Category Archives: banking

IBM signs cloud development agreement with ANZ bank

ANZ has signed a five-year, A$450 million (£208 million) strategic agreement with IBM, the centrepiece of which is the establishment of a cloud-based Innovation Lab based on IBM’s Bluemix cloud development platform-as-a-service, reports Banking Technology.

The lab will allow the Bank’s developers to build, test and deploy new applications and services at “a fraction of the time and cost previously taken”.

As well as the Innovation Lab and cloud capabilities, the agreement includes access to IBM’s software portfolio and core systems infrastructure. The IBM agreement will provide common platforms across ANZ’s network as it continues to grow as a super-regional bank and will allow the bank to deliver a “more integrated and innovative banking experience for digital customers”.

IBM will deploy its newest z13 mainframe and Power8 infrastructure as part of ANZ’s private cloud environment. The infrastructure will provide the bank with the reliability, security and resiliency needed to service the needs of mobile customers across the bank’s network. IBM integration, content management, data, analytics and cloud software will support ANZ’s core banking and infrastructure needs.

“Understanding our customers’ needs and preferences around mobile and digital banking is critical to our business and to providing a superior customer experience,” said Scott Collary, ANZ’s chief information officer. “We therefore need to ensure we’re meeting these needs in an innovative, consistent and seamless way and with this partnership with IBM, we’re working to achieve this goal.”

IBM has been a strategic partner of ANZ for more than 40 years said Scott Barlow, IBM client director for ANZ Bank: “This new agreement continues to build on this by enabling ANZ access to an arsenal of leading edge technology to provide the agility, speed and innovation essential in the rapidly changing financial services marketplace.”

Infosys takes financial suite of Verizon Cloud

Infosys is deploying its core and digital banking suite on Verizon's cloud

Infosys is deploying its core and digital banking suite on Verizon’s cloud

Infosys and Verizon announced a deal this week that will see the Indian outsourcing specialist offer its financial suite of software services on Verizon’s cloud platform in the US. The move is part of a broader effort to update its strategy for the times and go all in on cloud.

The Finacle suite, targeted primarily at banks and credit unions, is a white label core and digital banking services solution. Infosys said offering the solution as a PAYG software as a service can make it less costly and more flexible to deploy.

“Providing real-time and compelling customer experience across multiple channels is a difficult task, even for the largest of financial institutions with significant resources,” said Michael Reh, senior vice president and global head of Finacle, Infosys.

“With Finacle solutions now available on Verizon Cloud, financial institutions of all sizes, across the U.S., will be able to provide the latest banking services to their customers without any major investment,” Reh said.

Adam Famularo, vice president, global channel, Verizon said: “Together, Finacle and Verizon will enable new flexibility for clients. Financial institutions will benefit from Finacle’s comprehensive solution coverage and high-performance platform hosted on the Verizon Cloud to help them improve agility, achieve sustainable, profitable growth and drive their business.”

Since 2014 Infosys has ramped up its cloud partnerships in a bid to shift its outsourcing business towards higher margin activities, and financial services seems to be a more promising sector for cloud growth than originally anticipated. Gartner for instance predicts that by 2016, more than 60 per cent of global banks will process the majority of their transactions in the cloud, and many are already migrating less sensitive functions.

Cloud banking: lit from within

Financial services companies are warming to cloud services

Financial services companies are warming to cloud services

In a world where, as John Schlesinger, chief enterprise architect at Temenos, argues, servers are about to stop getting cheaper, the advantages of cloud computing in terms of cost and customer experience look more compelling than ever. In the banking market, however, the spread of cloud systems has been slower than elsewhere due to factors including concern about data security, uncertainty about the position regulators will take on cloud technologies and the challenge of managing migration from the in-house, legacy IT systems that currently run banks’ critical functions.

So just how hot is cloud banking right now? A quick temperature check of the financial services industry’s attitude to cloud banking in April triggered a warm response.

There are two sides to every story and never more so than when discussing with banks the shift from in-house technology to on-demand cloud-based services. So in Temenos’ recent survey Cloud-banking heat map, we asked two key questions: what are the benefits you seek from cloud services; and what, if any, are the barriers to adoption you face?

Echoing the results of a similar Ovum survey The Critical Role for Cloud in the Transformation of Retail Banks,last year, our results show that cloud is no longer just about cost reduction, as 50 per cent of respondents see cloud as a means to adopt new technology, and 34 per cent reported the ability to add new business functionality more quickly as a top benefit. This is a very encouraging sign that banks are seeing the adoption of cloud technology as a means to support the delivery of new products and services.

That is not to say that the long term cost benefits of cloud services are any less important. In fact the highest scoring benefit sought from the cloud, at 58 per cent of respondents, is to reduce overall IT costs. Not at all surprising given the profitability hit banks have taken post financial crisis, cost-savings are an obvious driver of a cloud-based IT strategy.

The top reported barriers to adopting cloud services are concerns over data security (55 per cent) and reliability and availability (47 per cent), which are common challenges for financial institutions that are used to managing and maintaining their own IT. This highlights the need for cloud providers to do more to demonstrate to the industry the robustness of their security controls and availability metrics, as paradoxically we may find that security and reliability is a benefit rather than a barrier to cloud.

Concern over regulatory compliance is another top factor against cloud banking, cited by 45 per cent of respondents. This is no surprise in such a heavily regulated sector, and there is no quick fix, but when talking to lawyers in this space, the feeling is that with a high level of due diligence on the on the banks’ part, and a transparent and collaborative approach on the cloud provider’s part, a solution could be found that meets all parties’ needs, including those of the regulator.

In response to this, we see cloud software vendors, their platform partners and industry organisations are working closely to address security concerns. Co-ordinated efforts such as the Cloud Security Alliance and its Cloud Controls Matrix have set out security principles for cloud vendors and assist prospective customers in assessing security risk at individual cloud providers. Cloud providers themselves are investing heavily in compliance and security expertise to the extent that many observers argue that a well-implemented migration to the cloud can result in higher levels of security than an in-house system, as well as access to real-time reporting mechanisms that are often superior, too.

As the industry continues to warm up to cloud banking, we will see the same issues raised and discussed again and again. And rightly so: the only way to support the banking industry in any leap in technology and faith is by addressing issues and challenges openly until all parties are convinced of its viability.

However, while clear challenges remain to more rapid adoption of cloud-based technology in banking, it is clear that change is happening. Already, analysts at Gartner predict that by 2016, more than 60 per cent of global banks will process the majority of their transactions in the cloud. Many are already moving less sensitive functions there and developing strategies to enable them to capture the benefit of cloud-based systems for their core operations.

Written by David Arnott, chief executive of Temenos