Cloud Computing News #6: Cloud Governance is key to success in the cloud

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This week we focus on cloud governance and cloud competence.

One third of mid-market companies have no IT governance strategy

According to a recent report by Deloitte that surveyed 500 executives in the mid-market and private segments, one-third of executives reported having little to no formal IT governance processes in place. Companies cite a lack of resources (26%), cost (21%), and a lack of C-suite understanding of the importance of IT governance (19%) as the top factors preventing them from creating such policies.

Company leaders are concerned about gaps in IT management oversight and governance that may create new vulnerabilities, the report found. 50% ranked IT governance processes and principles among the top three areas of concern for their business.

The report gives 6 tips for companies to mitigate IT-related risks.

Read more in TechRepublic

Cloud enablement, governance and strategy at Nordcloud

Our Cloud Enablement Services help your organisation to take advantage of the public cloud. We have a number of cloud advisors at Nordcloud, who are on hand to assist our customers with their journey to the cloud.

Read more about our services here or contact us here.

Fastest route to cloud adoption is to form a Cloud Competence Center

Fastest route to cloud adoption – reducing the time it takes you to get your products to market and future proofing your public cloud usage – is to form a Cloud Competence Centre.

For companies to fully realise the benefits the cloud has to offer, and free up valuable developer time, a Cloud Competence Centre is the ideal way to efficiently leverage public cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, or Google.

Nordcloud’s team of expert cloud architects will ensure that your development & operations teams are seamlessly operating as one, providing support for cloud platform development & support for project on-boarding, by focusing on five key areas: Cloud Customer On-boarding, Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Developments, Cloud Enviroment Developments, and Architecture and DevOps Support.

Read more in our blog post

Set up a Cloud Competence Center to address Cloud Governance needs

Strong governance policies are key to cloud success.

The cloud provides a wide set of tools to extract many of the things that required a lot of work in the past. This includes managed databases, managed load balancers, virtual networking etc. At the same time, the Cloud Platform itself has to be managed in some way and certain questions need to be asked. How do we design our AWS Account or Azure Subscription structure? How do we provide and monitor access to these environments? How is networking managed? Should we have a baseline for security components across the environments?

Managing a cloud platform requires ownership, typically seen in a Cloud Owner and a Cloud Steering Group. It also requires a centralised function to onboard cloud customers, do cloud platform development and maintain best practices for cloud deployments.

Setting up a Cloud Competence Centre addresses exactly these needs. When you provide the teams a service that speeds up their work and makes their journey to the cloud easier, there will be less Shadow IT and more consistent, secure and automated environments across all business units.

Read more in our recent blog post

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    Cloud Computing News #3: Cloud strategy is a must-have

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    This week we focus on cloud strategies.

    How and Why Leaders Must Implement Cloud Computing

    “Organizations that do not have a high-level cloud strategy driven by their business strategy will significantly increase their risk of failure and wasted investment,” says David Cearley, vice president and Gartner Fellow.

    According to Gartner, a cloud strategy defines the business outcomes the enterprise seeks, and how to get there. Instead of thinking about it as installing new technologies, adopt a cloud service from an outcome perspective. What do you want the cloud to accomplish, and the enterprise to gain?

    Gartner highlights 4 key points for creating a cloud strategy:

    1. Select the right cloud option: it is vital that technology strategic planners select the option most aligned with the enterprise goals and needs .
    2. Think bimodal: a cloud strategy must address both modes based on the overall business strategy and the degree to which the business is focused on aggressively pursuing digital business.
    3. Categorize cloud service options based on benefits and challenges.
    4. Define guiding principles for the ideal way for cloud adoption to occur within the enterprise.

    Read more in Gartner´s white paper Cloud Strategy Leadership

    Multi-Cloud Strategies Grow

    Wall Street Journal reports on two recent separate surveys on the adoption of cloud services:

    According to a study by Forrester

    • 86% of firms already in the cloud have a multi-cloud strategy.
    • Over half of the respondents said they have been spending between $10 million to $100 million a year on multi-cloud services.
    • Why multi-cloud then? Reasons for that vary from safeguarding data by backing it up in cloud storage across different vendors, to taking advantage of different services offered by competing platforms, or simply as a bargaining for better prices.

