Data, Cloud and the Digital Transformation Imperative

On April 2, I will be taking the stage alongside an esteemed panel of credit union and technology leaders at the 2019 Credit Union Analytics Summit. I believe most credit union leaders would agree the topics we’ll be exploring – cloud and data – are imperative to any organization’s digital transformation journey.

However, credit unions, large and small, struggle to wrangle their own data, let alone data from outside sources. CUNA Mutual Group’s 2017 Advanced Analytics Report revealed more than half of credit unions surveyed feel they’re underinvesting in data analytics.

One objection we often hear is that advanced data analytics solutions require migration to the cloud. Although cloud computing continues to become more prevalent throughout the financial services ecosystem, security fears have remained. However, researchers who have compared the two environments often conclude public clouds are more secure than traditional IT systems. Their findings are influencing decision makers across industry verticals. In fact, 64 percent of enterprises consider cloud infrastructure a more secure alternative to legacy systems. This is due to three factors in particular:

  1. Cloud infrastructure is continuously monitored and the subject of annual audits.
  2. Cloud security is layered.
  3. Updates and patches are performed more frequently.

Wired contributor Todd Nielsen put it this way:

“If you run a company that has a dedicated team of security experts that are monitoring your network 24/7/365 for all exploits and security risks, and this team can take instant steps to secure the network in case of problems, and you have a team that is constantly testing software and updating it to fix security holes, then sure, traditional computing can be more secure [than cloud].”

Unfortunately, few of the ifs described by Nielsen are prevalent in the community financial institution space.

Credit union competitors, both mainstream and non-traditional, have wrestled with some of the same fears. Yet, they are pushing forward, using cloud systems to become more agile, discover new value propositions and adapt to new markets. Brian Bodell, Vice President of Strategic Partnership and Growth for AdvantEdge Analytics, says the cloud provides outstanding agility, scalability and redundancy.

“Going forward, organizations that do not leverage the cloud will be at a disadvantage from both an innovation and a security perspective,” said Bodell, who served as CEO of Finivation, a real-time integration platform and software development company, prior to joining our team at AdvantEdge Analytics. “Many innovations, ranging from machine learning and artificial intelligence to API management, are all being released and continually improved in the cloud.”

Here’s what Nick Funnell, development practice lead in Barclays’ chief technology officer application hosting division, said about his bank’s use of the cloud: “With cloud technology, you can scale from zero and get to market very quickly; and get an idea to market in weeks, if not days. To take advantage of that, you have to be fast, you have to be nimble and you have to be reactive.”

Gartner predicts cloud data centers will process 92 percent of workloads by 2020.

To calm fears while also acknowledging the very real concern about security, Gartner suggests the conversation shift from “Is the cloud secure?” to “Am I using the cloud securely?” That’s because CISOs and their IT teams most often remain involved in securing their company’s data even when they’re operating in a cloud environment.

To explore other important cloud and data considerations on your credit union’s journey to transformation, join me for the panel discussion “Why the Time to Invest in Cloud and Data is Now” on April 2 at the 2019 Credit Union Analytics Summit. I look forward to connecting with you there.

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