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Believing in the 3rd Platform

“Seldom before has any technology promised so much to so many” – so starts the paper and then proceeds to enumerate the benefits of the technology in question, which include lower IT expenditure, higher computing power, accelerated systems development and transformed organizations.

It is easy to read that as a simple primer to Cloud Computing except that those are the opening thoughts from a document published in 1994. On client-server technology.

Enterprise expectations are still broadly shaped by Moore's law – performance must increase; price must decrease. But the definition of acceptable, competitive, transformative performance is constantly changing to suit enlarging business expectations.  And when the capability of contemporary solutions is stretched to breaking point, it's time for a brand new technology cycle.

Such as the one that IDC calls the 3rd Platform, comprising Mobile, Social, Cloud and Big Data, which is expected to deliver up to 90% of the IT industry's growth till 2020. The Cloud is the vital force multiplier in the new paradigm, because it is harder to imagine an enterprise successfully leveraging Mobility, Social and Big Data without the Cloud than it is to imagine enterprise success without leveraging those three.

This triumvirate is a critical growth lever for the financial sector, which is at the vanguard of Cloud adoption. But although financial institutions have acknowledged the opportunity, their conviction still seems a bit tentative, as evident in a recent research study, which said that only 38% of financial service organizations had a formal Cloud roadmap in place.   

To ensure that their investments pay off, banks need to start out by believing in how critical the Cloud is to the future of their business.

Here’s just one instance. Banking is an aggregation of manufactured products, retailed services and transaction processes and only the first constitutes a bank's core competency. Taking a leaf out of the automotive sector's book, banks will someday retain core business activities and divest the rest to realize greater efficiencies and productivity. IT-intensive transaction processes will be totally outsourced to specialist providers; even marketing and distribution will be better served by experienced retailers, who could well become co-opetitive banking partners. In fact, this shift is already underway, and it’s thanks to the Cloud. In its report, a leading investment bank says that 20% of organizational workloads across industries have moved to the Cloud in the last 6 years and another 18% will follow within 2. That’s what the Cloud can achieve.

From the decentralized 70s, the centralized 80s, onto global centralization, and now the Cloud, banks are past masters at adapting technology infrastructure and processes. As early adopters, they are ideally positioned to extract the most transformative value from the Cloud. All they need to do is believe a little more.


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