Cloud Adoption: Framing the Strategic Picture
Amidst a great digital revolution accelerated by the Covid pandemic, customers continue to expect all the necessary banking services to be readily available, displaying the most up to date information, accessible from anywhere, and at any time. These increasingly demanding customer expectations are a driving force in compelling many organisations to renew their focus and apply changes across their entire technology organisation to ensure they can support a highly available service, with an ever-improving user experience.
The Industry Agrees
The fundamental role Cloud Technology plays in the future of banking is undeniable and something the industry is aligned on, as it provides an adaptable platform that can enable banks in their quest to meet their customers increasingly demanding expectations and remain competitive in relation to their peers.
Whilst a cloud hosted infrastructure may be the obvious destination for many of our banking clients, the journey to cloud is by no means an easy one and progress has often been slow and piecemeal, leaving plenty of room for continued growth in this space. In a recent Europe based survey conducted by Accenture in 2021, only 5% of banks’ total workloads have been migrated to the cloud. Nearly two-thirds of banks have said that they have not yet achieved their expected cloud benefits across the four categories of cost, speed, business enablement and service levels.
The reasons they commonly site as barriers to cloud adoption are “security and risk compliance” and “complexity of business and organizational change”, with “legacy infrastructure and/or application sprawl”, “lack of cloud skills within the organisation” and “misalignment between IT and the business”1.
The Critical Question – Tactical vs Strategic
In any major tech change, setbacks are inevitable, and cloud is no exception, bringing with it its own set of challenges. Though challenges can rarely be avoided, how a bank chooses to approach their migration to the cloud is now at the forefront of technology functions. Perhaps the most obvious way to initiate a cloud migration, is to focus on the technology and conduct an ‘app by app’ review to inform more tactical decisions around which applications should be prioritised for migration. Although this approach may deliver some of the benefits of cloud in the short term, it increases the risk of an organisation losing sight of the bigger picture and desired target state, often resulting in of a lack of consistency in cloud adoption and heightened fragmentation.
Instead, going back to first principles and viewing cloud migration more strategically allows banks to assess their wider organisation, enabling a more informed approach to prioritisation and delivery, resulting in a more holistic cloud strategy design, and allowing for better benefits realisation. It also allows an organisation to set and agree the end-state and define how to get there, whereas a tactical approach is focused on the ‘here and now’ which often requires revision when later reviewed in associated with a strategic goal, resulting in wasted effort and investment.
The key question facing many across the industry is how can you pivot the organisation, both Business and Technology, to strategically think about their migration to cloud and where do they start? To do this successfully, it is imperative banks look beyond just the technology, and review their whole organisation to ensure they are set up to enable cloud adoption, rather than prevent it. With greater scrutiny than ever being applied to risk controls, cybersecurity and executing change on Cloud, detailed planning and cross-functional inputs have become critical to success.
Reviewing your organisation and assessing its readiness for cloud migration can be a daunting task, however using a structured framework can provide a starting point in which to complete your assessment.
To solve for this, BCS Consulting, part of Accenture use our experience coupled with a proven methodology and framework that endeavours to provide a structure through which an organisation can review their cloud adoption journey to date and help quantify their cloud maturity across 6 high level dimensions: Cloud Vision & Strategy, Governance & Security, Data Management, Infrastructure, CI/CD & Testing, and People.
This framework provides a solid foundation for a bank to assess at a granular level the current state of each of these dimensions by comparing it with what would be expected from a firm with a high or low cloud maturity level. This not only informs a bank of how far they have come in their cloud journey, but also where they have the potential for improvement and can help establish a set of targeted and actionable next steps to uplift against the desired areas. In addition, by giving each dimension a quantitative ranking, it allows for a greater ease of comparison between these areas, allowing for more objective prioritisation.
The benefits of cloud computing hold widespread recognition across the industry, and the appetite for cloud migration shows no sign of stopping. As a result, it is imperative that banks leverage the necessary tools to assess where they currently are in their cloud journey, and what else they need to do in order to better realise their vision. A structured assessment of a bank more holistically allows them to move away from primarily thinking about the technology, to instead consider their wider cloud maturity and derive a more strategic end state to strive for.