Why embracing the cloud is ‘non-negotiable’ for Standard Chartered

As group CIO, Singapore-based Michael Gorriz is executing a multi-year cloud strategy at Standard Chartered, motivated by a desire to meet the new expectations of a modern-day bank.

michael gorriz standard chartered
Standard Chartered

With a high degree of executive coordination and synchronicity, Standard Chartered can run 500 technology projects in parallel, at pace, with scale and in rhythm. A multi-functioning and well-oiled machine perhaps, but for Singapore-based Michael Gorriz, four main developments are driving transformative change at the banking giant.

As group CIO, the award-winning executive is kick-starting an era of innovation at the financial institution, dictated by changing market dynamics and underpinned by a multi-year cloud strategy. “We have taken a very thorough and profound approach to the cloud,” Gorriz told CIO ASEAN. “The first of our four main projects is centred around the harmonisation of our core banking system, in addition to creating a state-of-the-art payment system. We are also focusing on our customer interface within the context of mobile and internet banking, alongside enhancing our connection to corporate customers through APIs and open banking. These are major developments with hefty and solid application blocks which are all designed for the cloud. They can still run on-premises if necessary for regulatory reasons but these versions are made for the cloud and native cloud computing.”

Aligned with digital transformation ambitions, Standard Chartered is moving ahead with a multi-cloud approach, ensuring that core banking and trading systems—in addition to virtual banking and banking as-a-service offerings—will be cloud-based by 2025, subject to regulatory approvals.

The bank’s multi-year journey to cloud started with software-as-a-service (SaaS) on a large scale, specifically for back-end systems such as financial control and HR. For banking-related software, the business followed the path of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS)—supported by increased levels of security—to build a platform capable of running significant workloads on the cloud.

“The banking industry has gone through a massive digital transformation and the recent global pandemic has set the stage for the transformation to accelerate, much faster than ever before,” Gorriz acknowledged. “The bank of the future is here and, if we are to stay in business, cloud adoption is clearly not just a ‘nice to have’. While our journey to be fully on the cloud will be a multi-year journey, I am convinced that cloud technology will be crucial to delivering our network, serving our customers, improving efficiencies and embracing new business opportunities.”

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