Before they can craft a cloud strategy, banks should address some critical barriers.

In my last post, I shared some of the findings from Accenture’s recent Cloud Readiness survey of 35 retail banks. I also emphasized the importance of a sound cloud strategy and a coherent, comprehensive plan for the transition.

In this post, I will try to show how banks can accelerate their cloud journey so that they can gain the agility to compete effectively in the digital age.

 

The keys to cloud adoption: digital decoupling and new skills

Banks in particular are limited by their legacy systems. These can be a major stumbling block in the path to cloud adoption. Before they can make the shift to cloud-based systems, banks should start with a detailed assessment of their legacy systems, including both their benefits and draw-backs. Through a process we call “digital decoupling,” banks can maintain the best of their legacy systems while moving what they can to the cloud.

Such a two-tiered approach seems to resonate with banks. In our survey:

69% of respondents said that they intend to operate in a “bi-modal” way—maintaining key legacy systems while transferring other systems to the cloud.1

In addition, the transition to cloud requires new management skills and organizational approaches. The banks we surveyed appear to be aware of this need.

Based on our survey:2

  • 94% of banks have a dedicated team in charge of the definition and execution of their cloud strategy, or plan to have one in the next 12 months.
  • 91% of banks say they have or will have a dedicated team or dedicated resources to help internal users secure, customize and use cloud resources.

Our survey also showed that banking executives are quite confident about their skills for developing cloud strategy and managing cloud operations. However, they are less certain when it comes to applications and infrastructure (see Figure below).

Level of skills and experience
“How would you assess the level of skills and experience of the employees in your organization in charge of cloud strategy and management, development, applications and infrastructure?” Source: Accenture Research

 

Takeaways from the Accenture Cloud Readiness survey

So, based on our survey findings, what should banks be doing today to accelerate their cloud journey?

To stay ahead of the cloud curve, we recommend banks take several actions:

  • Identify the first set of applications that can be readily moved to the cloud, then perform a deeper application analysis.
  • Invest in skills, particularly in applications and infrastructure.
  • Transform processes and tools, taking into consideration sustained cloud production services at scale. It is important to move from the experimentation stage to real and comprehensive production based on minimum viable products and pilots.
  • Implement their cloud strategy with a methodical plan and a roadmap that makes the transition to cloud a vehicle for innovation and transformation. Most importantly, banks should revisit their IT operating model to make sure that it is cloud-ready.
  • Develop an action plan around compliance. Before embarking on a cloud journey, banks should share their roadmap with their compliance team for a careful evaluation of potential regulator effects and to define how to interact with regulatory bodies during the cloud journey.

In conclusion, banks are exploring cloud’s potential as a business-building tool, but they might not be moving quickly enough to avoid disruption. One-off, small-scale projects are unlikely to help banks catch up, nor are they likely to force the necessary leadership and cultural changes.

By focusing on the key areas of cloud strategy, applications and infrastructure, banks have the opportunity to increase their agility and ability to innovate, both of which are key to success and perhaps, survival.

To learn more, read our Cloud Readiness in Banking and our Banking Technology Vision 2018 reports.

 

Reference:

  1. “Cloud and Clear—Accenture Cloud Readiness Report – Banking,” Accenture, 2018. Access at https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insights/financial-services/tech-advisory-cloud-readiness-banking.
  2. Ibid

Andrew Poppleton

Managing Director, Accenture Financial Services Technology Advisory, Global lead

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