CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | Contributed Content, Singapore

Bringing Asia’s Financial Services Industry to the Cloud

IT has suffered from an image problem across much of the financial services world.

It is often seen as expensive and difficult to manage, with opinions reinforced by experiences of buying technology that has not delivered expected value and ROI. But according to enterprise cloud computing company, Salesforce.com, this doesn’t have to be the case.

The Financial Services Industry Looks to Reinvent Itself with the Cloud

On the back of the last financial crisis, the financial services industry is being forced to reinvent itself into a more efficient and agile industry. Now institutions in wealth management, capital markets, banking, and other business segments are looking to enterprise cloud solutions to help shift computing burdens from their data centres into the cloud.

“With enterprise cloud computing, businesses of any size get access to massive computing power, sophisticated computer programmes, and the best data security money can buy on a simple pay-as-yougo model without any of the headaches of traditional IT,” explains Renny Monaghan, Senior Director of Financial Services, Salesforce.com.

Currently, over 1,600 global financial services customers put their trust in the Salesforce. com cloud-based model with many of these organisations based in Asia.

Salesforce.com’s financial services customers in Asia include the likes of Japan Post, Ffreedom Financial Planners, Bajaj Auto Finance, Siam Commercial Bank, Prudential Vietnam, and Commonwealth Bank Australia.

Multi-tenancy is the key

Multi-tenancy is a fundamental technology value of cloud computing. Similar to Facebook and Google, multi-tenancy means that all customers run off the same system, where they experience the benefits of a shared system. It also ensures that Salesforce customers do not have to rebuild their customizations or integrations every time the service is upgraded to the next version.

“Think of multi-tenancy like an office building where tenants share all the infrastructure such as the elevator, power and water services. Each has their own offices to serve their distinct purposes,” explains Monaghan. “But the benefit is that they share the same infrastructure. They can upgrade the elevators and make it high speed and everybody can benefit.”

Multi-tenancy provides instant capacity for growth, on-demand. Customers need not re-architect their systems, they just add on more users.

Is cloud computing safe?

Security of data and the potential risk of data loss is probably one of the biggest concerns the financial services industry has when it comes to considering cloud computing. But according to IDC Financial Insights analyst, Michael Araneta: “As banks take on the newer models of IT delivery they can rely on the best practices they have been using for outsourcing. The principles are the same.”

In fact, enterprise cloud computing can actually reduce the major IT security risks of misconfiguration, informal or uncoordinated tools and procedures, and error or abuse by in-house staff. Organisations are coming to recognize that the security and operational assurance of their cloud services are better than they can cost-effectively provide for their own locally operated facilities.

“At Salesforce.com, because security is a top priority for us, all of our customers benefit from the diverse requirements of our 87,200+ customers, and these include large financial institutions and government organisations,” adds Monaghan.

Asia’s financial services leaders head to the cloud (no matter what their size)

Let’s take a quick look at 2 different-sized organisations in Asia who use enterprise cloud computing to streamline their business processes and improve productivity.

Large – The Japan Post Network

The Japan Post Network has 24,000 post offices nationwide and is Japan’s largest bank, with 100+ million clients. Recently privatised, Japan Post needed a new technology platform to streamline business processes. It also had to support 6+ million insurance policies for Japan Post Insurance and 14 billion mail packages annually for Japan Post Service.

The solution: Japan Post chose the Force.com cloud platform for its ability to adapt to their business. Japan Post then built 15 custom apps for 75,000 users at 24,000 post offices on this cloud platform.

“We developed a system that fully met our cost and functionality needs in 2 months; Force.com was the only way we could accomplish this,” said Japan Post management.

Small – Ffreedom Financial Planners

Ffreedom Financial Planners is India’s upcoming financial institution. The company was growing quickly, and they needed a solution that could provide scalability and flexibility.

The solution: Combining elements of Sales Cloud and customisation based on the Force.com Enterprise Edition Ffreedom has created its own business system it calls “Advisory Factory”.

“Without Salesforce we wouldn’t have the business we have today. The model would have been different and the business smaller because we wouldn’t have been able to afford the technology, or the time to customize it.,” says Sumeet Vaid, founder and CEO, Ffreedom Financial Planners

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