4 Tips for Navigating Cloud Transformation with a Third-Party Partner
Financial services companies are ready to embrace the cloud and its many benefits, from improved collaboration to a leaner IT balance sheet. But many don’t know where to begin. Or, they lack an understanding of the cloud’s complexity.
But with a knowledgeable third-party partner in your corner, cloud transformation is much easier to navigate. While you provide the strategic vision, the third party will handle the ins and outs—from security to support—of your cloud transformation journey.
Here are four tips for navigating cloud transformation with a third-party partner by your side.
1. Choose the right partner.
When selecting a partner to guide your cloud transformation, look for a provider that offers deep expertise, around-the-cloud support, and economies of scale. Choose a partner that has supported cloud transformation for financial clients for many years. ECI, for instance, has a secure coding framework already in place and knows the fine print of compliance. This helps our customers get out of the gate quickly.
In financial services and capital markets, though, compliance can wax and wane, and requirements can evolve over time. That’s why it is essential to monitor compliance on an ongoing basis. One mistake could expose data, costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars at the end of the year. As your partner, ECI runs scripts every night to ensure compliance and cost optimization. If someone hasn’t touched a storage box for 90 days, for instance, we will tell you—and you could save thousands by moving it to an archive.
Around-the-clock support is also crucial. Between global markets and cryptocurrencies, investors are trading all the time. Choose a vendor that is set up to provide global support 24x7x365. You know how it goes: problems never seem to arise when your IT staff is actually in the office. Instead, they happen at 3 a.m. on Christmas Eve. Will your partner have you covered?
2. Consolidate vendors
It’s also important to select a provider that has both breadth and depth. Every link in the chain represents its own risk and investment. Opt for a partner that can manage your network, oversee cybersecurity, and handle the cloud, so that there are fewer links in the chain that could break. If you have one vendor handling the cloud and another handling remote connectivity, who will respond to a disruption? Will there simply be finger-pointing between the two? If one vendor handles both, there’s no room for conflict.
Having a single provider is also more cost-effective. For example, ECI buys technologies in bulk for 30,000 users, which breeds economies of scale. If you were to buy the same technologies on your own, you’ll likely pay double.
3. Decide what to move to the cloud.
Company leaders often think they need to move everything to the cloud at once. But in the early stages of your cloud transformation, a hybrid approach is generally the way to go. Ask your partner to craft a roadmap for the use of private and/or public cloud services based on industry best practices and operational priorities.
Prioritize the workloads you’ll migrate to the cloud and start small. Oftentimes, the best first step is moving a single essential workload, like email, to the cloud and growing from there. Don’t spend time and resources migrating workloads you expect to decommission in two or three years.
In deciding what to the move to the cloud, business continuity must be considered. The cloud offers many innovative use cases. But while it’s great to use machine learning to analyze a trading dataset, most users are primarily interested in access to network, email, and files. That’s how they get business done. If you move those things to the cloud and it breaks, you stop your business. The right third-party will support a cloud transformation that allows you to use your existing tools and processes throughout the migration, so day-to-day work isn’t disrupted.
Remember: the path for each workload will differ, and the time it takes for migrations will vary. A partner like ECI can help you move workloads such as file sync-and-share or email first, then craft a long-term plan for larger projects.
4. Clearly define roles.
As your cloud transformation commences, clearly define roles and responsibilities so work isn’t duplicated. The RACI matrix is a useful tool here: it can help you outline who is responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed for each aspect of a given project.
Understand that you can’t outsource the responsibility for your cloud transformation completely. No matter what, you must own and oversee it. You might outsource cloud management and support to ECI, for example, but you still need to own the vision and strategy.
Also, be sure to update your RACI matrix as your needs change. When your firm is small, you may not need an internal IT department. But as your business grows, you want to own your customer-facing processes and core differentiators, while outsourcing commoditized operational tasks. In any scenario, having clearly defined goals and roles will ensure everyone is on the same page.
Cloud transformation can be as daunting as it is exciting. Let us help. For more information on ECI’s cloud transformation services, contact us today.