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January 02, 2018
When—not if—should be the only question pensions providers ask about moving to the cloud
By: Paul Bruch

Everyone uses the cloud today—often without knowing it. Updating your timeline on Facebook? You’re using the cloud. Found the location of your meeting via Google Maps? The cloud took you there. Listened to music on the way via streaming? Again, that’s courtesy of the cloud. As devices’ storage capacity shrinks, more and more of the data and applications that used to be held locally are now residing in the cloud.

Enterprise and desktop applications, from Salesforce to Office 365, are all cloud native. Oracle, for example, has announced that all their new products are developed and offered on the cloud first and moving forward, all their applications will be cloud only. The net effect of all this is that many organizations may not realize that they are already to some extent cloud enabled; and their employees and customers certainly are already there.

So what are the drivers for pensions to move into the cloud? While cost used to be the primary reason, that’s now been overtaken by several critical factors:

  • Reliability

  • Scalability

  • Upgrade path

  • Security

Cloud services are built from the ground up to support many thousands—and in some cases millions—of users. They are engineered from the start to be as reliable as possible, since the availability of cloud services is a core element of the business model. Consequently, cloud companies spend more money and devote more time to making sure that a solution is reliable than any individual business could ever afford. And with those huge infrastructures they can scale as needed, so performance is rarely, if ever, a problem. For pensions, of course, the ability to scale reliably and introduce new features and capabilities at lower cost is critical. That’s what cloud enables them to achieve.

Because cloud solutions are continuously updated behind the scenes, that means that organizations are always operating on the latest and greatest version, and organizations using their solutions don’t need to think about the pain and cost of software upgrades. That means that they reduce their Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) compared to a traditional implementation where they are repeatedly replacing out of data software along with the resourcing requirements that these demand, such as large testing teams.

And finally, security is another of the advantages that the cloud brings. A few years ago, many had reservations about the cloud (particularly public cloud) versus on-premise installations in terms of security. For pensions providers, the security of their members’ personal and financial data is sacrosanct. Breaches bring numerous risks—from regulatory to reputational and financial to legal damage. However, the investments that cloud providers now make in cybersecurity dwarf those that any single organization can match. They build security in from the ground up—and as targets for every hacker on the planet, they are constantly updating and defeating attacks and attempted breaches, which gives them unrivalled, real-time knowledge of the threat landscape.

For all these reasons, pension providers that don’t have a cloud strategy in place need to develop one quickly. The longer they wait, the more benefits they’ll miss. And that’s bad for the organization and for its members.

What are your thoughts on the cloud? Comment and let me know.

To learn more, visit us at https://www.accenture.com/pensions

See this post on LinkedIn: When—not if—should be the only question pensions providers ask about moving to the cloud.

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