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Cloud Services Insights World-Region-Country

‘Future of Cloud in Banking’ Finds There Is Still a Long Way Till All Banks Have Moved to the Cloud

Publicis Sapient, a digital business transformation company, has released its Future of Cloud in Banking report conducted in collaboration with Google Cloud.

The cloud state-of-play report surveyed senior banking professionals across Asia Pacific (APAC), EMEA and North America, revealing key insights into how far banks have come in their cloud transition journeys. The survey revealed that only 28 per cent of banks, the ‘leaders’, have achieved transition of more than 30 per cent of their applications in the cloud.

The report divided banks into three groups, gauging progress in each:

  • Cloud leaders (28 per cent) have more than 30 per cent of their applications in the cloud
  • Cloud followers (45 per cent) have between 11 per cent – 30 per cent of applications in the cloud
  • Cloud conservatives (27 per cent) have at most 10 per cent of applications in the cloud
Ambition levels

The findings revealed that many retail and commercial banks have big ambitions to increase the number of applications and data that are hosted in the cloud, signalling a major acceleration compared with their pace of adoption over recent years. Taking all regions surveyed together, over two thirds of banks want at least 30 per cent of their applications and data to be in the cloud in three years’ time (close to triple the number of banks who have achieved that today); however, North American banks are the least ambitious on cloud adoption, with only 29 per cent of banks in the region wanting their customer facing apps in the cloud within three years.

The key obstacles to cloud adoption among key participants were the following: 
  • Security concerns – 42 per cent
  • Lack of cloud skills – 36 per cent
  • Lack of internal understanding (highest among non-executive directors) of the business benefits – 31 per cent
Ambition and execution gap

The report shows an ambition and execution gap, with only 44 per cent of participants believing that business leaders in their bank understand the business-related possibilities and opportunities of cloud, and just 34 per cent said the same about their non-executive boards. It also showed that a large number of banks are not prioritising investments in modern, cloud-native customer-facing apps, leaving opportunity for new cloud-native players or smaller banks with a digital transformation mindset to gain a larger share of the market. 22 per cent of bank leaders strongly agreed that they were not progressing with cloud investment and implementation as fast as they should be.

Maximisation of cloud and perception of benefits

36 per cent of respondents strongly agreed that their banks had not maximised the business benefits of their cloud investments to date. In fact, 44 per cent cited the main benefit of adopting cloud as being the enhanced ability to automate processes, while 40 per cent cited the enhanced ability to develop new products and services.

Regional differences

Only 29 per cent of North American bank leaders saw enhanced ability to apply advanced analytics (AI/ML) to data as a cloud benefit, while 40 per cent in EMEA and 58 per cent in APAC saw it as such.

Only 60 per cent of banks in North America planned to increase investment in cloud over the next three years, as opposed to 82 per cent and 83 per cent in APAC and EMEA respectively.

Jan-Willem Weggemans, head of the cloud practice at Publicis Sapient, said:

“We were very excited to work with Google Cloud, a world-leading provider of cloud services to banks on this survey to throw a spotlight on the state of progress in banks’ transition to the cloud. Cloud is the single most powerful way that banks can improve customer experience and simultaneously increase operational efficiency. We were encouraged to find that banks have a strong aim to adopt cloud, and that the leaders are well progressed in the project. However, we also found that the gap between ambition and execution is an issue in a significant proportion of the industry.

“Despite the lack of progress in some areas, 68% of banks believe they are ahead of the competition in innovation. This suggests some level of complacency. Of note, 44% have ambitions to have most or all apps to be customer facing within three years, which introduces a ticking clock element to gain competitive advantage.”

Georgina Bulkeley, director of EMEA financial services solutions, Google Cloud, said:

“This report reveals huge ambition amongst banks to adopt cloud solutions to meet customer expectations and to remain competitive. We are delighted to be working with partners, such as Publicis Sapient, to deliver the benefits of cloud to banks across all our regions.”


  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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