The term ‘cloud’ has become the buzzword for organisations interested in simplifying and transforming technology over the past several years. ‘The cloud’ is used to describe a process or system of sharing technological resources to gain scale, efficiencies and reduce cost – or more simply put, using a network of computers to manage and process information, rather than a single computer or machine.
Cloud adoption rates have been growing over the past several years in virtually every industry, in every part of the world. Platform provider Rightscale’s 2016 State of the Cloud Report indicated no less than 95% of companies surveyed were utilising some form of the cloud, with 18% using only public cloud, 6 % using only private cloud, and 71% using both. Clearly, the cloud has become the ‘new normal’ in how organisations consume technology.
Why the mass migration to the cloud? What appetite do treasurers have for the cloud? Are all clouds created equal?
Treasurers worldwide are looking for technology which simplifies and streamlines key department functions. For this reason, cloud adoption rates have been steadily growing within treasury departments. Treasurers prefer the cloud for several reasons, the most important being:
- Minimal internal treasury and IT support required for setup and maintenance.
- The option of faster, more standardised implementations.
- Significantly lower overall total cost of ownership.
- Minimal upgrade effort and cost.
The endeavour of installing hardware and software is viewed by treasurers as too costly, resource-intensive and as leading to a longer overall implementation timeline. The costs and resources associated with upgrading are also a major reason for treasurers to seek the cloud. The cloud upgrade process is seamless; through an automated and vendor managed upgrade delivery process, which has minimal operational interruption to the client and comes at no additional cost.
Treasurers are moving toward either private or public cloud deployments, but there isn’t a ‘one-size fits all’ cloud preference among treasurers. A private, single tenant cloud gives the user greater control of the data, application ownership, and greater ability for customisation. A public, multi-tenant cloud, offers a lower overall cost of ownership, greater standardisation, and generally fastest implementation. Some treasurers view private cloud environments as more secure than shared, public cloud environments; others are comfortable with recent developments in public cloud security.
Cloud and innovation within treasury
How, and to what extent does the cloud really help treasury departments innovate and improve?
By relying on vendors to manage the technological deployment of the solution, companies can focus instead on other important initiatives. The cloud allows treasurers to move further away from operational, non-value added tasks such as those related to the maintenance of technology (implementing, upgrading, supporting), to more analytical and strategic initiatives. In this way, the cloud has indeed allowed treasurers to do more, and more importantly, more with less.
Frequent and seamless updates and enhancement of the technology allows treasurers to utilise the latest functionality without the need for a significant upgrade process. This is key, because it allows treasurers to consume new and innovative technologies as quickly and easily as possible. The cloud facilitates best practices and innovation within treasury by enabling treasurers to redeploy resources to value-added functions and by providing automated delivery of new, innovative functionality, which empowers individual treasury users to do more.
Staying ahead of the cloud curve
Cloud adoption rates will continue to increase over the next few years. As treasurers evaluate treasury technology, they will look for traditional functionality differentiators within products and solutions, as they always have, but they will also look for cloud differentiators.
Treasurers will continue to look to treasury technology providers and banks to do more to simplify and streamline department functions through the cloud, in order for treasurers to add value – beyond the purely operational – to the organisation. Corporate treasurers should demand that vendors in the treasury technology space stay ahead of the cloud curve, by providing the most secure, functionally powerful and innovative cloud solutions.
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