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The Future of Finserv is Hybrid

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The Future of Finserv is Hybrid 1

By Eyal Manor, GM and VP of Engineering, Google Cloud

Financial institutions face increasing challenges as they try to keep pace with evolving client expectations, competition and changing regulations. Customers expect seamless, tailored experiences—and loyalty is increasingly difficult to maintain in a digital-first era. Whether it’s real-time payment processing, fraud detection notifications or global P2P transfers, financial institutions need to keep pace with client expectations and the power of the cloud will help them get there.

Historically, financial institutions have been hesitant to fully embrace the cloud for data security reasons, and have kept most of their data in on-premise data centres. Although, this process has inadvertently created siloed and disparate systems that limited agility for financial institutions. According to Forrester, only 26% of financial services firms acknowledge that transformation is never-ending, 19% are still considering what to do, and 14% mistakenly think they’re done. On-premises solutions are not scalable enough to deliver the needs of today’s on-demand consumer, nor are they cost-effective in the digital economy.

Making the choice to completely re-evaluate infrastructure can be intimidating for many reasons, but modernizing infrastructure shouldn’t happen just when a financial institution is at a critical juncture. The modernization exercise should be an always-on, continuously iterative process. For this to happen though, financial institutions need to adopt hybrid and multi-cloud solutions to scale with their customers and provide seamless experiences. By adopting these solutions, financial institutions absorb value-added technologies as they emerge, and can embrace the cloud at their own pace and in their own time.

The Value of Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Solutions

Eyal Manor

Eyal Manor

With hybrid and multi-cloud platforms, financial institutions can freely choose which combination of services and providers will best meet their needs and their customers over time. Locked in and proprietary systems aren’t good for anyone. An open approach that allows collaboration across multiple cloud providers fosters innovation in the industry. For KeyBank, a hybrid approach is advantageous because it means less time spent managing the complexities of using multiple clouds. This approach enables the nearly 200-year-old bank to embrace the cloud while also keeping systems that must run well in data centres online. It also means that KeyBank has more flexibility to pick and choose cloud providers for each new task based on their relative costs, instead of being locked into one particular cloud vendor.

Not only do hybrid solutions enable financial institutions with unparalleled flexibility, but multi-cloud solutions also provide choice to migrate and modernize infrastructure across multiple clouds. Multi-cloud and hybrid platforms like Google Cloud’s Anthos, which is built on open-source projects like Kubernetes and Istio, provide financial institutions the freedom to run their applications wherever they are–even on-prem–while still maintaining the managed platform experience.

Open and flexible platforms also provide financial institutions a line of sight into their data, regardless of where it resides. This flexibility is ideal for regulated industries that require hybrid needs, due to the nature of sensitive information. Take DenizBank for example. It relies on a hybrid cloud strategy to comply with various regulatory requirements like data locality and sovereignty which mandates that some or all applications reside on-premises in certain countries.

Hybrid and multi-cloud strategies are necessities for helping financial services future proof.

Most industries today are moving to a cloud-native infrastructure, but the financial services industry is still deeply rooted in legacy technology for security or functionality reasons. In fact, according to Forrester, 20% of survey respondents say legacy technologies are one of the greatest challenges within a financial services organization for executing its digital transformation. The reality is that these organizations will not be modernizing their existing systems all at once. But, with the help of hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure, financial institutions can move at their own pace and modernize select applications while continuing to take advantage of infrastructure investments that they need to keep in data centres. By using multi-cloud and hybrid environments, financial institutions can make existing and cloud-native applications work more seamlessly together.

Not only do cloud providers help with this transition, but they also partner with companies who aim to make this transition easier, like Temenos. Temenos partnered with cloud providers to help financial institutions digitally transform, by providing access to technologies like Anthos that offer the freedom to innovate and reap the true benefits of multi-cloud. Not only will financial institutions continue to manage legacy systems, but they will always balance ever-changing regulatory and data-security requirements. Hybrid and multi-cloud environments can help to manage these shifts by enabling organizations with the ability to control data regardless of where it resides–in the cloud, on-premises or a combination of both.

What’s next? 

