February 14, 2012

Cloud computing has emerged as one of the most significant game changers to hit the technology landscape in the past 20 years.

Today's knowledge-based workforce in the financial services sector has become more agile, flexible, and highly mobile. The confluence of these two elements – always available cloud computing and mobile savvy employees – continues to enable work to be completed faster and cheaper. Cloud computing fuels the virtual world of development, product management, and project management in ways that were unforeseen in the last decade, and the landscape continues to evolve at light speed for collaboration, alignment and velocity.

However, the explosion of cloud computing and the mobile workforce has been a bit of a catch 22 for IT departments in the financial services sector.

Today's demands for IT in banking are not just knowing about technology, but applying and aligning it to the strategic business goals of the corporation. Banks today are challenged with data security, customer satisfaction, legal costs, and mobile strategies for their customer base. Using IT as a competitive advantage to increase performance by bringing all these work items to market isn't simply dialogue or prose, it’s now mandatory. Banking accountability, risk management and governance in all departments, including IT, is stronger now than it’s ever been. The rush to provide additional services and results to the business requires agility and flexibility. Cloud computing enables both.

Cloud computing has dramatically increased the profile and influence of IT departments, and it drives increased demand. Seemingly every department from marketing, customer support and finance is lining up with requests for new solutions and applications. They are pushing to host these applications in the cloud, which in many cases is a double-edged sword. This always creates more demand and usually not enough resources.

To solve this problem, the banking industry is driving a renewed focus on Project Portfolio Management (PPM) and respective solutions to manage IT projects and resources effectively. According to a 2011 Aberdeen report, "Project Portfolio Management: Selecting the Right Projects for Optimal Investment Opportunity," the pressures forcing IT organizations to seek better project management and reporting tools include:

  • Increasing risk exposure across the project portfolio
  • Lack of available skilled resources needed for projects
  • Decreasing visibility and transparency across projects and allocated resources

Reducing these challenges will be critical as IT departments in banking will not only be accountable for the IT function's success and transformation, but continue to adopt an external business focus to drive innovation and strategic advantage in pursuit of the corporate goals.