    IHS Markit Ltd., a London-based data and analytics research firm found that

    • Midsize to large companies currently use an average of 8 different cloud providers – and this number is expected to rise to 11 within the next two years.
    • Most firms plan to “adjust their cloud strategy” within the next two years, aiming to improve performance.

    Read more in WSJ

    Public cloud infra quarterly revenue has more than doubled in the past 3 years

    According to the cloud market growth data by International Data Corporation (IDC), digital transformation is moving enterprises into the cloud.

    “Public cloud has been growing the most. Digital transformation initiatives such as edge computing and machine learning have been bringing new enterprise workloads into the cloud, driving up the demand for higher density configurations of cores, memory, and storage”, says Kuba Stolarski, research director for Infrastructure Platforms and Technologies at IDC.

    Vendor revenue from sales of infrastructure products for cloud IT grew 45.5% year over year in the first quarter of 2018 (1Q18), reaching $12.9 billion. IDC also raised its forecast for total spending on cloud IT infrastructure in 2018 to $57.2 billion. Of this forecast, the public cloud will account for 67.0% of the total, growing at an annual rate of 23.6%

    Public cloud infrastructure quarterly revenue has more than doubled in the past three years to $9.0 billion in 1Q18, growing 55.8% year over year. Traditional (non-cloud) IT infrastructure revenue grew 22.0% from a year ago.

    Read more in IDC

    Cloud enablement, advisory and strategy at Nordcloud

    Our Cloud Enablement Services help your organisation to take advantage of the public cloud. We have a number of cloud advisors at Nordcloud, who are on hand to assist our customers with their journey to the cloud.

    Read more about our services here or contact us here.

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    Starter for 10: Meet Jonna Iljin, Nordcloud’s Head of Design

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    Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 3)

    UX writers are not omniscient, and it’s best for them to resist the temptation to work in isolation, just as...

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    The main purpose of UX writing is to ensure that the people who use any software have a positive experience.

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      Cloud Computing News #2: Digital transformation in the cloud

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      This week we focus on digital transformation and IT transformation in the cloud.

       

      Campbell’s Drives IT Transformation on Azure

      Campbell Soup Co has partnered with Microsoft to modernize Campbell’s IT platform through the Azure cloud by streamlining workflows and driving efficiencies.

      “Campbell’s migration to Azure will increase our flexibility, agility and resiliency,” said Francisco Fraga, Campbell Soup’s CIO. “Azure will give us the ability to respond quickly to evolving business needs, introduce new solutions, and support our 24/7, always-on architecture. The Microsoft cloud is a proven, reliable and highly secure platform.”

      The Microsoft solution will provide additional benefits, including increased security, compliance and information protection. The move to Azure will allow Campbell to re-architect its data warehousing capabilities to be able to support the company’s data and analytics needs.

      Read the full article here

      Nordcloud is also Microsoft Gold Cloud Partner and Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Services Provider. Accelerate operations by moving IT to the public cloud with our solutions, you can find them here.

       

      Walmart Picked Microsoft To Accelerate Digital Transformation in the cloud

      According to Forbes, Walmart has signed a 5-year strategic partnership with Microsoft to accelerate digital transformation. This is an extension of an existing relationship between Walmart and Microsoft.

      This new agreement will see the companies collaborating on machine learnings, AI and data-platform solutions that span customer-facing projects as well as those aimed at optimizing internal operations.

      3 focus ares of the partnership are:

      1. Digital transformation:  Walmart will have the full range of Microsoft cloud solutions, move hundreds of existing applications to cloud-native architectures, migrate of a significant portion of walmart.com and samsclub.com to Azure to grow and enhance the online customer experience.
      2. Innovation: Walmart will build a global IoT platform on Azure.
      3. Changing way of working at Walmart: Walmart is investing in its people with a phased rollout of Microsoft 365.

