Applications Being Deployed on the Cloud
When adopting cloud computing on a partial basis, firms typically targeted workloads that could be significantly improved because of the operational benefits provided by the cloud. Some of the key types of applications firms are beginning to deploy on the cloud include the following:
- Productivity SaaS applications: Firms migrating to the cloud often seek to become consumers of SaaS products for a variety of operational functions. For example, cloud-based SaaS products for productivity services (such as for email, file sharing, online chat or video conferencing capabilities) proved to be useful especially at the outset of the pandemic, given the reportedly easy and seamless way in which workers could continue working from a remote location. Firms also indicated a desire to find ways to help workers collaborate better either in a remote work environment or geographically distributed work setting with the use of these applications.
- Data management applications: Several firms are seeking to develop data management applications in the cloud that allow them to re-organize and streamline their databases, across previously siloed business lines and functions onto a single platform or “data lake.” For example, firms could seek to integrate data from previously siloed fixed income and equities businesses, seek to create a common platform from front-middle-back office trade/portfolio operations, or streamline data processes for customer on-boarding. The deployment of new cloud-based database architectures generally enabled more efficient workflows to query and use the data and also leveraged the ability to scale storage capacity into the cloud and facilitate data backup and disaster-recovery processes.
- Data analytic applications: Firms are also deploying cloud-based data analytics applications to analyze their data in many ways. Firms cited the rapid scalability of the cloud as an advantage for running computationally intensive workloads, for example running portfolio risk calculations, best execution possibilities, valuations and more. Using these applications, firms may be able to gain insight from the data which was previously difficult or impractical to obtain, and the elasticity and scalability of the cloud mitigated the risk of interruptions during periods of high volatility or surges in trading activity. A few firms also noted that they were looking into cloud-based artificial intelligence and machine learning applications for data analysis, to enhance existing capabilities.
- Client-facing applications: Several firms are seeking to set up user interface applications in the cloud to be able to innovate and scale in a nimbler fashion. These applications could be browser or mobile based and generally are geared towards providing an intuitive and more personalized experience for clients to, among other things, access their account information, execute trades, and run portfolio analytics. These firms view using a cloud-based approach to client-facing applications as allowing their business to iterate more quickly in response to changing business needs and therefore be more competitive in areas of rapid innovation.