The time is now for financial institutions to think about modernizing their infrastructure–hybrid and multi-cloud environments will help them get there. According to Forrester, in addition to cost reduction, cloud also brings the flexibility and agility that financial services firms need to become digital businesses. It’s beneficial for financial institutions to adopt multi/hybrid environments today to digitally transform to keep up with, and even get ahead of evolving customer demands, regulations, security and more. Hybrid and multi-cloud platforms will help financial institutions thrive in the future by streamlining processes, cutting costs and optimizing infrastructure spend—all while adhering to industry security regulations and best practices. These environments will become invaluable for financial institutions as they look to accelerate innovation without the weight of the past holding them back.

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U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller

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U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller 2

WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The president’s poet woke up a superstar on Thursday, after a powerful reading at the U.S. inauguration catapulted 22-year-old Amanda Gorman to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list.

Hours after Gorman’s electric performance at the swearing-in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, her two books – neither out yet – topped Amazon.com’s sales list.

“I AM ON THE FLOOR MY BOOKS ARE #1 & #2 ON AMAZON AFTER 1 DAY!” Gorman, a Los Angeles resident, wrote on Twitter.

Gorman’s debut poetry collection ‘The Hill We Climb’ won top spot in the online retail giant’s sale charts, closely followed by her upcoming ‘Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem’.

While poetry’s popularity is on the up, it remains a niche market and the overnight adulation clearly caught Gorman short.

“Thank you so much to everyone for supporting me and my words. As Yeats put it: ‘For words alone are certain good: Sing, then’.”

Gorman, the youngest poet in U.S. history to mark the transition of presidential power, offered a hopeful vision for a deeply divided country in Wednesday’s rendition.

“Being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it,” Gorman said on the steps of the U.S. Capitol two weeks after a mob laid siege and following a year of global protests for racial justice.

“We will not march back to what was. We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.”

The performance stirred instant acclaim, with praise from across the country and political spectrum, from the Republican-backing Lincoln Project to former President Barack Obama.

“Wasn’t @TheAmandaGorman’s poem just stunning? She’s promised to run for president in 2036 and I for one can’t wait,” tweeted former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

A graduate of Harvard University, Gorman says she overcame a speech impediment in her youth and became the first U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.

She has now joined the ranks of august inaugural poets such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.

Her social media reach boomed, with her tens of thousands of followers ballooning into a Twitter fan base of a million-plus.

“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” tweeted TV host Oprah Winfrey.

Gorman’s books are both due out in September.

Third on Amazon’s best selling list was another picture book linked to politics and projecting hope: ‘Ambitious Girl’ by Vice-President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harris.

(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape

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Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape 3

By Justin Pike, Founder and Chairman, MYPINPAD

Delivery of intuitive, secure, personalised, and frictionless user experiences has long been table stakes in digital commerce, well before the era of COVID-19. As businesses harness the revolutionary power of digital technologies, they have pursued large-scale change to adapt to evolving consumer preferences (some more successfully than others, but that’s a blog for another day). Digital transformation is a term we hear repeatedly, and it looks different for each organisation, but essentially, it’s about utilising technology and data to digitise, automate, innovate and improve processes and the customer experience across the entire business.

As I said, this was already well underway but then came 2020 and no industry escaped the disruption of the coronavirus outbreak, which has had an indelible impact on businesses performance, operations, and revenue. Regardless of whether the impact of COVID has been very positive or very challenging, it has forced organisations globally to re-evaluate and re-orient strategies to adapt.

As lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions continue to change daily life, this raises the question of how we can balance a dramatic shift to digital and the benefits it brings, while ensuring business continuity and innovation both during and post-COVID, and protecting everyone against fraud?

Digital is an essential survival tool, and even more so in a COVID world

No one could have predicted the dramatic digital pivot that has taken place over this year. Indeed, within weeks of the COVID outbreak cash usage in the UK dropped by around 50%. Digital solutions including delivery applications, contactless payments, mobile commerce, online and mobile banking have become essential components of a touchless customer experience in the era of social distancing. It’s no longer just about an enhanced and superior customer experience, it’s also about health, safety and survival.

