In the sometimes frenetic evolution of technology, the momentum towards cloud-based solutions tends to be framed purely in terms of benefits and costs. This is understandable – organisations across all industries need cool heads to identify, weigh up and communicate the key benefits of migrating from on-premise software solutions while considering long-term overall costs.
But what’s often overlooked in this process is the concept of value: what additional value can a cloud-based solution bring that amounts to more than just the sum of its immediate benefits? And how can the corporate, trust and funds services market access that additional value?
Here, we examine the importance of market momentum, innovation and agility, and take a look at some of the considerations for organisations yet to migrate to the cloud. Is there anything to worry about, what are the benefits, and how can businesses realise that value?
The evolution of SaaS
The use of cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions has ballooned across a wide range of industries, as more and more smaller organisations can now access digitalised models that were previously the preserve of larger companies with big technology budgets and dedicated in-house IT teams. In short, SaaS has democratised technology by making it available to all.
This trend has had a big impact on the corporate, trust and funds services market; whilst less technologically advanced than certain sectors of financial services, industry figures show that nearly 80% of firms think that players in the sector will increasingly move from on-premise software to SaaS, with 50% reporting that they will likely implement SaaS in the near future.
While many market players are growing wise to the benefits and value of SaaS solutions, it’s fair to say that some organisations have concerns about the move. Cost issues are readily resolved when the reality of a lower total cost of ownership is factored in, but firms happy with the status quo often overlook the value beyond the benefits-minus-costs calculation. Among the concerns expressed, cybersecurity risk also features strongly.
Nevertheless, the benefits of SaaS in terms of reduced risk, less complexity and lower total cost of ownership are increasingly recognised and understood.
Accessing added value
The value of migrating to SaaS is not ephemeral, elusive or unattainable, but rests largely on active participation. Beyond the more obvious net positives from a cold cost-benefit analysis, the corporate, trust and funds services sector has shown a clear understanding of the momentum behind the move to cloud services. Not just in this sector, but across the wider financial services sector and other industries, staying ahead means moving towards cloud services.
That recognition is underpinned by one over-arching factor: the need to participate actively in a development environment and work within a cloud base with native cloud platforms. Here, players can innovate collaboratively with providers with much more agility, which will ultimately deliver ever greater value.
And firms that aren’t in the cloud cannot innovate as quickly and as effectively as those that are; our research shows that cloud customers enjoy significantly faster innovation speed than on-premise customers.
In addition, the more applications that are running in cloud/SaaS environments, the greater the opportunities to increase efficiency with easier integration across cloud-based products. As a case in point, TrustQuay Online (TQO) itself operates within Microsoft’s world-class infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud platform, Azure. The platform makes it easier to scale and deploy vital technology, making the job of creating an application, and making it available in-house and to clients, much simpler, quicker and more cost-effective. This underlines the critical distinction between cloud infrastructure, and cloud native platforms like TQO, which has Microsoft’s Azure IaaS platform as its foundation; it is the native cloud platforms that offer the benefits of faster feature-enhancement roll out and greater opportunities for innovation, not simply cloud infrastructure.
Organisations that have embraced the cloud also open themselves up not just to more agile innovation, but to faster innovation in digital client engagement. With the intergenerational transfer of wealth inevitably moving to digital natives, clients want the same secure access to data and speed of response they're enjoying elsewhere. Those digital-native clients are increasingly expecting their own corporate, trust & funds services companies to reflect that transition through security and data management actions that enhance agility, reliability, trustworthiness and overall satisfaction.
Opex savings, scalability & predictability through subscription model
Put simply, SaaS offers a lower total cost of ownership compared to on-premise solutions. Migrating to cloud-based SaaS solutions, where third-party providers develop, host and support software on their own servers, allows organisations to pay for services via subscription fees that eliminate the usual requirement for bulk software licenses, providing companies with more predictability. In short, businesses can move from ongoing capital expenditure on hardware to operating expenditure on subscriptions, whilst also saving on in-house IT teams to manage and maintain on-premise technology. Cloud customers enjoy vastly improved service up-times leading to significant cuts in operational expenses, and the improvement in energy efficiency of cloud-data centres over more traditional setups gives firms greater scope to achieve sustainability goals with lower costs.
Once organisations migrate business-critical software to the cloud, they remove the need for ongoing investment in on-premise data-centre hardware, software maintenance and security. Business-critical functions are passed to the provider, meaning expensive IT human resources can be deployed more efficiently and effectively in innovation, digital client engagement and process improvements to increase margins and drive growth.
SaaS also removes the need for time-consuming in-house software updates, with providers regularly delivering security updates, new features and innovations online to respond quickly to market shifts, whilst the scalability it offers means usage can be adjusted based not on predictions, but on the real-time demands of the business.
That means no fuss, no downtime, no costly delays.
The confidence of better protection with enhanced security
Somewhat counter-intuitively, one of the biggest benefits of moving to the cloud is the enhanced security it brings. Cloud-hosting services can dedicate more resources to address privacy requirements and prevent sensitive data from being hacked. Providers are likelier to invest more in cybersecurity expertise to stay ahead of security threats and pre-empt any vulnerabilities. With storage and access to data consolidated on a single digital platform, corporate, trust & funds services companies are in a stronger position to protect enterprise and client data from hackers and manage data access with greater security, transparency and visibility.
Cloud-hosting providers are also more likely to have attained internationally recognised certifications such as ISO27001, meaning the move from on-premise to cloud can allow clients to take advantage of the economies of scale that larger providers are able to offer. And in the case of TQO, our cloud platform leverages Microsoft’s USD$1 billion-per-annum investment in security and its 3,500 dedicated cybersecurity experts, who work 24/7 to keep the platform secure.
Driving efficiencies through collaboration & ease of access
When companies move software to the cloud, they don’t have to install and run applications in their own environments or data centres; business users access SaaS through internet browsers or mobile applications, which offer access on any device, anywhere and anytime. What’s more, smaller firms in the corporate, trust and funds services sector benefit from the reduced time-to-value for customers via self-service and data-migration tooling, combined with SaaS’s out-of-the-box core configuration.
The improved accessibility offered by SaaS compared to on-premise solutions also eases and improves collaboration among staff, with secure data and document-sharing free from in-house performance problems or accessibility issues when away from the office or working from home.
Realising value beyond the benefits
With concerns related to cost, security and change largely accounted for in the sector’s overall understanding of market momentum, realising the inherent value of SaaS migration beyond the obvious benefits is becoming increasingly important for industry players. With 75% of market participants recognising SaaS as an ideal solution for firms with fewer IT resources and infrastructure, it’s not hard to see the direction of travel for smaller organisations keen to take part in the democratisation of technology and stay on the agile cutting edge of innovation within a cloud base. And that’s just as true for larger firms as it is for smaller organisations.
Market players can’t innovate with the necessary agility unless they’re operating in native cloud platforms. And beyond the positive cost-benefit analysis, that’s where the value will lie.
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Growth Marketing Manager