By Harish Grama, SVP, Global Cloud Practice Leader at Kyndryl

The financial services industry is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by the rapid adoption of industry cloud technologies. These technologies — including public cloud, hybrid cloud and distributed cloud — are revolutionizing how financial institutions operate, offering unprecedented opportunities for innovation, efficiency and growth.

With Kyndryl’s new services supporting Google Cloud for Banking and Financial Services, industry-specific clouds take another step toward maturation and widespread adoption. But why would industries such as financial services — and even healthcare, telecommunications and manufacturing — require their own “special” clouds? Industry-specific clouds enable a unified, scalable and security-rich data platform to support customers’ regulatory and compliance activities and requirements.

Here, Kyndryl’s Global Cloud Practice Leader and SVP Harish Grama explains how businesses in different industries can further benefit from industry clouds.

Why should businesses invest in industry-specific clouds?

Grama: The short answer is innovation. This is while maintaining cloud best practices and regulatory compliance. Economies and markets are evolving so fast that technology needs to evolve even faster to stay ahead of the game. In financial services industries such as banking and insurance, for example, consumers want the latest services now, but regulatory requirements can be complex and may vary by geographical market. So regulatory compliance is a priority even before considering operations. Then, when it comes to those systems, they need to be state of the art, fit for purpose and scalable to handle challenges down the road.

Being future-ready includes working with the last piece of the puzzle: artificial intelligence. At this point, infusing AI into IT estates to analyze data and manage cybersecurity is no longer a “game changer.” It is the game. But like anything else in technology, you can’t just turn AI loose and let it run wild. We must deploy AI responsibly through systems that incorporate accountability and governance.

How can companies get started?

Grama: You start with understanding and baselining your business requirements - as they relate to security, compliance, resiliency, strategy and business processes. Once you have this clarity, then you can look at available options and decide what industry cloud running on which platform makes the most sense. 

You then establish what we call a Safe Landing Zone for a customer’s data. Let’s use financial services as an example. It begins with being able to speak and understand the customer’s language. That way you can establish a digital staging area that lets you migrate customer data and applications without disrupting their ongoing business operations. It’s important to know the business and industry side before you start applying your technical expertise.

In addition to banking, the healthcare sector is expected to be the next big mover in the industry cloud space.
After financial services, which industries will be the next to embrace industry clouds?

Grama: From what we’re seeing, the next big movers in the industry cloud space will be healthcare, energy, telecommunications and manufacturing. In healthcare — as in every industry — we’re focused on cybersecurity and resilience to protect patient data, to keep hospitals running and to help hospitals recover resiliently from actions by bad actors. But a healthcare industry cloud can harness the power of AI to help drive breakthroughs in gene therapies and personalized medicine, in addition to such things as medical records management to coordinate care and avoid drug interactions.

In the energy and telco sectors, sustainability is a driving force from multiple perspectives, including cost savings, environmental stewardship and regulatory compliance. And in manufacturing, industry clouds can enable operators to rollout centralized and regulation-compliant updates to plant floors in many countries, as well as predict and avoid production line bottlenecks. Similarly, industry clouds in the automotive sector will be critical to the success of autonomous vehicles.

What is the future of industry clouds?

Grama: Public cloud adoption has stalled at about the 50% mark. Customers want the benefits, but they don’t understand how to get there. What they need — and what Kyndryl provides — is a partner who understands their business, appreciates the risks they face and can help take them in the right direction without exhausting their resources. The financial services industry is out in front when it comes to industry cloud transformation because they spend a high percentage of their revenues on IT.

Being able to run AI tools to access mainframe data in a hybrid cloud environment is essential to these customers. So, they need to work with a firm that knows the ins and outs of mainframe systems, but also knows their industry well to integrate cloud systems in ways that complement their legacy investments. Meanwhile, all of this must happen reliably, securely, within regulatory confines and with the ability to scale as needs evolve. It’s an enormous challenge but it’s also what makes this part of our industry so exciting.

Harish Grama

SVP, Global Cloud Practice Leader at Kyndryl