How global banks are taking advantage of cloud

For Middle East banks, where the appetite of public cloud is low due to regulatory and privacy reasons, the preferred approach remains private cloud, writes Ayman Majzoub, senior director, private cloud & managed services, Avaya International.

Majzoub: With private (cloud) deployments, restrictions around data sovereignty do not need to be barriers to achieving the benefits of cloud.
Majzoub: With private (cloud) deployments, restrictions around data sovereignty do not need to be barriers to achieving the benefits of cloud.

The idea of private cloud is going through something of a rejuvenation. For all the talk that, one day, everything everywhere will be hosted by the likes of AWS, Microsoft and Google, large-scale organisations are actually finding that, really, they’d prefer to build their own clouds. Just look at the recent reports that Apple has cut its AWS bill in half in favour of a private cloud for evidence.

More evidence can be found with global bank Standard Chartered, which recently decided to modernise its collaboration and customer-facing services, and increase the ability of its contact centre agents to better serve customers. For this, a customised private cloud solution from Avaya became the obvious route forward. Implemented as part of a multi-year CX transformation project, this new, private cloud-based environment will provide a global contact centre platform deployed securely within the bank’s environment.

Like any major bank – including ones in Saudi Arabia and the UAE – Standard Chartered is evolving in sync with its customers’ fast-paced, digitally connected lives. Gone are the days when Facebook was simply a company broadcasting tool – now it’s a major point of customer interaction, and customers want high-quality customer service through it. In Saudi Arabia, 70% of consumers expect the same level of experience regardless of which channel they use to contact their bank, according to Avaya’s SuperServe research. And no matter what channel they’re using, 90% of Saudi millennials want the option of speaking to someone at their bank at anytime during an interaction.

These numbers are broadly similar across the nine countries that the research included.

In response, Standard Chartered is focused on digital banking with a human touch. That means high channel availability, consistency of services across markets, and clear integration with the contact centre. It’s also using this opportunity to create a platform that can integrate with new communications channels that may not yet have emerged, so that best practices do not have to be relearned if and when a new social network becomes the centre of its customers’ lives.

It would be possible to create such a contact centre through an on-premise deployment. But cloud is preferable for a number of reasons. Firstly, it unites numerous disparate contact centres and platforms. Managing many disparate platforms is not a skill or core competence that many banks have (Standard Chartered runs contact centres in 18 countries and is looking to change this), which can result in inconsistent client experiences. Secondly, it massively reduces the cost required to maintain such a large operation. 

Indeed, the simplified cost structure - through managed services so that the licences are paid-for on an easy, per-user basis – is major plus point. As is the ability to scale extremely quickly – another unique benefit of the cloud-based model.

These benefits are available to anyone opting for a public cloud solution, but public cloud is a step too far with respect to the regulations that the vast majority of banks have to adhere to. Avaya’s private cloud model creates the global platform that Standard Chartered needs, but keeps it within the bank’s environment.

And it isn’t just banks that are taking advantage of the private cloud. Large organisations like dnata have also found that, in order to realize better scalability and efficiency, cloud is the preferred option. And with private deployments, restrictions around data sovereignty do not need to be barriers to achieving the benefits of cloud.

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