Banking On Cloud Computing
Kylie Minogue’s classic song, “I Just Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” could double as the theme song for the current tech zeitgeist as it relates to the cloud. Everyone seems to be either embracing or debating cloud computing around proverbial water coolers. Even our grandmothers are wise to the new truth that mentioning a cloud doesn’t always mean a glance out the window. These septuagenarians (and older) are actually outshining a community whose relevance matters most to our wallets, our banks.
Banks and other financial institutions remain exorbitantly coy about what cloud computing stands to offer them. Begrudgingly, I admit that this is a reasonable fear. The recent economic crisis continues to linger, and public opinion locates banks at the epicenter of the financial quake. These houses of finance are determined to regain our trust; any other unconstrained fiascos would mar their progress toward that goal. Transferring the bulk of data regarding their primary systems to a cloud whose security and data protection are still suspect would definitely not be complete fiasco avoidance.
Yet despite these understandable misgivings, cloud computing offers several assets that savvy, bold banks could capitalize upon. The cloud can galvanize banks’ data processing potential, and magnify their scale of operations. The technology could also augment their everyday efficiency, letting them save on labor and channel employees’ smarts toward the end of bettering their computerized operations.
The BBC already reports how one gutsy bank is already feasting on the spoils of its cloud conversion. BBVA, a banking juggernaut in Spain, Mexico, and parts of the American south, has adapted its data to Google’s family of cloud services, such as GMail. Their aim in such a conversion: to “achieve a cultural change” and get “the whole company working together,” a worthy goal whose reward arrives in the form of heightened revenue, as well as in improved “innovation,” decisiveness, and “productivity.”
So what needs to happen for even more banks to make like BBVA and leap to the cloud? For one thing, some more time needs to pass, so that banks can have enough capital in order to leverage a substantial tech move. They’ll need to emulate BBVA’s insistence on “legacy systems,” or trustworthy repositories for old e-mails and other information, which allow employees to enter the cloud with a minimum of discombobulation. Simple moves like these will attract more banks to cloud computing, and (crossing fingers) inspire a new wave of efficiency and fidelity in the depositories of our hard-earned dollars.
By Jeff Norman