Standard Chartered Bets Big on Multi-Cloud

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Standard Chartered Bank is becoming cloud-first and is looking to host its core banking and trading systems and new ventures using a multi-cloud strategy by 2025.

The major transformation effort will also see the bank adopting a cloud-first principle for all new technology refreshes and software development.

The biggest motivation is competition. Michael Gorriz, group chief information officer at Standard Chartered, said that using cloud services will improve the bank’s “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. To realize our digital ambitions, Standard Chartered has chosen Microsoft as a strategic partner and this partnership marks a major milestone for the bank in adopting a cloud-first approach,” he added.

COVID-19 also had a part to play. "The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the need for businesses and banks to be resilient from a risk mitigation, cost and security perspective,” said Bhupendra Warathe, chief technology officer for cloud transformation at Standard Chartered. 

“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,” he added.

Microsoft is one cloud platform provider that Standard Chartered is already partnering with. The bank announced a three-year strategic partnership to accelerate the bank's digital transformation through a cloud-first strategy. 

“The speed and scale of continuous innovation offered by Azure allows us to 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,” said Warathe.

Standard Chartered will adopt Microsoft Azure as a preferred cloud platform to meet the bank's need for resilient data centers and cloud services and addressing customers' security, privacy and compliance requirements across the bank's global footprint.

The first set of capabilities to move to Microsoft Azure will be Standard Chartered's trade finance systems, allowing for seamless cross-border trade for the bank's corporate and institutional clients. 

The partnership will also advance the bank's digital workplace transformation with Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams providing modern productivity and collaboration tools to Standard Chartered's 84,000 employees across its 60 markets.

Standard Chartered will also use Microsoft Azure artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics capabilities to enhance and automate banking processes while delivering hyper personalization of its client products and experiences, noted a press release.

“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. We are committed to helping Standard Chartered Bank in its ongoing digital transformation journey as it strives to address evolving customer needs and build the next generation of banking experiences,” said Bill Borden, corporate vice president of worldwide financial services at Microsoft.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/TAW4