Feature: What is driving businesses to the cloud?
Consultant Grant Gevers discusses the key reasons behind why businesses need to look to the cloud for digital solutions.
What is driving enterprises to the cloud?
John F Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” This is especially true for business IT, with many businesses that neglect newer technologies often facing internal process inefficiencies and competitive disadvantages.
Cloud computing is one of these technologies. It has gained traction with consumers in the past decade, but businesses are only now beginning to realise the impact adoption can have. But what are the key factors that are driving this realisation?
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For SMEs, the drivers often include a need for connectivity, the desire to improve operations and data flexibility.
It’s estimated that in 2020 there will be over five billion internet users, with over half of these accessing the internet through a smartphone or handheld device. The increased connectivity between devices because of platforms like the cloud means that we can bring the three silos of work, home and our social interests into one seamless experience.
Crucially, it also means that staff working out of office are able to remotely update a company’s systems. For example, a sales manager could update a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) or customer relationship management (CRM) software with new customer or supplier data. This ensures that information is kept up to date so there is a reduced risk of lost data.
Efficiency, or lack thereof, is an extremely common cloud driver for businesses. The Cloud Enterprise Report found that 71 per cent of businesses worldwide had employed the cloud to improve their employee efficiency. In fact, it’s recently been revealed that the government now also uses cloud services for the same reason and is used for tasks such as tax administration.
Improving IT agility and efficiency offers various other benefits including business growth. In 2015, more than half of the enterprises surveyed reported an increased growth since adopting cloud technologies.
This isn’t a complete surprise. The IDC predicts that in 2018, 70 per cent of a business’s total output will be held back because of out-dated business models and legacy technology.
This is because first-generation business applications operate as individual processing systems that do not exchange data or interact with any of the company’s other data systems. In today’s highly connected business world, this type of system prevents businesses from collecting accurate, real-time enterprise information that can be used to improve its operations.
Employing cloud-based software means businesses can provide a fully-hosted, managed service model that migrates all of a business’s critical data and applications to the cloud, which can then be delivered through a desktop session.
By choosing a third party to host key applications such as ERP and CRM systems, businesses can eliminate concerns over data backups and hardware failure and ensure flexibility. Businesses can also scale up and down their software depending on business needs, meaning that cloud-based software provides no technology constraints on growth.
Instead of resisting the shift to the cloud, businesses should look to the right supplier to guide them in choosing the right applications for their business model.
Mambu and the UAE’s digital banking journey
Miljan Stamenkovic enjoys the dynamic and constantly evolving world of fintech banking. In his current role as General Manager for MENA for Mambu, Stamenkovic sees opportunity in abundance.
“When I joined Mambu with my team in 2019, we came with the fintech, entrepreneurial mindset and DNA to build and grow Mambu’s business in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. Before 2019, the region used to remind me of a desert, at least in terms of cloud service providers and cloud adoption. But this past year has been a wave of progress.” In November 2020, Mambu opened a new office in Abu Dhabi Global Market, as the region has quickly become a key market for Mambu.
He explains, “There are data protection laws. There are cybersecurity regulations and most importantly, a variety of major tier one cloud service providers that are available. But what particularly excites me here at Mambu is the opportunity to rethink business models together with our clients and really bring them to life. This is where I saw a great fit with Mambu and its composable philosophy.”
Creating a neobank and challenger bank ecosystem has been his ultimate goal. “In my opinion, this actually creates a unique opportunity to partner with some of the best fintechs in the region and build the region’s first and true challenger and neobanks.”
Stamenkovic credits Mambu’s partnership with Banque Saudi Fransi (BSF) for the success that has driven the bank forward in the region. “When I think about all the challenger and neobanks that have grown massively over the past decade,there is one common denominator for all these new initiatives. I would say they really operate like a tech company rather than a bank. - BSF is leading this approach in Saudi Arabia.”
He continues, “This brings a competitive advantage for tech companies. These platforms are each managed individually but can be swapped in and out. And when put together, they actually form the backbone of a company's technology capability. This is why tech companies and banks like BSF actually can get products to the market a hundred times faster than their more incumbent peers.”
The implementation, he stresses, is an evolving process, where each component is trialled and checked and swapped in and out according to its effectiveness. But it’s down to the dynamism of the team on the project to initiate these changes. “As critical as technology is to digital transformation, the DNA of people working on these initiatives is the key to success. At BSF they have a true startup and entrepreneurial mentality.”
He explains that Mambu is helping BSF deliver an entire new banking experience while providing soft core banking services hosted, in this case in Saudi Arabia. “Mambu sits at the heart of BSF's new challenger bank and its technology stack. So, this actually enables BSF to take an entirely cloud native approach, having Mambu at the centre of its ‘Digital Engine’.”
Stamenkovic points out, “Mambu enables banking like a modern tech company. Banks used to be built to last, but today they need to be built to change. And that's what we're enabling here.”