Cloud computing, an accelerator for digital transformation?

For the past years, the adoption of Cloud Computing and the “marketing” promises which were promoted by various field stakeholders are at the heart of IT decision-makers’ preoccupations.

Private, Public or Hybrid Cloud? This choice is, today, even more leading, in a situation where CIOs must at the same time reduce the cost due to the “legacy” management and bring more innovation into their job.

Cercle Finance’s 8 March 2018 reception was the occasion to compare our beliefs to the opinions of CIOs and CTOs coming from the main French financial institutions. With companies such as Société Générale, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, BPCE, HSBC, Engie, Banque de France, Natixis and Exane.

Take a look to our shared presentation during Cercle Finance’s evening.

“Cloud computing is the solution to our teams’ needs in agility”

Naturally, our discussions acknowledged the strategic gain which comes with the adoption of cloud computing. Indeed, we have noticed the presence of private cloud projects in all the financial field companies with, of course, different levels of progress. Although production teams showed reluctance, these projects are, for most of them, in a highly advanced phase or in production already. Thus, it is possible for a programmer to order a virtual machine with a simple click and have it within the next half hour following his demand. This is one of the great innovations in the life cycle of projects. Private cloud solutions are today considered as a necessity that answers the needs of IT teams and other jobs related to this domain. Beyond these qualitative elements which clearly accelerated projects’ time to market, return on investment analysis are very complicated: doubts are remaining over the cost reduction promoted by cloud suppliers.

De facto, private clouds are the first stone in cloud strategy. The second step will be dedicated to the integration of a hybrid cloud solution, unanimously considered as “the evident solution”. This appears as the biggest challenge cloud strategy has to face as we may notice the existence of reluctance in the public sphere.

“Numerous hesitations exist with the adoption of public cloud in a highly regulated world”

Concerning the adoption of public cloud, clients demonstrate a lot of hesitation. Despite the historic use of SaaS for non-critical needs, we denote few experimentations and a use almost limited to IaaS. These hesitations can be mostly explained by regulation, data safety and the American nationality of the principal public cloud suppliers (Google, Amazon, Microsoft).

Indeed, the regulation which supervises the use of public cloud is still very vague and generates many fantasies. Numerous law texts are imposed to financial institutions [1] but their interpretation concerning the use of public cloud is different from a culture to another. That said, the last recommendations coming from the European Banking Authority, published on 20th December 2017 [2] and which will come into effect on 1st of July 2018 are bringing a first part of the response concerning this subject. Cloud Computing being considered as a classic externalization activity, no legal restrictions exist today. The financial institution has the responsibility to ensure that the externalized service respects the safety conditions and regulation standards which are in effect. The content of the agitated discussions about this new text confirmed the brakes to the adoption of public cloud. The participants underlined their concerns about the future of French regulation: towards more freedom to enhance agility and innovation thanks to the cloud or towards more protectionism to avoid that GAFA “control” European companies as they did with private individuals?

Finally, the subject of USA’s highly intrusive legislation concerning the main public Cloud Computing stakeholders was broached (and which ultimately has an impact on the safety of hosted data). Yet, we could almost consider that this is only a problem of confidence as such problems often come with externalization processes. Few French players exist (OVH, Orange, Outscale, Qarnot) but only offer uncompetitive offers.

“Managed offers present non-negligible advantages”

But these doubts should not occult the numerous advantages which come with the use of public cloud. Indeed, the different suppliers offer really complete “tailor made” services, focusing only on the needs of one’s. For instance, “serverless” allows to quickly build a highly available and scalable application without any operation on the server and with a very innovative economic scheme. Indeed, there is no need to pay for unused capacities. The customer only has to pay fees linked to the transactions he did. This is not Cloud Computing’s great revolution. Managed services (containers, PaaS, Serverless) enable to gain a strong advantage in terms of agility and clearly accelerate innovation processes.

[1] Information technology and freedom Law, General Data Protection Regulation (2016), Data from paying card owners: PCI DSS, Network and Information System Directive (2016),

Military programming law, Health data hosting, DSP2

[2] https://www.eba.europa.eu/regulation-and-policy/internal-governance/recommendations-on-outsourcing-to-cloud-service-prov

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