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How Japan’s Financial Institutions Have Embraced Cloud Computing

Silhouette of a man in a suit beside a Yen sign

In recent years we have observed Japan’s banks have embrace cloud computing. The period from 2010 to 2012 saw cloud computing in Japan shifts from a simple buzzword into an essential element of Japan’s financial services IT infrastructure. Today the real world applications of cloud computing in the financial services sector can be felt every day and are a fundamental element in the country’s banking industry.

The expanding use of the cloud in Japanese banks

This increased use of cloud technology in Japan’s financial institutions has led to real changes in IT infrastructure in Japan. Gradually more of the country’s infrastructure has shifted to the cloud, leading to a decreased use of hardware and an increased demand for SaaS and IaaS services. This supports the opinion of many global consultancy firms that predict that the spread of cloud technology throughout the world represents a turning point for many key industries. One of the industries most affected by this paradigm shift without a doubt is the financial services industry. This is because the latest trends in cloud computing technology point to potential advances that will have a lasting impact on Japan’s financial services market.

Common trends

After analyzing the adoption of cloud computing services by Japanese financial institutions and financial services providers, we have spotted several trends that can be useful in determining future paths of growth and expansion for cloud service providers. One of the most common concerns among Japanese financial service providers is the issue of standardization, particularly in the following areas:

- Standard systematized processes
- Standardized IT asset allocation
- Standardized IT asset governance
- Architecture
- Platforms
- Software configuration
- Software builds
- Standard operations
- Standard methodologies for maintenance

The need for standardization in all of these fields is a recurring theme in this market and one of the key steps for cloud service providers will be to come to terms with competitors about standards for the region. We have also observed that Japanese financial institutions have very high expectations for the potential of cloud computing to transform the following areas in their daily operations:

1. SaaS, regarding items and areas that can be commercialized. This includes payment systems and human resources operations.
2. Using cloud computing to procure the powerful processing power needed for temporary operations with a high demand for resources. For example, financial businesses can benefit from using the enormous computing power provided by the cloud to run Monte Carlo simulations.
3. Using the cloud to create shared data centers for smaller financial institutions in order to expand operations and reach a wider consumer base without having to invest in costly infrastructure and data center maintenance.

The concerns and expectations of cloud computing in Japanese banks

There is a high degree of interest in how cloud computing can help optimize financial services and global development. The main goal of adopting cloud technology is creating value, by permitting collaboration and establishing an agile platform for future development. This is an advantage of the technology that GMO Cloud constantly emphasizes. It is also clear that Japanese financial institutions now view many aspects of cloud computing as permanent fixtures in their business model, far from a passing fad.

There are several areas where cloud computing is already commonplace in these businesses. This includes using shared IT platforms for email, website and IT development, sales and customer support and management, and disaster recovery. Cloud computing is also used for data analysis and for the launch of new business operations and projects. This means that Japanese financial institutions are already committed to pursuing and implementing cloud computing in their operations.

This is especially important because one common misconception of cloud technology is that, like many previous technologies that have come and gone, it is somehow a temporary trend. This cannot be farther from the truth. As is evidenced by Japanese financial services providers, cloud computing represents a fundamental paradigm change in business. It is already used as part of core business operations and its use in this market sector is only likely to increase in the future. More importantly, the Japanese tech market has long had a history of being an early adopter of technology, meaning that this points to a worldwide trend in the next decade.

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About the Guest Author:

Nida Rasheed

Nida Rasheed is a freelance writer and owner of an outsourcing company, Nida often finds herself wanting to write about the subjects that are closest to her heart. She lives in Islamabad, Pakistan and can be found on Twitter @nidarasheed.

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