As technology continues to evolve, more and more businesses are moving their operations to the cloud. This includes financial institutions, such as banks, as companies seek to embark upon digital transformation their financial management processes, gain more visibility into financial data, and improve decision-making. In this blog post, we’ll explore why financial services are moving to the cloud, the benefits and challenges of cloud-based finance, and recommendations for how to properly migrate your finance operations. We’ll also introduce Silk, a powerful solution for companies looking to move finance to the cloud.
Why Cloud-Based Finance is the Future of Business
The move to cloud computing for financial institutions is driven by several factors. First and foremost, it provides companies with greater scalability and flexibility. This is important because it allows businesses to scale their financial management systems as they grow, without needing to invest in costly hardware and infrastructure. Additionally, the cloud provides greater accessibility and visibility into financial data, allowing businesses to make informed decisions and react quickly to changes in the market.
Another factor driving to move finance to cloud is the increased demand for remote access to systems and applications. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to reevaluate how they operate and has highlighted the need for flexible, remote work options. Finance solutions on the cloud enable finance teams to work from anywhere with an internet connection, improving collaboration and communication.
Finally, the rise of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning is another factor driving financial services to the cloud. The cloud makes it possible to leverage these cloud-based applications to automate financial processes, reduce errors, and increase efficiency.
Benefits of Moving Finance to the Cloud
There are several benefits to moving finance operations to the cloud:
Greater Visibility and Control over Financial Data
Cloud-based finance provides businesses with real-time access to financial data, which can help to improve financial reporting accuracy and reduce errors. In addition, businesses can gain a comprehensive view of their financial data in one centralized location, making it easier to identify trends and opportunities.
Increased Scalability and Flexibility
Businesses can scale their financial management systems as needed on the cloud, without investing in costly hardware and infrastructure. This is particularly important for growing businesses, as it enables them to adapt quickly to changes in the market and respond to new opportunities.
Improved Collaboration and Communication
The cloud makes it possible to centralize financial data, allowing teams to work together more effectively and share information in real-time. This can help to improve collaboration and communication across departments, leading to more informed decision-making.
Enhanced Security and Compliance
The public cloud providers offer advanced security features and compliance measures, ensuring businesses can protect sensitive financial data and comply with regulations. With finance in the cloud, businesses can take advantage of the latest security technologies and best practices, without needing to invest in expensive security infrastructure.
Moving finance operations to the cloud can result in significant cost savings, particularly for smaller businesses. With finance in the cloud, businesses can avoid the costs associated with maintaining on-premise hardware and infrastructure, such as server maintenance and upgrades. However, with that being said, since the public cloud cost model is often “pay-as-you-go”, costs can spiral out of control if they aren’t carefully monitored. For example, if unused resources are turned off or if multiple copies of data are made.
Overcoming Challenges of Moving Finance to the Cloud
While there are many benefits to finance institutions leveraging the cloud, there are also challenges that need to be overcome. These challenges include:
Many mission-critical financial applications require fast performance to get information into the hands of users in real-time. For example, a financial trading company would need a transaction to go through – and be confirmed – within milliseconds. However, cloud vendors don’t natively offer the ultra-fast performance speeds that are needed. That is because the cloud is a shared service amongst cloud customers and therefore, the providers put throttles on the speeds you can achieve based on how many cloud resources you have. To get faster speeds, you would need to pay for expensive additional resources that you don’t necessarily need to use.
Data Security and Privacy Concerns
Moving financial data to the cloud can raise concerns about data security and privacy. However, the public cloud providers offer advanced security features and compliance measures to address these concerns. Businesses should carefully evaluate the data security and privacy measures their chosen cloud service provider has in place and determine what gaps there might be between these measures and their own.
Integration with Existing Systems
When migrating finance operations to the cloud, you may find that there are dependencies on systems that are still on-prem. Perhaps the application pulls data from a database which still resides on-prem. Moving operations to the cloud can cause integration issues between dependent systems. In fact, it will probably require that additional operations be moved to the cloud to keep integration smooth. This process can be time-consuming and complex. Companies should take the time to determine what potential system dependencies are to ensure there are no hiccups when migrating operations to the cloud.
Shifting to a new platform can be a challenge for users who are used to working with the previous on-premise solutions. Without proper training and encouragement, users may be slow to adapt to cloud-based tools. It is imperative that businesses take the time to invest in their own employees, introducing them to the new product so they feel comfortable and confident in using it.
Preparing Your Finance Department for the Cloud Migration Journey
To successfully migrate finance operations to the cloud, businesses need to properly prepare their finance departments for the journey. This includes:
- Defining goals and objectives: Businesses need to define clear goals and objectives for their cloud migration journey and ensure their finance department understands them.
- Choosing the right solution: Businesses need to carefully evaluate the different cloud vendors to find the right one for their needs.
- Training and education: To ensure user adoption, businesses need to provide training and education to their finance teams to help them understand the new platform and its features.
Another way to make the migration to the cloud smooth is with Silk. The Silk Data Virtualization Platform lives between customer workloads and the underlying cloud infrastructure. With Silk, you simply need to lift and shift applications to the cloud without the need to refactor. Silk helps to boost the performance of these workloads to be up to 10x faster than native cloud alone. All while helping to keep costs to a minimum with enterprise data services – such as instantaneous, zero-footprint snapshots.
Silk has helped accelerate the move to the cloud for a number of financial organizations. This includes multi-asset investment platform, eToro. With over 20 million customers and rising, eToro was experiencing rapid growth that their on-prem datacenters couldn’t keep up with. For that reason, the team decided to migrate to Microsoft Azure. Yet refactoring their databases and applications to the cloud would take too long, presented too much risk, and didn’t give them the performance that they needed.
With Silk, eToro was able to decrease their time to adoption by 50%. Silk’s game-changing performance allowed eToro to complete hundreds of thousands of transactions per second. With Silk’s consistently low response time under heavy loads, the eToro team was confident that its customers would be able to continue making fast trades.
Moving finance operations to the cloud is a smart move for businesses looking to take their financial management processes on a digital transformation, gain greater visibility into financial data, and improve decision-making. While there are challenges to overcome, the benefits of cloud-based finance are clear. To ensure a successful migration journey, businesses need to carefully evaluate cloud-based finance solutions, properly prepare their finance departments, and provide training and education to ensure user adoption.
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