      More on Walmart´s digital transformation in Forbes.

      Read also our blog post on how to accelerate digital transformation with culture and cloud here.

      Our data driven solutions that will make an impact on your business you can find here.

       

      Gartner identifies 6 barriers to becoming a digital business

      According to a recent survey by Gartner, companies embracing digital transformation are finding that digital business is not as simple as buying the latest technology but requires changes in systems and culture.

      Gartner lists six barriers that CIOs must overcome to transform their business:

      1. A Change-Resisting Culture. Digital innovation requires collaborative cross-functional and self-directed teams that are not afraid of uncertain outcomes.
      2. Limited Sharing and Collaboration. Issues of ownership and control of processes, information and systems make people reluctant to share their knowledge. But it is not necessary to have everyone on board in the early stages.
      3. The Business Isn’t Ready. When a CIO wants to kick-off a transformation, they find that the business doesn’t have the resources or skills needed.
      4. The Talent Gap. Markus Blosch, research vice president at Gartner, says: “There are two approaches to breach the talent gap — upskill and bimodal.”
      5. The Current Practices Don’t Support the Talent. Highly structured and slow traditional processes don’t work for digital.
      6. Change Isn’t Easy. Gartner advocates adopting a platform-based strategy which supports continuous change.

      Read more about the survey on Gartner Newsroom.

      Read also our blog post on how to support cloud and digital transformation here.

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      Starter for 10: Meet Jonna Iljin, Nordcloud’s Head of Design

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      Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 2)

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        Cloud Computing News #1: Financial institutions need cloud

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        This week we focus on cloud adoption in the Financial Services Industry.

         

        Global study reveals investment banks welcome public cloud adoption for innovation first, not cost reduction

        GFT, the global IT consultancy for the financial services industry revealed in July the results of their global study into cloud adoption across the capital markets functions of over 32 tier 1 and tier 2 investment banks.

        According to the cloud adoption survey:

        • Cloud adoption is on the rise: investment banks are set to increase their use of public cloud by over 50 % within the next five years
        • Main benefits agility and elasticity: 3/4 of investment banks are more excited by cloud computing’s ability to introduce agility and resource elasticity into their businesses than its ability to simply deliver cost reductions (50% of respondents)
        • Where to adopt it first: investment banks are most keen to introduce cloud in development / testing (67%), front office (55%) and risk (43%) departments
        • Some concerns remain:  90% of respondents cite regulation their main concern for cloud adoption, followed by data protection (72%), and security (70%).

        Find out more about this study here

        Read more on why the Financial Services Industry needs to rethink its IT by embracing the cloud in our recent blog here.

         

        Open banking forces banks to focus on consumer centric products and services

        According to a recent study by PwC, the emergence of open banking requires financial institutions to think differently about how they will deliver value to their customers. Open banking is going to transform the way we pay for goods and services and manage our finances.

        Currently, banks are burdened by a product-centered thinking legacy.

        What are the challenges open banking poses for traditional banks?

        • New strategy and business model
        • New customer centric operating model
        • Openness to partnerships or operating as part of a wider ecosystem of providers
        • Data management
        • Technology platform
        • Cybersecurity and risk management

        Open banking revolution will create new partnerships or create joint ventures between banks, fintechs or hyper-scale cloud providers and enablers like Nordcloud to be relevant in the future. In the long term, banks will need to find a new place in the disrupting industry.

        Download the PwC survey here

        Read also in our blog how to build a business case for the cloud in financial services.

         

        Barclays Bank intends to shut down 18 datacenters and go all-in with AWS public cloud services

        According to Barclays, the project is part of a wider push by the banking giant to increase its ability to respond to the ever-changing financial services landscape.

        “With cloud technology, you can scale from zero and get to market very quickly; and get an idea to market in weeks, if not days” said Nick Funnell, development practice lead in Barclays’ chief technology officer application hosting division.

        Barclays is going all-in on the AWS public cloud through adopting the principles of DevOps.

        Read the full article in ComputerWeekly

         

        Follow our blog to get more regular updates on financial institutions and the public cloud!

