Infrastructure

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Bob Olson
Bob Olson
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The Big Five for a Successful Cloud Strategy

Five keys to harnessing the full benefits of the cloud.

When it comes to cloud strategizing for banks, concerns about security tend to overshadow some equally large factors. Security is definitely one of the Big Five – in fact it’s probably first among equals. But there are four other top priorities as well:

Savings or Speed? Yes – Certainly, cloud configurations promise and deliver significant savings, but if that’s the primary benefit you hope to achieve, you are vastly underplaying cloud’s value – and vastly underestimating how essential speed is to your competitiveness. The battlefield is littered with great ideas that were too slow to market. I wouldn’t exactly say take the cloud savings for granted, but I would say opportunities for true competitive advantages are few and fleeting. You don’t want yours doomed by slow response when they present themselves.

It’s a Culture Change – Or to put it plainly, are you sure you have the people and culture you need for the strategy you plan to pursue? Cloud would not be the first technology breakthrough that faltered when it turned out that the technology itself is insufficient to effect breakthrough change. Transformational technology always entails cultural change – or else it fails. Being a cloud-savvy bank entails new skills, new roles, and leadership that understands them. You don’t want your strategy to leave your people behind.

Safe and Obvious First – Ultimately, cloud will transform your bank in remarkable ways, but you don’t have to undertake it all, or even understand it all, to make respectable progress and learn important lessons. We are seeing some banks take the obvious steps – moving non-sensitive functions to public cloud, experimenting with big data on private cloud, and parsing other functions on hybrid cloud configurations. They learn rapidly from each step and then take further action with renewed confidence and intelligence. 

Making It All Sing – Interoperability. Hard to pronounce and spell, and even harder to accomplish. You want to be able to shift from one cloud operator to another seamlessly – from private to public and vice versa, and your apps running on different clouds need to talk to each other intelligibly. Interop (see what I did there?) is on the horizon, and cloud service providers know how to create sufficient workarounds and semblance, but right now, automatic interop remains the ideal, not today’s reality. 

Security, Of Course – Since security dominates bank cloud discussions today, suffice it to say that it should and that there is no silver bullet. Instead, your secure cloud strategy depends, as do all your business strategies, on layers of technology-driven security measures that variously hide your transactions, authenticate your users, protect your data, vary by function and users, and yet permit your people to work and your transactions to flow as smoothly as possible.

Bob Olson is a Vice President at Unisys where he manages the Global Financial Services Practice.He works with clients by providing a portfolio of IT services, software, and technology to help them solve their mission-critical problems. Prior to Unisys, Bob was ... View Full Bio

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