Accenture Banking Blog

The journey to cloud is a business transformation, not an IT project

In the current edition of the Banking Cloud Altimeter, we dig into the results of our 2022 Banking Cloud Rotation Index survey, which follows the progress of nearly 100 banks on their journey to cloud. Though the progress they have made over the past year is impressive, there still seems to be a shortage of across-the-board buy-in from banking leaders to drive the transition forward at an accelerated pace. 

When transformation efforts are approached as technology projects, maintaining momentum can be a struggle. This perception that a cloud transformation is only about infrastructure has kept it off the radar of leadership in many parts of the bank. Instead, banks should think of the migration to cloud as a generational business transformation. Without a clear vision of what this transition means for their respective business units, leaders may struggle to prioritize resources allocated to the migration or modernization of functions to the cloud.  

Business leaders at the bank want to know, “How will cloud drive revenue?” 

A decisive, well-planned cloud journey should act as a powerful accelerant to transform the entire banking value chain. Banks that are getting it right are focusing on unlocking that business value by leveraging the cloud to reimagine their business.

– Banking Cloud Altimeter

It’s important for the bank’s senior leadership team to understand the transformational power of a cloud-enabled business so they are motivated to embrace the transformation. When all the bank’s stakeholders become partners in achieving shared outcomes, they can collaborate to build a comprehensive vision of a more innovative, agile and efficient bank. Let’s look at three questions banking business leaders are asking about their bank’s cloud journey. 

How will cloud benefit different areas of our business? 

Agreeing on outcomes that can be achieved through cloud acceleration or innovation solidifies internal partnerships on the cloud journey. Each business unit should be involved in building a roadmap to reach the shared outcomes the bank has targeted. It should be clear how making the best use of the new tools, cost visibility, risk management automation and flexible computing capacity enabled by the cloud can build competitive advantage. 

Banks can use a decision model to prioritize their use cases. The model should focus on reducing costs, providing more flexibility and opportunity for innovation, and reducing time to market for new products and services. To realize the full business potential of the cloud, the bank will need to individually consider the value case for migrating each of its services and applications and prioritize the ones that offer the best return. Rather than being distracted by use cases that showcase cloud capability, the priority areas for migration should align to the bank’s business goals. 

Our survey results show that “complexity of organizational change” is one of the most significant barriers to banks’ cloud migration. In fact, it’s one of only two barriers that became more challenging in 2022 than it was in 2021. When making key decisions about the transformation, leaders need to consider potential unintended and tangential impacts across the business; changes made in one functional area of the bank can have a cascading effect on others.  

Do the benefits outweigh the risks? 

The banking industry’s strict regulatory environment causes leaders to perceive any change in process or technology as a risk. This results in a cultural resistance to change.  

The journey to cloud actually offers banks an opportunity to incorporate compliance and security features by design, and to build them to meet the bank’s individual risk posture. The bank’s secure, cloud-based development environment can lay the groundwork for long-term innovation, shorter development cycles and agile problem-solving that addresses the bank’s key challenges—without introducing additional risk. A well-planned cloud roadmap can even drive a reduction in technical debt. 

To take advantage of the speed and agility that a cloud transformation provides, the business will benefit from adopting a DevSecOps mindset, where product lifecycles and new operating models become the secure tools of business innovation.  

Is it an all-or-nothing decision? 

One of the great benefits of the cloud is its flexibility. There are as many ways to plan and execute a cloud transformation as there are banks. Early on, the teams responsible for enabling cloud services should connect with the business leaders responsible for identifying and prioritizing demand. First, prioritize the bank’s main business imperatives, then take a data-driven approach to identifying the other cloud capabilities that are most likely to benefit your bank. As each business unit develops high-value use cases to maximize growth and innovation, the bank can implement some easy wins first and immediately get value from its cloud transformation. 

The cloud provides a “pay as you go” service model that can save the bank money—but only if it tracks exactly how much it is spending through FinOps tooling. The bills I’ve seen from cloud service providers call for data scientists to swing into action. A data-driven approach to managing cloud spending and decoding your cloud bill is necessary in order to manage costs and prevent waste. 

Cloud services can be adjusted and even replaced to meet the bank’s needs as they change, and as new options become available. For example, as my colleague Avinash Rao explains in the Q&A section of the Banking Cloud Altimeter, industry cloud solutions are becoming more widely available to banks. They are likely to play an important role in accelerating the journey to cloud. As cloud technology continues to evolve, the bank can adjust its plan to embrace the options that are best aligned with its business goals. 

When cloud is everyone’s business, it’s good for business 

When the bank’s leadership is engaged in fully exploiting the capabilities of the cloud in every business unit, it becomes much easier to unlock the value and innovation that can result from a cloud transformation. These results should be clear and measurable. We’re starting to see some good examples of banks that have captured this value and ramped up innovation.  

Poste Italiane, whose business includes postal, banking, telecommunications and insurance products, has simplified and standardized all internal administrative, financial and accounting processes hosted on the cloud. With the efficiencies and automation that its move to the cloud has enabled across the business, it has achieved annual business savings of €2 million. 

Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) has unlocked the value of its data to enhance the customer experience, optimize operations and fuel future growth. By moving its data lake to the cloud, SCB can combine advanced data and analytics capabilities with people-focused processes and tools. In its unsecured lending business alone, data-driven digital marketing has generated 10% more campaign responses and a 3x improvement on the model. Automation has reduced manual processes by 40%, improved accuracy and accelerated loan approvals and processing, increasing customer satisfaction while effectively managing risks. 

Eurobank is using cloud-enabled agility and innovation to realize its vision of becoming the most technology-enabled, data-driven financial institution in Greece and Southeastern Europe. It has successfully shifted to cloud-based microservices and to a seamless omni-channel environment. Its average time to market for new functionality is now eight weeks and its release cycle is two weeks. The bank has revamped its mobile app and e-banking services. Its other digital innovations include digital onboarding, smart financial management tools, contactless payments and innovative mechanisms for securing electronic transactions. 

To find out more about the progress banks made last year on their journey to cloud, download the Banking Cloud Altimeter. To discuss how your bank can implement a comprehensive plan for your cloud transformation, contact me here or on LinkedIn. 

Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used in place of consultation with our professional advisors. This document may refer to marks owned by third parties. All such third-party marks are the property of their respective owners. No sponsorship, endorsement or approval of this content by the owners of such marks is intended, expressed or implied. Copyright© 2023 Accenture. All rights reserved. Accenture and its logo are registered trademarks of Accenture.


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