         

        Cloud computing is on the rise in the financial services – are you ready?

        Download our free white paper Compliance in the cloud: How to embrace the cloud with confidence, where we outline some of the many benefits that the cloud can offer, such as:

        • Lowered costs
        • Scalability and agility
        • Better customer insights
        • Tighter security

        Download whitepaper

         

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        Starter for 10: Meet Jonna Iljin, Nordcloud’s Head of Design

        When people start working with Nordcloud, they generally comment on 2 things. First, how friendly and knowledgeable everyone is. Second,...

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        Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 3)

        UX writers are not omniscient, and it’s best for them to resist the temptation to work in isolation, just as...

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        Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 2)

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          Why the Financial Services Industry needs to rethink its IT by embracing the cloud

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          2018 has witnessed PR failures from some of the major global financial institutions in the UK after the breaching of certain regulatory compliance due to outdated technical architecture and processes which fail to manage risk within these businesses.

          This is not only a huge reputation risk but also highlights the weak areas and slow pace of innovation at these big conglomerates.

          At the same time, these financial institutions are taking a hit on their customer satisfaction and loyalty due to operational glitches/service non-availability. In an industry where the competition and cost of customer acquisition is fairly steep, this is an anti-pattern which should be avoided.

          Regulators and banking associations have significantly improved their messaging. Instead of giving hints and tips, they are coming out in the open and offering solid guidelines & directives for the Financial Services Industry to think about the changing technology landscape, business dynamics (as new customer products & offerings emerge), and increased regulatory overhead which is mandatory to gauge the health of the FSI vertical.

           

          How to improve operation resilience for financial market infrastructure

          Recently, Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) and Bank Of England (BoE) published an article and also kicked off a joint discussion paper (DP) to improve operation resilience for financial market infrastructure in the light of recent incidents. Yet another great example of how regulators are trying to push the boundaries and asking these firms to think ahead and embrace new technology to solve business problem.

          They laid down a few key concepts:

          • Business continuity planning (BCP) to manage operational resilience

          BCP is key to operational resilience, a lot needs to be done (from procuring to testing to maintaining) to have a truly good BC plan. Buying upfront capacity and taking a hit on CapEx is an option but clearly losing out on the opportunity costs (what else can you do if not this?) and also not viable long-term strategy. Public cloud offers amazing business agility and with automation that can manage back-ups, auto-provisioning and disaster recovery across the globe they can significantly improve operational resilience at much lower costs and let you focus on what you’re best at.

          • Board approved tolerances and level of disruption

          This again highlights the holes in the existing IT governance and how an exacerbated IT demands good governance. Cloud not only offers the right tools to give management level visibility and KPI tracking, it also enables smarter governance by automation & effective risk management through infrastructure as code and compliance as code. It’s important to re-organise, up-skill, and operate with a new governance model to set tolerances and manage them better.

          • Planning for failures

          This is a great point. Financial institutions often plan for service operations and not really for failures. This requires significant scaling capabilities along with full infrastructure for IT teams to perform a series of non-functional tests before they can ship their products to the market. Cloud is perfectly suited to offer the on-demand scalability along with tools that boost staff productivity and improve code quality through DevOps process improvement.

           

          Public cloud providers can solve operational, technology and security issues

          We think it’s a great start and a perfect way to start discussions within the FSI and to help them re-focus on operational challenges. More importantly, it will help with what they want to do today, tomorrow and next year to make them profitable.

          It’s clear that financial institutions are great at creating financial products and public cloud providers are great at solving operational, technology, security issues as they have the skills and the resources to do so. It’s important that financial institutions start off-loading these non-core functions and look for partnerships or create joint ventures with hyper-scale cloud providers and enablers like Nordcloud to be relevant in the future.

           

          Cloud computing is on the rise in the financial services – are you ready?

