CeBIT 2011: Financial orgs using 20 Cloud services, says BT strategist

As contracts are entered into, also think how to disengage

Financial services organisations might be conservative when it comes to moving core functions to the Cloud, but that hasn’t stopped the industry from embracing as many as 20 Cloud services already, according to an IT strategist at BT Financial Group.

Paul Ventura, head of architecture and strategy at BT Financial Group said of the top three industries moving to the Cloud, financial services sits at number two.

“The financial services industry wants to take advantage of this, but it’s a conservative bunch,” Ventura said.

“How many Cloud services is the average financial organisation engaged with, but not necessarily aware of? Estimates are probably 20 services (categories) that are subscribed to without a conscious decision being made.”

Speaking at this year’s CeBIT conference in Sydney, Ventura said organisations need to design the authority in-house and clearly define how their chosen Cloud can evolve over time.

“Why go there? It's worth understanding the context for financial services. The first is costs and the second is agility,” he said.

See photos and all the action from the event.

The main reasons for not moving to Cloud are security, existing infrastructure investments and legacy integration.

“We need to be able to model usage over time based on the business function and strategy. That will prevent you from being exposed down the track, but it's early days for corporations to do that,” Ventura said.

“Regarding security, where will the data reside? Will it be copied? Has the customer be given consent? And is the cloud considered inside or outside the trusted zone?”

BT Financial Group CIO, Tony Forward, is looking at a new IT capability framework for the company.

Ventura described Cloud computing as “seat-based outsourcing at a distance”.

“We have to engineer the internal solutions and enter into Cloud arrangements that allow us to leverage services in a way we haven't anticipated,” he said.

“The lead time for service provision five years ago was 90 days and it’s now down to four hours for storage. We can now focus on things more material to the line of business. But as we enter into the contracts we should also think how we disengage.”

And just because a company has outsourced to the Cloud it “doesn't mean you absolve yourself of responsibility of that service”.

Regarding integration of Cloud and legacy systems, Ventura asked the audience to relate any experiences. One person replied: “I wouldn't do it again in a hurry.”

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