To remain resilient and battle-ready, Standard Chartered Bank has decided on a three-year ride on the clouds banking of the azure sky.

As part of its digital transformation being new normal, Standard Chartered Bank will adopt a multi-cloud approach, where significant applications, including its core banking and trading systems and new digital ventures such as virtual banking and banking as-a-service, will be cloud-based by 2025, subject to regulatory approvals.

The bank will also adopt a cloud-first principle for all new software developments and major enhancements, recognizing that such a strategy is critical to the bank’s ambition of make banking simpler, faster and more convenient. By being digital-first, the bank will be able to meet the demand for seamless banking virtually anytime, anywhere, and make banking more accessible to people across its network.

Michael Gorriz, the bank’s Group Chief Information Officer, said: “Cloud is a cornerstone of (our) strategy to meet the present and future banking needs of our clients. Cloud providers have invested massively in the reliability and automation of infrastructure and platforms. Using cloud services improves our ability to be agile and innovative, while increasing our operational efficiency and resilience. As disruption in the financial industry continues, we can focus on client benefits by deploying our solutions quicker and allowing for faster integration of new business models and partners.”

Added Bhupendra Warathe, the bank’s Chief Technology Officer, Cloud Transformation: “The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the need for businesses and banks to be resilient from a risk mitigation, cost and security perspective. With the increasing trend of an always-on digital economy, commercial and consumer clients are looking for applications and services that empower them to do online banking from anywhere, flexibly and efficiently.”

With the speed and scale of continuous innovation offered by their chosen multi-cloud approach, Warathe believes the bank will innovate with the latest AI services to meet evolving client needs. “We can pilot new apps in one market and scale them rapidly across others. This is especially important for a bank with a footprint as broad and diverse as ours.”

Choosing the three-year partnership

Standard Chartered has chosen to adopt Microsoft Azure as their preferred cloud platform to meet the bank’s need for resilient data centers and cloud services to address customers security, privacy and compliance requirements across the bank’s global footprint.

The first set of capabilities to move will be the bank’s trade finance systems, allowing for seamless cross-border trade for the bank’s corporate and institutional clients. The three-year partnership will also advance the bank’s digital workplace transformation with modern productivity and collaboration tools for its 84,000 employees across 60 markets.

Co-innovation in the works

Standard Chartered will also use cloud-based AI and data analytics capabilities to enhance and automate banking processes as well as deliver hyper-personalization of its client products and experiences. Co-innovation in open banking application programming interface (API) and Internet-of-Things-based, real-time payments will also help the bank unlock new banking experiences for clients.

According to Microsoft’s Bill Borden, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Financial Services: “Cloud computing is an enabler for financial institutions to modernize their infrastructure and systems, to gain the agility they need to respond to competitive pressures, regulatory environments and customer demand.”

Sustainability objectives are also planned. As a part of the strategic partnership, the bank will explore sustainable finance and business initiatives to expand sustainability across the industry.