          Download our free white paper Compliance in the cloud: How to embrace the cloud with confidence, where we outline some of the many benefits that the cloud can offer, such as:

          • Lowered costs
          • Scalability and agility
          • Better customer insights
          • Tighter security

          Download white paper

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          Starter for 10: Meet Jonna Iljin, Nordcloud’s Head of Design

          When people start working with Nordcloud, they generally comment on 2 things. First, how friendly and knowledgeable everyone is. Second,...

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          Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 3)

          UX writers are not omniscient, and it’s best for them to resist the temptation to work in isolation, just as...

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          Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 2)

          The main purpose of UX writing is to ensure that the people who use any software have a positive experience.

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            Cloud buying guide: infra optimisation

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            We have been fine tuning our IT purchasing over the past decade to outsourcing deals. Buying cloud is, on the surface, very similar, but also very different when you take a deep dive into it.

            In outsourcing deals, your aim is to lower the cost per VM and include as many services and responsibilities as possible in that price. In cloud, prices and services are fixed and there is little room for negotiation. But cost per VM is just the starting point for understanding if you save or lose money in cloud. Optimising the TCO in cloud is very different from optimising an on-prem or outsourcing deal.

            Here are a few things to think about…

            Commitment –You cannot compare 5 years of on-prem TCO with cloud on-demand prices. In cloud, the cost difference between on-demand prices and 1-year commitment (Reserved Instances as an example) can be over 50%. This will significantly reduce your costs, but do not expect to have 100% of your consumption under RIs. Three year RIs are also not usually optimal because the on-demand prices will lower every year, so optimal RI usage needs careful analysing and planning.

            Right instance type – On the other end of the spectrum from RIs, you have spot and billed by second instances. Spot instances are a very cost-efficient way to execute workloads like most batch and big data queries. The downside is that you can lose spot instances with a minutes warning. You, therefore, need a mechanism to stop and continue work. With a bit of overallocation, you can run enterprise workloads without risk and with even lower cost than with RIs.

            License cost saving -There are two ways to reduce your software license costs in cloud. You can convert most of your commercial licenses to free versions in the cloud but that requires heavier migration and the business case would need to be calculated.

            Cloud architecture can also enable other types of license reduction. Consider your typical mission critical Active-Active + DR setup. You have 3 licenses and usually, the most expensive license type which allows clustering. In cloud, you can run a second site both as a mirror site and a DR site, reducing your license cost by 30-50%.

            Operation savings – cloud is, by default, software-defined infrastructure. This means all changes can be done quickly and enables them to be highly automated. Changes that take hours or days in traditional infra take seconds in the cloud. All this mean dramatically reduced operations cost (and increased speed).

            Price reductions – all cloud vendors lower their prices on a constant basis. While there is no guarantee if that will continue to happen in the future and how much the prices are lowered, history will give a good indication. You need to calculate a 3-5 year average cost and compare that to the fixed cost on-prem solution.

            Most organisations are used to looking at a per VM, per month cost. This is only the starting point for your cloud TCO, but understanding cloud TCO is an important skill for anybody making infra decisions. Nordcloud can help you understand more about TCO and instances with an in-depth meeting from one of our cloud experts, contact us here.

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            UX writers are not omniscient, and it’s best for them to resist the temptation to work in isolation, just as...

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            Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 2)

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              How hybrid do you need to be?

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              Everybody appreciates the agility and elasticity of the public cloud, however, there are also large amounts of legacy apps that simply don’t move easily to the public cloud. This means that up until now, the Hybrid Cloud choir has been singing their ‘happily ever after’ song.

              Unfortunately, this hybrid cloud choir has largely become led by the vendors who have the most to lose and use this as a way to stall things. So let’s break down what you actually need and what could be seen as a colossal waste of time and money.

              The good

              These activities will benefit you in the long-term

              • Common security and governance framework. Regardless of the clouds you use, you should enforce the same security and governance principles.
              • Every cloud is a silo so if you want to have an end to end understanding of your IT, you need a tool that monitors across all clouds. That also goes for all core ITBM tools.
              • A light portal will help end users by collecting the different clouds under one interface and access control. But keep it light as most cloud usage is through automated API calls, not through a manual portal.
              • Any activity that gets your apps to run on software-defined infra, including containers, network virtualization etc.

