Software developer Misys has announced a strategic alliance with Microsoft that will enable it to deliver new banking and capital markets applications through the Windows Azure cloud platform. The launch of the initiative comes as leading banks at the Sibos conference in Amsterdam discuss the disruptive potential of cloud computing on the banking technology market.
Misys has already deployed instances of its BankFusion Universal Banking product on the Azure platform and claims to be receiving "significant interest" from banks looking to harness the technology to reducer the complexity and operational risk of running their banking systems.
The announcement was made at the Sibos event in Amsterdam via a video link from Steve Ballmer, Microsoft chief executive. "Cloud computing, and specifically Windows Azure, enables banks to move from a capital intensive cost model to one which is based on the consumption of technology," says Ballmer. "No longer will banks need to over-order computing resources because the scale of the Azure platform allows high volume workloads such as end-of-day processing to be consumed on demand."
Reflecting its strategic importance, the debate over the use of cloud computing in financial services has moved up the agenda at this year's Sibos and has already been the subject of lively early Monday discussion with keynote presentations from Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and IT consultant Flying Binary.
The theme of the keynotes was that cloud is no longer a trend, but a business requirement for banks. Subhra Bose, CTO, Credit Suisse comments that the "days of spending months and millions of pounds to launch a product in financial services" are long gone. Banks needs cloud operating systems to achieve this now.
Jacqui Taylor, director of FlyingBinary, gave a case study presentation on taking a pan-European financial services firm from 'spaghetti junction' to Payments Services Directive compliance by using Google apps, Software-as-a-Service and cloud operating systems.
Sean Kelley, Global CIO for Deutsche Asset Management, Deutsche Bank rounded out the keynote with a talk about designing an enterprise bank cloud infrastructure. Deutsche Bank is now in beta with dbCloud, its own enterprise cloud initiative. According to Kelley, cloud is not a technology, it's an operating model and he predicts that the cloud operating space will be traded like a commodity in the near future.