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Industry Solutions, Financial Services

How the Cloud is Driving Innovation in the Financial Services Industry

By Josh Berman | March 8, 2023

Innovation is a natural value of cloud technology. The cloud itself is an emerging, growing technology, and cloud nativity is increasingly becoming the norm for younger and more forward-thinking companies. This makes the cloud an intuitive fit for companies building emerging solutions and working in growing industries, but innovation happens everywhere, even in some of the biggest and most varied industries on the market - - including the market itself. When it comes to innovation in the financial services industry, there are no opportunities available like those offered by the cloud.

In some ways, innovation in the financial services industry occurs naturally. Every company is reliant to some extent on the financial services industry, and probably partnering with multiple financial services companies to manage its payroll, its benefits enrollments, and its investments. Innovation across the business universe will inevitably occur in step with innovation specific to financial services. With this innovation essentially a foregone conclusion for the industry, established advantages of cloud adoption like scalability, speed of operations, cost reduction, and security should be top of mind for financial services companies.

At C2C Global, a worldwide online community of Google Cloud users where people work together to solve problems and build new solutions, we've seen financial services organizations share that a huge opportunity for migrating to the cloud for their business is better insights from data analytics. Legacy organizations hoping to get the necessary value out of their increasingly massive datasets will struggle to process their analytics using on-prem models. Using AI and ML to augment these insights will be even harder without access to the training available to AI apps and ML models built on the cloud, where more of these models are available, as well as more computing and processing power.

One major financial services provider just opted to migrate to Google Cloud: banking giant Wells Fargo. The bank began its migration recently, announcing the partnership with Google Cloud in 2021, but it's already made big plans, including a customer experience engine using customer metadata to build predictive models that proactively offer personalized suggestions. To prime for the migration, Wells Fargo created sandbox environments for developers to build apps and tools on the cloud. The speed with which the teams were able to build the infrastructure for the customer experience engine on the cloud as opposed to on-prem was immediately apparent. The engine also has access to Google Cloud's vast network of AI and ML data models, which are trained on trillions of petabytes of data.

Many legacy banks may be hesitant to migrate to Google Cloud, or to the cloud at all, due to the inertia processes experience after years on an on-prem architecture. However, migration is not only possible; with the right support, it's a smooth and comfortable process. Google Cloud offers a service called Cloud Customer Care that makes migration manageable and minimizes lift for companies looking to modernize. Data Capital Management (DCM), an innovative financial services company using automation to make the investment process more accessible to consumers, used Cloud Customer Care to manage a complex migration to Google Cloud. The data and computing power required to maintain DCM's AI models made the migration essential. Cloud Customer Care made it easy.

Many of the most exciting innovations in the financial services space are coming from cloud-first retail banking companies. The FinTech space is exploding now that electronic payment is emerging as the default mode of payment for organizations and individuals alike and alternative financial models like cryptocurrency and other forms of decentralized finance are going mainstream. Other innovations like embedded finance and Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) show great potential for growth in the near term. Much of this innovation is being accelerated by the growing prevalence of remote work. Just like innovation in financial services is dependent on the business ecosystem as a whole, FinTech continues to evolve as more and more companies adopt it to modernize.

More than just work has gone remote since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many transactions that individuals and businesses once conducted exclusively face-to-face have now become possible online, from takeout orders to doctors' appointments. Self-service models for banking are emerging as well, quickly and effectively enough that in the coming years, negotiating a mortgage and closing on a house virtually might become as simple as ordering a new pair of shoes online.

These are just a few of the innovation use cases available to financial services organizations hoping to modernize on the cloud. Each, though, demonstrates the clear advantages of cloud adoption for organizations in the industry and beyond. For businesses, scalability, computing power and storage capacity, and speed and cost reduction will make for advantages too attractive to pass up. For individuals, innovation in financial services will mean autonomy, control, and a world of resources at their fingertips. We can afford to migrate. We can't afford to wait.


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