In store, businesses have benefited from contactless payments enabling faster throughput and reduced need for consumers to touch payment terminals (therefore requiring greater cleaning, which degrades the hardware much faster). Mastercard reported a 40% increase in contactless payments – including tap-to-pay and mobile pay – during the first quarter of the year as the global pandemic worsened. Digital has also become an essential sales channel for many B2C brands. Where brick and mortar stores have been required to close, digital commerce enables continuity of customer relationships and revenue. This channel also provides brands with rich customer data, which can be used to enhance and personalise the customer experience and typically results in greater levels of engagement and uplifts in revenue.

Industry forecasts estimate that worldwide spending on the technologies and services enabling digital transformation will reach GBP 1.8 trillion in 2023 – a clear indication that the process represents a long-term investment and a global commitment to digital-first strategy. The key point here is that digital brings significant benefits, and regardless of COVID, is here to stay.

The challenges that rapid digital transformation brings to businesses

Justin Pike

Justin Pike

Regardless of whether businesses are operating in developed or less-developed economies, these times of crisis have levelled the playing field in the sense that all businesses are facing similar issues. Access to products and supplies, maintaining customer relationships, accelerating sales for some and declining sales for others, health and hygiene are just a few of the unique challenges brought about by COVID.

Many businesses in physical environments have had to swiftly implement changes to significantly reduce safety risks for staff and customers, such as contactless payments, mobile ordering and delivery options. But with these changes come a host of other benefits of digitisation, such as faster transactions, and reduced human error at the point-of-sale.

The reliance on technology, however, can also expose organisations and consumers to certain vulnerabilities. In particular, the risks of fraud and cybercrime have dramatically increased since the onset of the pandemic as scammers have taken advantage of digital technologies to target both businesses and individuals.

As a McKinsey report illustrates, new levels of sophistication in the activities of fraudsters have placed more pressure on companies that have been previously slow to go digital, bringing “into sharp relief how vulnerable companies really are”, and damaging the financial health of small and large businesses. In fact, the Bottomline 2020 Business Payments Barometer reveals that only one in 10 small businesses across the UK report recovering more than 50% of losses due to fraud.

But take these stats with a grain of salt. While it is important to be aware of the risks and challenges this new business landscape brings, it’s equally as important to have a lens firmly across your own business, industry and audience, and to identify the changes you can make internally to mitigate risk as well as improve your customer experience. Where can you make some quick wins? Do you have the right skillsets internally to achieve what you need to achieve? What technology is out there that will enable your business goals? There are tech companies like MYPINPAD that are making huge strides in software development, which will transform businesses globally.

A digital world post-COVID

Almost a year in, the line between business success and failure remains fragile. However, an ongoing transition towards greater digitisation will be the difference between survival and the alternative.

There is a wide range of initiatives businesses can implement to weather this storm. If we look at the space MYPINPAD operates within, secure digital consumer authentication is crucial to the ongoing success and security of not only financial products but also identification and verification across a range of different industry verticals. Shifting the authentication of consumers securely onto mobile devices enables businesses to completely reshape their customer experiences. By bringing together a more seamless, frictionless customer experience, accessibility, privacy, security and access to consumer data, businesses are able to drive digital transformation across day-to-day activities.

Against this backdrop, software with stronger security standards continue to play an ever more vital role in supporting society, protecting consumers and businesses from the increase in risks that rapid digitisation brings. Already, merchants can deploy PIN on Mobile technology from companies like MYPINPAD, onto their smart devices to speed up the digitisation process many are now tackling.

Essentially, opening up universal payments and authentication methods that feel familiar, for both online and face-to-face transactions, will be key to opening up a world of possibilities when it comes to redefining how businesses engage with consumers.

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Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says

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Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says 4

LONDON (Reuters) – Food supply problems in Northern Ireland are due to Brexit because there are now a certain amount of checks on goods going between Britain and Northern Ireland, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.

British ministers have sought to play down the disruption of Brexit in recent days.

“The supermarket shelves were full before Christmas and there are some issues now in terms of supply chains and so that’s clearly a Brexit issue,” Coveney told ITV.

The Northern Irish protocol means there are “a certain amount of checks on goods coming from GB into Northern Ireland and that involves some disruption,” he said.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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