HSBC chooses AWS for public cloud business operations

HSBC will use a cloud platform from Amazon Web Services across its business operations to accelerate its public cloud use

HSBC is introducing public cloud to all of its businesses globally through a long-term deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The world’s biggest banks are accelerating their use of public cloud after years of experimentation, and HSBC is no exception. The deal with AWS sees the cloud supplier join Google in HSBC's multi cloud infrastucture.

AWS offers HSBC more than raw computing power – as part of its digital transformation, it will take advantage of a wide range of AWS cloud services, including compute, containers, storage, database, analytics, machine learning and security. It will also support the automation of processes and the bank will use analytics services from AWS to support its work on personalising its offering for customers.

“Our work with AWS is an example of how HSBC continues to invest in secure and advanced technologies to make our digital banking experience even better for customers,” said Dinesh Keswani, CIO for digital at HSBC. “Our ambition is to make it easy, safe and reliable for customers to bank with us, wherever they are.” 

The bank will kick things off in its global wealth and personal banking business with use of AWS for customer-facing services and to modernise existing applications.

“Our collaboration with AWS helps us to deliver innovative banking solutions to customers at a faster rate, starting with our wealth and personal banking business,” added Keswani.

Large banks are rapidly adopting public cloud services after years of it being on the fringes of their operations. Public cloud was used in individual services, often new products for customers, but now banks such as HSBC are rolling it out across their operations.

Mainframes continue to account for most of a bank’s processing, with these systems being secure, cheap, reliable and understood by regulators. While the simplest processes have been moved to the cloud, there is a lot more that can be done.

And banks are on that journey. During a cloud discussion at SIBOS in London in September 2019, a snap poll of an audience comprising hundreds of bank executives revealed that 44% are already in the public cloud, 35% are catching up, 19% are considering it for the future, and only 2% do not have it on their radar.

The snap survey also revealed that 37% are using the public cloud to complement on-premise systems with artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, 35% as alternative to non-critical on-premise applications, and 28% for on-premise mission-critical applications.

Competition from digital challenger banks, offering customers highly personalised and easy-to-use banking services has forced big banks to invest. Suppliers such as AWS offer tried band-tested cloud platforms to support banks as the modernise services and operations.

Earlier in July, Deutsche Bank committed to in-house digital transformation with Google Cloud. Together, the companies will bring new customer-facing services to market.

Deutsche Bank’s chief technology, data and innovation officer Bernd Leukert, said the partnership marks a “significant step forward” for the organisation’s technology strategy and customer services.

“By bringing together the best of both cultures, we look forward to creating new business models leveraging artificial intelligence, data analytics, and more, with an established technology and innovation leader,” he added.

Last year, CEO Christian Sewing said the bank wanted to become a technology company and digital leader, with plans to spend €13bn on IT through to 2022.

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