“Communities have become the connective tissue linking customers, partners, and employees to companies and each other. With the next-generation Community Cloud, companies have the intelligence, speed, and engagement to strengthen these bonds like never before”, remarked Nasi Jazayeri, one of the top executives at Salesforce. This in a way highlights the versatility of a Community Cloud and how it can usher in a disruption within the other cloud manifestation- Public, Private and Hybrid models.
Experts say that a Community cloud provides shared infrastructure, security, compliance, governance, and policies. The community cloud infrastructure is shared by a group of organizations belonging to a common industry vertical such as banks, manufacturing, healthcare, insurance, media etc. A community cloud is a combination of software applications, virtualized hardware, storage, network, security infrastructure combined with security policies, compliance, and governance. What it means is via community cloud, one can ‘Connect and collaborate’ with customers, partners, and employees. Build a community for everyone critical to your business ecosystem, from agencies, vendors, and suppliers, to patients, job applicants, and even retail locations, says a note in a Salesforce blog post.
One of the thought leaders and early movers in this space in India is CtrlS’ Cloud 4C arm. CtrlS Datacenters, Founder, Sridhar Pinappureddy sets the context and tone. According to him, “ Community cloud is unique. Let me explain from a vertical perspective and take the banking industry. We have something called ‘Bank- In-A-Box’. This unique next-generation service with enhanced functionality is specifically tailored to meet the growing digital needs of the banking industry with strong underlying security and IT Governance to ensure effective and efficient usage of banking information technology infrastructure.” “CtrlS Banking Community Cloud is designed to tackle the core challenges faced by the Banking Industry from the IT standpoint, giving them complete control with reduced complexities, bulletproof security, increased uptime and lighting fast time to market. At the same time, a 40 percent decrease in pricing makes it an absolute no-brainer for any Banking CIO looking to make a difference in today’s competitive landscape”, adds Sridhar.
VERTICLALIZED COMMUNITY CLOUDS
As we take a deep dive into community cloud and look at its impact vertical wise, and stay with the banking vertical. Experts say that a ‘Banking Community Cloud’ is disruptive and offers the much-needed panacea to challenges faced by a bank in terms of IT. It’s a known fact that Banking CIOs perform a plethora of activities in addition to just managing IT infra and Apps. They are required to embrace disruptive technologies to creating opportunities, gain competitive advantage and enhance efficiencies to benefit the organization. Besides, they are under immense pressure to perform besides powering business with IT and deliver higher performance. Their challenge, however, has been that while a major time is invested in running IT infrastructure and applications the technology providers haven’t been able to offer a full industry solution they need including a single SLA, compliance, security and derive other benefits that a cloud ecosystem has to offer. A Community cloud solves this major challenge of a Banking CIO.
A community cloud really makes the IT infrastructure nimble and agile and they will be able to scale it as they grow. Experts in the industry aver that the Indian Banking System has a history of struggling to cater to the ever-increasing customer base, changing industry guidelines. This results in a constant struggle for BFSI organizations when maintaining business continuity when upgrading to newer technologies, bringing in new applications or opening up new branches. Banking CIOs constantly face issues arising out of technology that becomes obsolete as quickly as it comes to the market. This brings up challenges around reinvestment of costs time and again, regulatory needs and compliance complexities, and the ever-increasing security needs.
All these challenges coupled together give CIOs a tough time in maintaining business continuity and aligning the organizational goals and targets to the transforming technology and competitive market landscape. Over time, banking IT infrastructures have become extremely complex and even the biggest names in the Indian BFSI sector cannot remain unaffected by the challenges in addressing industry-specific needs in a timely and cost-effective manner.
This apart, traditionally, a Bank requires around 25 diverse applications for processes and offerings including ATMs, Credit and Debit Cards, Mobile Apps etc. to serve their business needs, apart from the core banking and regular business apps like CRM and HR. The emphasis on security is vital for the Banking vertical which deals with the most important assets of their customers like their life savings and investments that ensure a better future in today’s economic scenario. If one looks services offered by companies like Cloud4C, they offer proactive protection for these IT applications from disasters like data loss and security breaches, banks usually require more than 40 controls using over 20+ security tools – all of them have been incorporated into Cloud4C banking community cloud.