              The bad

              • Any investment around workload movement between clouds (beyond virtualising and using containers) can waste you both money and time. Legacy app workload movement between clouds is not really achievable in the first place and you need to consider what is the real benefit (and your appetite to invest) of the ability to move between clouds. You’re much better off having a multi-cloud procurement approach where the threat of other clouds keeps the prices in check. You can then implement any technical cloud brokerage, workload movement solution etc.
              • Private cloud – yes it would be wonderful to have the same experience with ‘on-prem’ that you have in public clouds, but the cost of achieving this is just not worth it, especially considering that you have 15% less apps needing it every year. AWS and Azure implement hundreds of new services every year. How would you keep up with that in your own private cloud?
              • Inertia is probably the worst consequence of a hybrid strategy. Any investment in hybrid technologies is money off your budget which could be used to innovate, by modernising and building new apps. In short, money that is actually used to improve business. Secondly, any investment needs usage and you urgently need to prove that this is a good investment leading to suboptimal workload placement. Thirdly, you have a large, complex platform that is not keeping up with the demand for new services, needs constant upgrades and doesn’t scale when needed.

              The bottom line of hybrid cloud

              At the end of the day, this is all about focus. Hybrid cloud strategy means that you invest into 3 areas – implementing and improving your private cloud, your cloud brokerage platform, and increasing your usage of public clouds. How much more could you achieve with the money if you just focus on one of them?

              Cloud is moving forward so fast that most hybrid cloud platforms and tools will probably be outdated before you get them up and running. Choose carefully what you need as core features, and plug into the knowledge of a company like Nordcloud who can help you to choose the right tools whilst also keeping them updated.

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              Starter for 10: Meet Jonna Iljin, Nordcloud’s Head of Design

              When people start working with Nordcloud, they generally comment on 2 things. First, how friendly and knowledgeable everyone is. Second,...

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              Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 3)

              UX writers are not omniscient, and it’s best for them to resist the temptation to work in isolation, just as...

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              Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 2)

              The main purpose of UX writing is to ensure that the people who use any software have a positive experience.

              Get in Touch

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                “SAAS over PAAS over IAAS over my own data centre” – some thoughts

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                This is a headline from a quote which came from my friend, a C-level executive in one of the biggest corporations in Finland. You might wonder why, as a representative of a company that doesn’t particularly preach cloud*, and doesn’t provide a full set of services for managing key SaaS components like ERPs or CRMs, I would bring up the topic.

                Naturally, I want to talk about the role of custom-built software running on PaaS. I agree that when SaaS does the trick, you should choose it over a custom PaaS-application.

                Let’s start with the easy part: Why is PaaS superior to IaaS?

                There are a number of reasons:

                • Capacity is dirt cheap
                • Labour is expensive
                • Capacity is getting cheaper rapidly
                • Labour costs are increasing.

                You should focus on saving labour, and this is fundamentally what using PaaS means. Your software development projects will ultimately end up costing less. Finding the cheapest possible capacity should save you a couple of hundred euros/pounds/dollars per month. On the other hand, finding the most efficient development platform saves you months in development costs and crucially, in time to market.

                You might find this irrelevant if you want to use SaaS for everything, but unfortunately, you can’t. There might be a service for each of your needs, but how are you going to win overall in the marketplace?

                Every company today runs their business processes digitally. When you use SaaS, you’re essentially using the process the vendor has defined, which in a lot of cases are world-class. Using these processes ensures you’re competitive, but by definition, they are not unique and you can’t build competitive advantage with them. When you look at your strategy and understand how are you going to be different from your competitors, you’ll understand when and where you’re going to need PaaS.

                For me, this makes PaaS somewhat superior to SaaS. The things we develop run at the core of our customers’ strategy. We make a real impact. Ultimately, a partner such as Nordcloud will help you win.

                There’s enough market demand with the believers to spend time on educating the non-believers (!)

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                Starter for 10: Meet Jonna Iljin, Nordcloud’s Head of Design

                When people start working with Nordcloud, they generally comment on 2 things. First, how friendly and knowledgeable everyone is. Second,...

