The concept of Cloud is now firmly established among corporate decision-makers. But, rewind ten years, and the mere mention of Cloud would have been met with a furrowed brow. Times have changed, and for many, the adoption process went from never, to maybe, too – we need it now.
This main catalyst is that today’s world needs a new approach. For companies trading in complex markets like commodities, price fluctuations, increasing regulation and geopolitical uncertainty are the new normal. Add in increasing operational intricacy and an explosion in structured and unstructured data volumes, and it’s clear that a technology that enables precise risk management, scalability and data-enriched transparency is a must.
For firms exposed to these markets, the possibility of Cloud has largely been dictated by the availability – or, until now, the unavailability – of solutions that offer the rich functionality they need.
Ready for the enterprise
Now, a truly enterprise-level trading, treasury and risk management cloud solution exists. Breaking down the siloes between these functions will profoundly transform the way companies respond to customers, manage risks and run their business.
A Cloud solution means less hardware to manage, freedom for IT teams to focus on value-added projects and the ability to match operating costs with business demands in a much more agile way. It means a platform that’s built to address today’s security challenges, with Cloud operations typically offering much more robust, expert security than on-premise installations.
But the transformation goes much deeper. With a cloud solution that combines exceptionally rich functionality with vast, almost unlimited, computing power and extreme flexibility, traders and risk management departments are empowered. For the first time, the infrastructure can scale to meet peak demand, and scale back again. Firms have the resources to complete analysis of, and report on, previously unimaginable volumes of data, faster, to understand current VaR or P&L, without relying on an overnight run based on yesterday’s positions. They’re able to manage volatility in real-time. And they’re able to act on accurate real-time views of risk and take full advantage of the opportunities presented. Actions that were simply a pipe dream until recently.
A springboard to the future
From a finance perspective, Cloud provides the springboard to shape how the business operates, by providing accurate data to the Board to influence decision-making – data that has for too long been largely unavailable. This enables firms to develop strategies and carve out competitive advantages without being constrained by long lead times, or the costs and bureaucracy required to scale up their infrastructure and support capabilities. For the first time, CFOs can rely on the data they receive to get an accurate picture of cash flows and liquidity when it’s needed. Treasurers can shift their focus towards the annual capital allocation process, earnings and capital at risk. All of this makes it a far more strategic function.
Ultimately, the need for agility, scalability, security and flexibility will only be met through Cloud deployments. In the near future, on-premise alternatives will struggle to deliver what a modern firm needs, and in a very short time, companies will have to search far and wide for reasons not to move to the Cloud.
By John E. O’Malley, CEO, Openlink, in conversation with Marco Scherer, Head of IT, Uniper