towards product management, we need to find the right people and offer the right incentives within the organisational setup. A product manager needs to retain all of the accountability for the product. Otherwise, accountability gets diluted and you’re likely to face what you might call in other circles the ‘tragedy of the commons’.
Finally, a word from Alan Clacher, Senior Cloud Advisor for Reply in the UK. The Cloud promises so much, that it can seem too good to be true. It is tempting to see the benefits and jump right in. But, in many respects, some of the challenges and risks with traditional infrastructure are exactly the same as those we’re encountering with Cloud. The key issue then, with governance, going into a Cloud environment, you clearly need to address the impact on your business model, your governance structures, and your culture. As Julien said before him: it’s wise to move from an engineering culture to a product culture when moving to Cloud with engineers who understand the business and can drive the product forward.
If you have any questions about any of the above, please feel free to reach out to us at Reply at
Keep an eye out for episode 5 where we’ll discuss Cloud Security; to register,