Powering Finance: Digital Transformation in the “Always-On” Industry

“Today’s technology [about] How our customers experience banking, whether through an app or a digital service,” said Mike Dargan, chief digital and information officer and executive board member at UBS AG. “Naturally, technology is now an integral part of our business – it negotiates Having a place at the table is part of our corporate strategy. ”

cloud-based future

Cloud computing is the foundation of the financial services industry’s transition to an “on-demand” data and services industry, in which businesses pay specialized providers for storage and infrastructure when needed. These experts are usually the cloud services divisions of Microsoft, Google and Amazon. Only such a technology company with a vast global network of data centers can have enough computing power to meet the growing demands of the financial industry.

“If you look at all the new demands from central banks, governments and even investors, financial services companies don’t have the data storage capacity to meet the demands,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft Cloud + AI Group.

When banks adopted technology in the 1970s, they developed their own infrastructure, often installing servers in their data centers. Traditional systems work well when computing demands are relatively uniform. But during periods of high market volatility, demand for computing power surges, and banks need to ensure spare capacity keeps growing, even if it’s redundant most of the time.

“We talk a lot about the explosive, elastic nature of the cloud,” Dargan said, referring to the fact that if a bank needs more computing power than it normally does, its cloud partners can provide the additional capacity immediately and for a time-only fee. This not only saves costs, but also reduces carbon emissions, as spare capacity is aggregated for the entire industry at the cloud service provider level, rather than being maintained by each company. Reliability and uptime are also improved because cloud providers have multiple data centers that can back up to each other. Dargan said UBS achieved more than 99.999% or 6 sigma availability across its entire asset, in part due to the move to the cloud.

Cloud providers provide not only storage and infrastructure, but also platforms and tools on which applications and services can be developed. Since Dargan joined UBS in 2016, its technical team has shifted from using 50 different development tools to launching just one cloud-based service called UBS DevCloud. Through this open ecosystem built on the public cloud, UBS software engineers can seamlessly develop, test, and release code in a single tool, enabling them to release products quickly and update them frequently.

The cloud also allows financial services firms to match best-in-class consumer applications and develop exceptional customer-facing services. “The best-in-class consumer apps you use every day know exactly what you click, what you don’t click, and what their recommendation engine is doing. This means they can improve their functionality very quickly. To our customers Saying that, applying the same approach in our industry could be a game-changer,” Dargan said. This desire to improve customer service, often in competition with rivals from purely digital startups, was one of the original drivers for financial services to embrace cloud computing, Guthrie said. “Financial Services Firms Want [provide] Mobile or online, digital services for consumers are an early source of migration to the cloud. ”

cultural evolution

The move to the cloud by financial services firms is a major generational change for an industry that has pioneered the use of computing at scale through on-premise infrastructure. This naturally leads to a certain degree of caution.

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