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                Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 3)

                UX writers are not omniscient, and it’s best for them to resist the temptation to work in isolation, just as...

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                Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 2)

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                  How to accelerate digital transformation with culture, APIs, and cloud

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                  Digital transformation is constantly changing the way businesses and consumers interact with each other. In the simplest scenario, digitalisation is implemented by mapping a “physical” information process to a digital counterpart, aiming to produce the service more quickly and at a lower cost to customers. However, the greatest opportunity for using digitalisation is in business innovations that could disrupt the market. This may lead to a significant competitive advantage and should be the main objective for all companies going digital.

                  We will briefly explain how to unleash the potential of digital transformation for your business, enabling you to cut costs and lead times for your future innovation projects.

                  Develop a culture of experimentation

                  To begin harnessing the benefits of digital business opportunities, your company will need to set up an innovation process including idea gathering, validation and creation of prototypes. The customer should be involved with the innovation process to enable constant feedback and validation. Doing so leads to continuous refinement of the product and a better match with customer expectations. Since the input from the market may be constantly shifting the final objective of the project, agile methodologies of software development should be chosen over waterfall models.

                  The ability to validate concepts, as well as dismiss those that do not resonate with your customers, will quickly maximize the number of ideas that can be experimented with, and therefore increase the probability of focusing on initiatives that are more likely to succeed. Using this method of working will put your business in a competitive position in relation to your competitors.

                  An example of this culture can be taken from the gaming industry, where Supercell dismissed fourteen potential projects in the process of creating its four blockbuster games. Only a small proportion of the projects started were ultimately developed into a finished product and launched to the public.

                  APIfy your business to accelerate innovation

                  To accelerate digital innovation, ensure that your internal business applications and processes are available externally via an easy to use but secure API. Loose coupling of your internal business data with external customer-facing applications reduces costs and accelerates innovation by preventing the need to repeatedly connect the source application to your external application to update recent changes.

                  Not only do APIs improve productivity for creating new applications, but they may also enable customer, community or partner-driven application development initiatives, allowing third parties to build innovative applications on top of your own data. These third-party applications can lead to improved sales of your core offering and better customer satisfaction with minimal investments. In addition to the improved sales of your core offering, APIs may open new business opportunities via monetization of the data provided by the APIs.

                  In the context of APIs, remember that developers are your customers. For successful API adoption, optimal developer experience, i.e. capability to find, understand and utilize the API, is crucial.

                  Focus on value-adding work with the cloud

                  Modern cloud platforms offer infrastructure (as a service) but also building blocks (Platform as a Service) that enable developers to focus on the development of the actual service, whilst leaving the infrastructure work to the cloud provider.

                  In addition to traditional IT services such as storage and databases, cloud platforms also provide a large portfolio of more sophisticated services, including Internet of Things, data processing, and analysis; all at the click of a button. Such platforms enable development of high-end data-intensive solutions, with minimal up-front investment or commitment, minimal development effort and minimal delays.

                  Cloud platforms are the perfect environment in which to develop and maintain applications from concept to production, as they offer both the flexibility required in the prototyping phase and the scalability and durability required by production systems.

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                    How to build a business case for the cloud in financial services

                    CATEGORIES

                    Blog

                    The financial services sector is well known for its caution surrounding technological change, due to its history of regulations, legacy and money handling. However, with constant pressure on IT budgets and the need for digital innovation, financial services firms can no longer ignore the benefits the public cloud have to offer.

                    In a recent survey, 74 percent of banks report that the cloud will become a major factor in the industry within the next five years. Why? Because the cloud offers the financial services a cheaper, more scalable and agile way to improve their business operations without having to compromise security or compliance.

