Microsoft Financial Partner Showcase Looks To The Cloud
I had the chance to visit the Microsoft Executive Briefing Center here in New York City this week for the inaugural Financial Partner Showcase, where developers and solution providers targeting banks, insurance companies, and other financial services institutions had the opportunity to strut their stuff for the press. Needless to say, everyone in attendance was giving a lot of lip service to the cloud. But what’s really interesting were the different reasons that vendors in discrete industries were interested in cloud services. ‘
To that end, here are some stray cloud perspectives from the conversations I had at the Microsoft Financial Partner Showcase:
- Large IT services firm Accenture was excited at the agility the cloud gave customers — rather than taking two years to upgrade something on notoriously behind-the-curve financial institution IT infrastructure, new applications and services can be deployed in the span of months.
- Document/content management firms like Hyland OnBase and OpenText had a lot of good things to say about the mobility of cloud services, with both singling out the fact that real-time cloud document editing on a tablet PC or smartphone has the potential to both save on paper and wow customers when a sale is on the line.
- CustomerEffective, a VAR that specializes in Microsoft CRM, offers on-premises, hosted, and full-on cloud deployments. And while cloud sales are an increasingly large part of their business, the real spike has been in the number of new clients who insist they at least talk about the cloud.
- Finally, nearly everyone in attendance had a lot to say on regulatory compliance. Or rather, how hard it is to meet requirements like SAS 70 or HIPAA. That’s a major driver of cloud services in the financial world: any firm too small to afford to meet IT regulatory compliance rules on their own will be looking for a cloud service provider to handle it for them.
Most of the companies in attendance were of the kind that close deals in six or seven digit amounts. And since Microsoft was really using the chance to spotlight their most successful developer partners in the financial services market, very few of the vendors brought their channel teams with them, so we could only chat about the cloud in the abstract. But all the same, it offered the chance to hear some slightly different perspectives on the cloud.