Cloudy with a chance of SaaS: Covid-19 has accelerated lift-off into the cloud for financial market players

Cloudy with a chance of SaaS: Covid-19 has accelerated lift-off into the cloud for financial market players

Writing is on the wall for on-premises IT operations. Image: Photographer: Mike Kane/Bloomberg At the end of April 2020, just as the world was settling into hard lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella delivered the company’s quarterly earnings report.

“We’ve had two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months,” she said. “From remote teamwork and learning, to sales and customer service, to critical cloud infrastructure and security — we are working alongside customers every day to help them adapt and stay open for business in a world of remote everything.”

That pace of change has continued over the last 18 months, cementing this brave new world of “remote everything” and accelerating tech megatrends such as cloud computing with its three iterations of Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). The tech weather forecast remains distinctly cloudy, with reports coming in fast and furious of cloud growth north of 20% year on year. According to the latest forecast from Gartner , worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services will grow at 23.1% to $332.3 billion this year, up from $270 billion in 2020.

Michelle de Beer, managing director of South Africa-based software company Securities & Trading Technology (STT), says the company is supporting a lot more cloud-hosted environments lately. STT has been operating since 1985, providing software and technology solutions for players in the financial markets such as central banks, clearing houses, stock exchanges, corporate banks and central securities depository participants. The company, for example, supports 14 stock exchanges globally, including the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the Nairobi Securities Exchange and the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange.

“Our suite of software solutions has evolved over time, matching what financial markets need, and providing tailored products,” she says. “In terms of where we are going now? Definitely cloud native.”

De Beer says moving STT away from having to house its own server and physical infrastructure to cloud-based solutions was an obvious decision for cost saving for both the company and for its clients.

“It is so much more cost effective than to have in-house IT systems with massive data centres, where your costs could spiral. Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) eliminates these huge capital expenditure items and even curbs operational expenses,” she says.

Sudden surge

SaaS has been around since the late 1990s when Salesforce and its mantra […]

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