Here come the Lemmings… 

UK Finance Sector: Now re-Azured, and ready to be Amazed?

It never ceases to surprise me how fast the perceptions in the UK mid-tier financial services market can change. The “inherited wisdom” of the sector can be static for years, and then bang!, it changes almost overnight. I’ve occasionally been overheard (when I’m in a more critical mood) describing our niche market – admittedly rather disrespectfully – as “In-Bred, and Pack Led”  ;-).

After 7 years of constantly working to change perceptions about outsourcing and Cloud, around March this year Craig and I and the consultants working through BEC and the Clover index started reporting a trend in our mid-tier, primarily Investment Management focussed client and readership community. Suddenly the prevailing “taboo” surrounding the use of Public Cloud for highly critical, production and security sensitive systems began to lift. And man, did things move fast from there….

We saw some major UK FS firms go public with a “Cloud First” strategy, and some of these Tier 1’s seemed to actually internalise the view that if they don’t embrace the flexibility and versatility that a truly agile development platform can offer, then the disrupters will eat their lunch. Some are even putting a deadline of 2020 on the transformation completion – change or die. After broadly endorsing Cloud adoption in FCA 16/5, the regulator was also seen publicly to be actually using the Cloud themselves too. The main Public Cloud vendors released “FCA Compliant” T&C’s … and now things are REALLY starting to accelarate.

As is the way with every tech hype cycle (famously charted out and copyrighted by Gartner years ago), having bombarded the UK FS market for the past 4 years during the Peak of Inflated Expectations, Public Cloud seems now to have sharply traversed the Trough of Disillusionment (security, risk etc), and now we are actually heading steadily up the Slope of Enlightenment and in many cases our clients are finally coming into view of the Plateau of Productivity – ie. real world realisation of, and desire for, the potential benefits. The flood gates have begun to open, the blockages removed, and (for those of you old enough to remember the great fun early computer game) finally the pack of Lemmings has begun its journey home.

We are now doing more work to help our clients engage with the best Public Cloud aligned MSPs than ever.

So now the consensus view agrees. Now what?

Well, if you ask me the next big challenge you will face is going to be laying your hands on experienced Public Cloud adoption, migration, transformation and application development resources – both from the vendors themselves and from their experienced partners.

As award winning specialists in analysing and reviewing the UK Cloud Services Provider market (as a part of the ever ongoing maintenance of The Clover Index), we think we have as good an idea as anyone of which IT partners out there actually have large quantities of internal staff who have genuine experience in successfully completing Public Cloud adoption and migration programmes, those who can actually manage a mission critical workload using toolsets in the Public Cloud – and the even smaller subset who combine those skillsets with specific Financial Services sector experience.

Many of these firms (and the Public Cloud vendors themselves) are already being stretched to respond to the early demand levels.

We count less than 10 CSPs in the UK market who are REALLY doing it, and even fewer with extensive UK FS experience. Our best guess is that there are about 2000 skilled individual resources out there in the market now. Some firms have a small bunch of really expert staff with some fantastic FS experience. One firm has over 500 experienced DevOps guys in the UK, and one clever firm uses a substantial UK front end of 300 staff to funnel work to a huge pool of EU based skills.

So, if you are in a UK FS firm thinking Public Cloud, then take note: There are real and substantial commercial benefits (including subsidies) from engaging early with the Public Cloud vendors and their experienced partners and THESE WILL NOT LAST. In fact soon – the sign on the door will read “Please take a number and get in line”.

If you are interested in engaging directly with the AWS guys who face off to UK FS but you missed our AWS InTheClouds@TheShard event in Septemberthen reach out for a free workshop with us to start exploring the lessons learned by your peers so far.

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