                    In this blog post, we’ll discuss the business case for moving your financial business to the cloud. Here are four benefits that may help solidify your decision to embrace digital transformation:

                    1. Cost Reductions:

                    In today’s unsteady economy, financial services are not just looking for ways to cope with cost pressures; they’re looking to invest in innovative technology to help them:

                    • Compete with FinTech insurgents
                    • Improve operational efficiency
                    • Accelerate modelling and analysis
                    • Serve customers better
                    • Differentiate themselves in the market with innovative services

                    It’s no secret that well-architected environments in the cloud are a cheaper alternative to co-location or on-premise solutions. In fact, 88 percent of financial institutions believe that the reduction in TCO (total cost of ownership) is the biggest benefit of a cloud-based infrastructure. By embracing the cloud, money that was once spent on capital infrastructure and keeping servers cool can instead be used to focus on operations and opportunities that matter to individual businesses and their customers.

                     

                    2. Integrated Security:

                    Although traditional data centres offer businesses a physical sense of security, they aren’t always the best long-term or most economic solution. For financial services that are planning on scaling their business and using new, innovative technologies, moving some of your infrastructure to the cloud is almost inevitable.

                    It’s important to note that this move does not make your data less secure. Despite the security myth surrounding cloud technology, your sensitive information will remain safe on the cloud, providing your financial business has a clear and strictly implemented security policy. Your level of security also depends on your cloud service provider.

                    Here are some examples of security features your provider can offer:

                    • Access control that allows you to choose who in your business can, or cannot, access sensitive data. For instance, Azure Active Directory helps ensure that only authorised individuals can access your applications, environments and data.
                    • Behaviour analytics that can detect threats and anomalies and report any unusual behaviour or unauthorised access.
                    • Integrated security across all of your business’ applications, meaning that employees are safe to work from anywhere.
                    • Continuous monitoring of your servers, applications and networks to detect threats. Businesses also have the option to deploy third-party security solutions within their cloud environment, such as firewalls and anti-malware.
                    • Physical security. For example, Azure’s regional data centres include fencing, CCTV and security teams.
                    • Shared security with your cloud service provider. In order to keep your data as secure as possible, your business needs to take responsibility for your own security practices, in regards to your applications and employees.

                    3. Quick & Economic Scalability:

                    Growth is important to all businesses, particularly when you’re handling new customers and data on a daily basis. With the cloud, companies can scale and deploy releases quickly and continuously (either automatically or manually) according to demand, or reduce resources if needed. This means that you only need to pay for the platforms that you actively use across your business or IT infrastructure.

                    For example, an insurance firm may need to run complex risk models to respond to market changes. Doing these calculations in the cloud lets them access hundreds or even thousands of processors to complete the modelling quickly. Yet, this performance isn’t required all the time so delivering this kind of high-performance computing cluster in-house is prohibitively expensive.

                    4. Big Data, automation, and analytics:

                    Storing large amounts of data isn’t much use if you don’t know how to handle it. Unlike traditional storage solutions, the cloud delivers a better, cheaper and more personable approach to big data and analytics. The intelligent insights you can harness allow you to deliver the best internal and customer engagement actions for your business.

                    Big data and integrated customer relationship management tools can allow you to:

                    • Gain a 360-degree view of customer information and profiles. This can allow financial services to gain a better insight into customer trends and risks, as well as offer an opportunity to improve customer services.
                    • Analyse transactions and operations quickly without having to manually look through masses of documents and memos. Ultimately, this allows the financial services to gain better insight into market trends, provide better customer service and help to automate some time-consuming workloads.
                    • Access structured and unstructured data quickly across one integrated platform. Financial services are able to analyse this data to gain insights into regulatory risks across all disparate sources.

                    Embracing Change

                    Due to the regulations surrounding financial institutions, these organisations have historically been slower at adopting the cloud than other verticals.

                    However, the competition is not going away. The financial services industry is being challenged by more digitally focused banks that are able to offer their services quicker and more efficiently. This is because they have built their infrastructure in the cloud.

                    Using an experienced partner can help you to achieve the maximum benefits the cloud has to offer. So, if your financial business is ready to make the move to the cloud, contact us here. We’d love to hear from you.

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                    Let’s discuss how we can help with your cloud journey. Our experts are standing by to talk about your migration, modernisation, development and skills challenges.