If we look at a solution like ‘Bank-in-a-Box Solution’, it delivers a reliable, on-demand self-service with rapid elasticity and measured services. In simple words, the Banking Community Cloud enables Banks to optimize costs whilst maintaining desired levels of security, compliance management, and efficiencies. With security being paramount in a banking set up, an on-premise approach will call for heterogeneous asset management form multiple vendors. Even a traditional hybrid or private cloud has its limitations. In this scenario, a community cloud is seen as a boon, particularly the banking industry. Reflecting on this thought, sources in Cloud4C say that it helps banks by managing the overall infrastructure backed by managed services to ensure the Banking CIOs focus on their core business and engage their mind on strategy and transformation, leaving the mundane activities to community cloud provider and it’s a comprehensive engagement taking into ambit the challenging needs of the banks and incorporates all the key aspects that go into delivering a robust system to run banking operations seamlessly.
Reflecting on that Sridhar says, “Banks even with the most efficient of CIOs traditionally take at least 8 to 9 months when launching a new branch from an IT standpoint. With the Cloud4C community Cloud, CIOs have been successful in launching completely IT ready Bank branches in as less as 3 weeks.” Adds BS Rao, VP (Marketing) CtrlS Datacenters, “CtrlS has powered over 16 Banks on its Banking Community Cloud”. CtrlS today powers 300 businesses on its ERP Community Cloud as well.”
A COMMUNITY CLOUD OFFERING ERP
Companies like CtrlS also offers, what they call ‘ ERP Community Cloud’. As it’s a known fact ERP on an on-premise model is rooted in CAPEX and involves a significant business process re-engineering exercise to align the processes in sync with the ERP solution. In this scenario, if one looks at the ‘ERP Community Cloud’, its considered as a big boon. Sources at Cloud4C say that to help businesses overcome the above challenges, CtrlS has designed a unique ERP Community Cloud with a unique architecture with enhanced security (40+ security controls), on-demand scalability, industry best uptime and has features all similar to an on-premises solution. It is specifically tailored to meet the burgeoning needs of the businesses using SAP as their underlying ERP. This Community Cloud offering helps deliver the integration the business demands to scale and grow without limitations supported by CtrlS Auto backup, True High Availability, Cloud, and HANA System Replication (HSR) functionality across multiple zones and regions to ensure seamless business continuity.
A community cloud is clearly a disruption that offers tremendous scope in the cloud space. The testimonials and use cases in demanding verticals such as Banking gives enough proof points on how this phenomenon will snowball into large-scale adoptions at ground zero. Clearly, a community cloud helping in building deep customer relations and its customer centricity will usher in overall higher customer satisfaction scores. There are numerous tangible RoI’s out of a community cloud and one is bound to see huge traction for community cloud in the days ahead. “
Community Cloud : Key Takeaways
|What Community Cloud offers?||Impact & Deliverables|
|High speed to market||A community cloud deployment helps an organization such as a bank launch its operations within 3 weeks, where as conventionally it would have taken them few months to procure the hardware, software licenses and integrate them, test and deploy.|
|Zero Capex||A customer need not worry about procuring hardware in a capex model as cloud provides it on an OPEX model (Pay as you use model)|
|Major cost reduction|
(as much as 40%)
|Since the hardware, storage, security, network component infrastructure including software tools are not sourced by the user company and procured on a OPEX model it results in major cost savings (as much as 40%)|
|Scalability on Demand||Infrastructure can be scaled on click of a mouse, which was|
|Assured Security, Compliance||Security Controls as required|
PCI DSS (Financial Transactions)
|Committed uptime SLA||Uptime Service Level Agreement for a Community Cloud can be as high as 99.995% in case of a Tier-4 Cloud|
|No cost of Annual Maintenance costs (AMC)||Usually the Annual Maintenance costs per year are as follows:|
Hardware: 10% per year
Software: 5 to 10% per year
|No need for Skilled Resources||Community Cloud comes along with Managed Services which help the user company leverage manpower skills from a community cloud provider in the form of Managed Services.|