Financial Cloud Summit 2024: A Reflection on the 2023 Conference

On March 2nd, 2023, Finextra Research hosted its inaugural Financial Cloud Summit at King’s Place in London. The event brought together more than 200 technology decision-makers to explore the role of cloud technology in the financial services industry and to address the challenges and opportunities it presents. The summit featured a lineup of expert speakers who shared insights and actionable solutions to expedite the cloud migration process.

One of the key themes that dominated the discussions at the 2023 Financial Cloud Summit was the definition of a successful cloud strategy, migration, and optimization. The conference opened with a thought-provoking keynote by Piers Linney, the former Dragons’ Den dragon and CEO of Moblox. Linney emphasized the need to dispel «FUD» — fear, uncertainty, and doubt surrounding the adoption of cloud technology in finance. He questioned whether cloud solutions are secure, cost-effective, and feasible for financial institutions and urged attendees to embrace change in an era of exponential transformation.

Linney highlighted that the pace of change in the financial industry is no longer linear but exponential. Customers now play a pivotal role in shaping banks’ technological choices, emphasizing that technology should empower financial institutions rather than restrict them. He stressed that successful utilization of cloud technology will be a differentiating factor in the competitive landscape, and that a well-considered cloud strategy will help institutions gain a competitive advantage. However, he also cautioned that there’s no defined endpoint for a software development project, underlining the importance of continuous adaptation.

The question of whether financial institutions need cloud technology was another critical point of discussion. Avinash Kumar, the product director at Temenos Banking Cloud, referred to a recent study that revealed 72% of IT bank executives believe that cloud technology supports their organization’s business priorities. Kumar emphasized that the cloud enables differentiation, facilitates the introduction of unique propositions in the market, and combats commoditization. He also pointed out that cloud adoption contributes to predictable costs and reduced total cost of ownership.

Kumar asserted, «Cloud and SaaS sit at the heart of any new banking model.» To succeed, banks must increase their revenue streams by embracing open technology that ensures security, scalability, and resilience.

Addressing the crucial issue of security in the cloud, a panel led by experts Stewart Davies, global SaaS commercial director at Temenos, and Andy Sturrock, CTO at Atom Bank, delved into how companies align their partners with their cloud strategies while prioritizing security. Moderated by Finextra reporter Niamh Curran, the panel discussed the complexities of outsourcing data to the cloud and how trust can be maintained with cloud providers.

Davies explained that trust-building with cloud providers is a gradual process that considers multiple factors. Sturrock added that while entrusting data to another organization involves risks, there are measures in place to establish confidence. At Atom Bank, for instance, they maintain encryption keys for all aspects, providing a level of assurance.

Sturrock elaborated, «Security in the cloud operates differently from the old days with external firewalls. It involves certificates and authentication between various components, which, when implemented correctly, can make cloud security as robust as traditional systems.»

The 2023 Financial Cloud Summit shed light on the evolving landscape of cloud adoption in the financial industry, emphasizing the need for well-defined strategies, the benefits of cloud technology, and the importance of maintaining security in an increasingly interconnected world.

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