When Germany won the World Cup this past summer much was said about how the squad played together as a team, which was more effective than Brazil's flashy rely-on-a-solo-star approach. While this may make for less exciting instant replays, as a business model the German style makes sense. If your infrastructure is strong, so is your team.
The key is to create an intelligent infrastructure. That means eliminate the extras (Who needs fancy footwork when you can pass the ball?) and seek efficiencies such as utilising cloud services when they are appropriate.
An Intelligent Infrastructure is one that:
- Continually monitors business processes and their application behaviours and requirements
- Through advanced analytics learns and predicts when capability is required or can be removed so as to continuously optimise the infrastructure requirements for the business function
- Self-provisions and decommissions capacity to match business functional needs
- Proactively monitors and 'self-heals' through automated workload management - for example notifying malfunctioning components that are taken out of services for remediation
- Can promote applications, indeed whole business processes, between pre-production and production to seamlessly introduce new services with negligible disruption
- Continually analyses and optimises the underlying infrastructure services to ensure cost efficiencies and operational effectiveness - i.e: swapping cloud service providers to always drive the most cost optimised and efficient service provider
Cloud is enabling agile and seamless services, even in the most traditional IT enterprises. Of course, at financial institutions, not all data can be on the cloud. A bank's IT must be able to migrate and manage business processes and applications across the cloud and enterprise IT system, resulting in what is known as hybrid enterprises that protect client data but utilise the cloud effectively.
An intelligent infrastructure utilises hybrid enterprises and enables the bank's players to kick the ball between databases in its own system and other companies systems. For example, a bank could link a GPS on a bank customer's mobile to push a marketing message for the customer to consider going to a nearby department store to purchase a product using a bank's credit card; and if the customer did this, a discount would then be available, which the bank could SMS to the customer who could then pay for the product using a credit card or a mobile phone. This type of intelligent infrastructure that is passing the ball between GPS positioning, marketing analytics, credit card services and mobile phone services, as well as the department store's eco-system and then delivering this service via a mobile banking application to the customer not only drives business but is a differentiated customer experience.
As financial institutions put such infrastructure in place, they maximise efficiencies, minimise unnecessary fixed-cost structures and should be able to continuously offer flexible systems. For example, Accenture led an infrastructure transformation effort for a global bank and insurance provider, in which we provided a full-service management solution and took the lead integrator role across all service areas and eventually managed the transition of IT services back in-house. The program generated 25 percent to 30 percent cost reduction via efficiency improvements, supplier rationalisation and improved demand management. Service delivery was also improved resulting in an 18 percent reported increase in end user satisfaction in just one year.
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