Completing the Jigsaw Puzzle – Cloud Adoption in Corporate Banking Technology
25 January 2024
In recent weeks I’ve had several conversations with some of the largest financial services technology companies and banks about adoption of public cloud services. Most specifically – the propensity for banks to move (or build new) business-critical applications on the public cloud. In this case I am talking about digital banking, trade, payments, lending etc. For every story about a bank going all-in on the cloud, there’s another story about banks being reticent to adopt public cloud solutions.
In the last few years, all the major cloud service providers have made inroads working with regulators and the major banks to ensure that their data centers and technology stacks have levels of security and resilience expected in mission-critical banking services. Almost all banking application vendors now have some form of cloud-based solution. Of course – the journey to get there has been harder for some than others. For many incumbent vendors, only some of their application portfolio may be cloud-based. Even then, some applications may be hosted on cloud, while others may be architected cloud-native applications.
Celent is about to kick off our 2024 IT Strategy and Spending Survey (CTISS 2024) which will give us an updated view into spending trends by technology and region. From our 2023 survey, we asked corporate banking technology executives about their plans to move more business-critical workloads to the public cloud. Here’s how they responded.
Base: All Corporate Banking respondents (sample: 214)
Question: Please indicate your agreement with the following statements: “We will move more of our business-critical workloads to the public cloud in the next 18 months”, “We will move more of our workloads to the public cloud in the next 18 months”
Source: Celent Technology Insight and Strategy Survey 2023
As you would expect, these numbers ranked a little lower across the board for corporate banking technology than their consumer banking counterparts (especially for business-critical applications). Two significant trends appeared in these global results:
- In all regions, smaller banks tend to be more favorably disposed to cloud adoption. These banks are also most likely to buy rather than build applications.
- Banks in growth markets of southeast Asia and the Middle East and Africa regions trended higher than the global averages – by quite a large margin.
Why the variances across regions? Of course – there are many variables that go into a decision to expand cloud-based services.
Early adopters. Broad availability of cloud services began in North America and Europe before expanding to other regions. Many banks in these regions have likely embarked on a strategy and plan to continue at a steady pace (hence only a modest response planning an accelerated pace).
Corporate and transaction banking is inherently complex. There is a wide variety of products and services (and corresponding applications) required to support the business in different countries.
Cloud capabilities in-region. Just having a data center in each country often isn’t enough. The major cloud providers must work with local financial services regulators to meet local data and operational requirements. Capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region and Middle East and Africa have grown significantly in recent years. Not only is demand increasing, but the physical capability to execute has improved.
Vendor application footprint in region. Simply put – does the right combination of preferred vendor solutions on preferred cloud provider platforms certified for the required countries exist. Naturally – those options expand as the approved cloud provider/vendor combinations expand for a given region and country.
Even by 2028, Celent projects that spending on internal infrastructure and on-premise applications will still exceed cloud and SaaS spending. On-premise infrastructure and application spending categories will still grow annually – but cloud spending will grow faster, at 8.5% CAGR over the next five years.
Source: Celent Banking IT Spending Forecast Model 2023-2028
A major shift is under way. As more combinations of the desired application vendor, supported on the desired cloud in the required country emerge, I am confident that adoption of cloud services in corporate banking will only accelerate. Like a global jigsaw puzzle, the pieces are falling into place.