Infrastructure

11:46 AM
Scott Swartz, MetraTech
Scott Swartz, MetraTech
Commentary
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7 Steps to Greater ROI in the Cloud

With some careful choices about monetization, financial institutions can extract greater ROI from the cloud while serving customers better.

Financial institutions need to quickly respond to market demands by delivering the services customers want without building new, complex and expensive internal IT infrastructures to support them. Cloud computing offers a key way to meet that need, and it is affecting the way financial institutions use computing resources to access and deliver services. As they move to the cloud, banks must work out how to monetize their new service delivery mechanisms. In order to fulfill the greatest return on investment (ROI) potential, bank CIOs should consider the following best practices for monetizing the cloud.

1. Ensure that monetization reflects the underlying business agreements. Monetization is increasingly challenging as organizations create services and products built on more and more complex models featuring interrelated, multiparty relationships. The ability to easily translate business terms into automated action, build complex agreement rules by composing reusable slices, and to track and fulfill obligations across all parties are now all table stakes for an enterprise-grade cloud monetization solution. Further, the impact of the social enterprise is being felt in the form of customer self-care via Web 2.0+ and dashboard-driven business intelligence (BI) and analytics. An agreements-based billing (ABB) and compensation solution contains the financial state of agreements between customers, suppliers and partners. It is required to feed online portals and business intelligence.

2. Pay attention to cloud chargeback. Sharing resources to maximize their utilization and to raise infrastructure ROI is not a new concept for financial services companies. IT has long been a service provider for lines of business, sharing common resources among a number of internal customers. The financial crisis has further accelerated the need to look at infrastructure options that enable companies to remain competitive and decrease the costs of IT infrastructure. The economics of a resource-sharing model that enables on-demand IT resource delivery without additional capital expenditures is hard to ignore. An ABB solution is required to support sophisticated chargeback across the organization for cost containment and profitability analysis, and to handle billing and compensation for situations where the enterprise is bursting between private and public clouds.

3. Do not hinder new services. The increasing number of financial services made possible as result of the cloud include mobile financial services, microfinance and mobile money offerings for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), data as a service, and data-on-demand approaches that use the cloud to reach new customers and monetize underutilized data assets to bolder IaaS offerings from exchanges such as NYSE. The latter provides a glimpse of the long-term potential to become a cloud provider for financial markets. The community and unique technology needs within the financial services industry make more generic clouds less compelling for Wall Street. The complexity of right-billing customers takes on new meaning. Billing solutions that emerge from the business-to-consumer environment lack the sophistication to support these new service models.

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