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Cloud Services for Finance Customers - Should You Bother Reading This?

Created: 30 Aug 2011 • Updated: 31 Aug 2011
Dan Jennings's picture

You may well be yawning already. So much has been written about “the cloud”, “cloud computing”, “cloud services”, “cloud tea-making facilities”, etc, that a large proportion of the IT industry is becoming apathetic towards anything with the word “cloud” in it. Indeed Gartner’s last Hype Cycle Report had all cloud services at the “peak of inflated expectations”. A quick scan of the x axis on that graph tells us that there’s plenty more negativity where that came from before the industry settles down to a reasonable balance between expectation and delivery. That’s completely understandable and is borne out in the recently released Symantec Virtualization Survey.

Cloud computing is nothing new. It is simply a collection of technologies tied together by a provider (either public or private) which has confidence enough to offer them to businesses or individuals as a service with service level agreements.  There are plenty of examples of successful cloud delivery. Symantec has three of the largest in the world – The Global Intelligence Network, the Norton Backup facility and .cloud offerings. There is no rocket science here. The crucial point is the confidence to deliver.

It is that point that seems to have become lost somehow. Often, sales teams peddle the cloud message with tedious regularity and tenuous links to the need in hand. Predictably, customer representatives at all levels have become disenfranchised. (Listen for the audible groans – they are there) They see sharp suits delivering a required message with little understanding of the pressures business places on them.

Leaders in IT business functions need to be able to trust in that delivery. SLA’s are all very well, but lost trade, for instance, can never be compensated for. Which brings us to the Finance industry. Most reliant of all on technology delivery, Financial corporations need to be able to trust in the services they provide to their business. After all, it’s these services that generate the revenue which returns the profits needed in the economic climate that challenges us all today. Would you trust a cloud service today if it were enabled, in some way, by a 3rd party? I would be very interested to hear your thoughts.

If a CIO or CTO of a trading organisation can trust a delivery mechanism to provide their business with the service it needs to generate revenue, then isn’t that a huge win? Guaranteed service at a low, predictable price with peace of mind is sweet music to anyone’s ears. Once that is in place, there is huge potential to steal a march on the competition by being first to market with, for instance, new trading mechanisms. For example, the New York Stock Exchange is already seeing the benefits.

Is cloud just a buzzword then? No. It represents the potential to trust a provider to help generate the revenue that is the lifeblood of any financial organisation. (Just like electricity provision. Who would run their own power station today?) Once that message is clear, then the question becomes “Who can I trust to deliver cloud services?”. Some providers will be a better and safer bet than others.

Dan Jennings.

dan_jennings@symantec.com