The Reality of the Cloud and Company Culture for Financial Services – Part 2

Cloud transformation impacts more than just tech. It also requires a significant shift in company culture.

This is the second post of two in this series. The first post can be found here: The Reality of the Cloud for Financial Services.

The introduction of new technologies impacts workflow, changes the way your teams go about doing their jobs, and how they communicate with each other and customers. Your teams need to understand the day-to-day value of transformation, and they need to feel like part of the process.

Preparing your teams for potentially radical culture changes is especially critical for financial services organizations, which have historically been hesitant to adopt new and innovative technologies due to the heavily regulated nature of the FinServ industry.

  • Technical Preparedness: It’s common for IT teams to feel a loss of control due to cloud transformation. John Dodge of CIO has said that in-house IT can start feeling like a service broker without a sense of ownership. IT will confront a learning curve with interfaces, APIs, and provider management. Technical training and growth must be prioritized.
  • Skills Building: IT isn’t the only department that will have to acquire new skills. Technical skills are a given, and will be increasingly vital, but your team will likely also need to learn new project management skills and develop a keen understanding of the new realities of security and compliance in the cloud.
  • Frequent Communication and Transparency: Some IT departments can be very resistant to change. During a cloud transformation, there can be tension when your IT team is used to getting under the hood and having total control. Frequent, transparent communication, however, can mitigate resistance in IT. A simple email won’t do the trick. Your IT team needs to know what’s happening – and, more importantly, why— far in advance of it happening. Transparent communication can and should be part of a positive feedback loop that informs the track of on-going training.

Considerations in Cloud Transformation

Proper planning enables a successful project.  Here are some key considerations to discuss internally and with your partners:

  • Compliance and Security: This is at the top of the list for a reason – third-party and government-mandated security requirements for financial services companies leave little to no room for error. Your organization, partners, and cloud service provider must all understand your regulatory and compliance requirements and address your overall cloud security posture so that you can maintain compliance. This is literally Job One.
  • Performance: Performance is of key importance to financial services, who frequently need high performance compute to power their transactions and data analysis. You need easily deployable, easily scalable high-performance processing resources for simulations and modelling, machine learning, financial analysis, and data transformations. This requires a detailed ROI and financial analysis to understand costs and avoid sticker shock.
  • Intellectual Property: What is more important to financial services than their intellectual property? Putting that anywhere outside of your own systems is a hugerisk, but a properly architected cloud solution can ensure that your data is safer in the cloud than it is in legacy solutions.

Transitioning to the cloud can give your business a competitive edge. For financial services lacking large, experienced in-house IT teams, it’s worth considering a partner and leveraging their expertise to make your transition a success.

Robb Allen is the CEO of effectual, Inc.

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