Migration to SaaS and cloud banking infrastructure: Analysing the APAC shift

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Migration to SaaS and cloud banking infrastructure: Analysing the APAC shift


This content is contributed or sourced from third parties but has been subject to Finextra editorial review.

The financial landscape in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is on the cusp of a significant transformation. Traditionally anchored by legacy systems, such as mainframes and AS400, APAC banks are now poised for a paradigm shift towards Cloud banking infrastructures.

In fact, 80% of major banking organisations have already implemented cloud and SaaS programs. According to a report by the Boston Consulting Group, the region's total expenditure on cloud is projected to hit USD 200 billion by 2024. There are benefits and some potential challenges to this collective shift.

Operational and economic drivers

In terms of the benefits, the allure of increased operational efficiency is undeniable. Migrating to cloud-based platforms eradicates the cumbersome processes tied to on-premises updates — processes that often jeopardise service continuity. The cost implications of sustaining and modernising legacy systems can also become prohibitively expensive in the long run.

Cloud platforms, particularly within a SaaS framework, present a more predictable, cost-effective alternative, subtly moving banks away from capital-intensive expenditures to more manageable operational costs. Yet, it is the unparalleled scalability and flexibility of the cloud that truly stand out.

In an era marked by volatile transaction volumes and the constant drive to innovate, cloud solutions afford banks the agility to adapt resources promptly. Additionally, in a market driven by customer-centricity, the seamless digital experiences enabled by cloud platforms are not merely a luxury but an imperative.

Complexities of migration

Despite such benefits, the transition is not without its intricacies. A top concern is data security and compliance. The APAC region, marked by its diverse regulatory tapestry, demands that banks ensure their cloud solutions are in stringent compliance with local mandates, especially concerning data protection and residency.

The process of migration, especially from legacy systems to newer cloud infrastructures, is laden with intricate technical challenges. Not only does this entail a rigorous process, but also demands meticulous attention to ensure the integrity of data throughout the transition. Importantly, any potential downtimes need to be minimised to ensure continuous service to customers, and precautionary measures must be put in place to safeguard against any risk of data loss or breaches.

Beyond the obvious technical complications lies the equally daunting challenge of managing the human aspect of this digital shift. Banks find themselves in a position where they need to thoroughly train their staff to adeptly navigate and operate these modern systems. It is crucial that banks are selective in their cloud banking technology partners; choosing a partner with deep experience and expertise in the region will help to alleviate data security risks.

Regional considerations: Singapore and Pakistan

There are also specific considerations unique to each region. Singapore, renowned for its strategic location and advanced technological ecosystem, has firmly established itself as a leading fintech hub in the Asia-Pacific region. Regulatory authorities in Singapore have been particularly forward-thinking.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), for instance, has not only recognised the potential and importance of cloud technologies but has also taken proactive measures to frame and delineate clear guidelines for cloud adoption. Such initiatives by the MAS provide banks with a clearer roadmap and offer them greater confidence as they integrate cloud solutions into their operations.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, there is an undeniable wave of enthusiasm for modernisation sweeping the financial sector - in the third quarter of fiscal year 2023, overall e-banking transactions rose by 4.3% in volume and 10.7% in value. However, the State Bank of Pakistan has set forth specific guidance to combat the accompanying rise in digital fraud. Banks are now responsible for losses in customer funds stemming from delayed remedial actions or control measures, increasing the importance of digital fraud prevention and mitigation.

Other regional considerations

Australia’s approach to the integration of modern banking technologies has been largely shaped by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). The APRA has set a clear path for financial institutions looking to make the shift to cloud infrastructures. Such clarity from regulatory bodies often provides institutions with confidence and structure for major technological transitions.

However, cybersecurity remains a major issue. For Australia, the task is twofold: not only must banks and financial institutions adhere to APRA’s guidelines, but they must also invest continuously and remain on high alert, proactively updating their security protocols and ensuring that they are equipped to counteract any potential cyber threats.

Lastly, nations like Indonesia and the Philippines, buoyed by a vast yet traditionally underserved banking populace, see cloud solutions as a means to bridge this gap. However, they must first overcome infrastructural constraints and seek greater regulatory clarity.

In summary, the APAC region's shift from legacy systems to SaaS/Cloud banking infrastructures signifies more than just technological advancement. It underscores a broader, strategic move towards modernisation and excellence in customer service. Navigating this intricate journey demands a blend of astute strategic vision, deep regional insights, and an unwavering commitment to innovation.

Cloud banking technology, supplied by SaaS providers, is a vital vehicle for digital transformation and preventing fraud in APAC - as explored further in this blog by BPC.


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This content is contributed or sourced from third parties but has been subject to Finextra editorial review.