OpenLink Cloud - A World First
OpenLink Cloud is the world’s first enterprise cloud platform for trading, treasury and risk management, combining the strength and security of the Microsoft Azure platform with OpenLink’s own security and tools to ensure that clients’ systems and data are completely protected at all times. Its value essentially lies in unlocking further power from high-performance systems to deliver improved productivity, responsiveness and innovation.
Recent years have seen worldwide growth in the adoption of Cloud usage across all industry sectors. The results of a 2016 report by Cloud management platform provider Rightscale showed that 95% of surveyed companies had employed some form of Cloud, with 18% using public Cloud, 6% private Cloud and 71% some form of hybrid. Its increasing popularity is reflected in in market growth and value: The technology research company Gartner, Inc suggests that the worldwide market for public Cloud will grow by 18% in 2017 and will be worth $246.8 billion by the end of the year – up from $209.2 billion in 2016.
Energy and commodity-intensive businesses
Energy and commodity-intensive businesses have been among the forefront of those adopting Cloud-based solutions of one kind or another. There are a number of factors behind this. The narrowing of margins and increasing levels of competition in the sector are driving the adoption of proprietary analytics and the insights they provide; Cloud deployments of ETRM (energy trading and risk management) solutions allow firms to adopt analytics and data management solutions across various disparate areas including logistics, supply-and-demand data and forward curves. The so-called big data phenomenon has put current infrastructure under considerable pressure and here Cloud is providing a cost-effective method of managing what Gartner calls the three Vs of data: volume, variety and velocity. Energy and commodity-intensive companies have been quick to appreciate that the Cloud is not just useful in enabling special one-off projects, but it also means that routine tasks such as end-of-day or quarterly reports can be conducted more quickly. Finally, Cloud-enabled systems often have more intuitive user interfaces, meaning that traders and risk managers are far less dependent on the IT department for the necessary output, which leads to a more efficient workforce.
Corporate treasury departments, on the other hand, tend to be less homogenous that energy and commodity companies: they often have multiple systems in place for cash management, risk, credit, debt, investment management, FX and collateral and so on, sometimes outsourcing these on an individual basis. Treasury was traditionally not seen as a strategic force in the business – but this picture has changed significantly in recent years and particularly in the aftermath of the financial crisis. It is now recognised as a more strategic part of the business, and the commoditised, low-cost point solutions that were previously attractive can no longer provide the basis for shaping business operations. True enterprise- level Cloud solutions, however, can give a corporation greater visibility into all its exposures across all asset classes, which is essential for proactive risk management and provides all the data needed to make decisions in real time, and is invaluable when treasurers are presenting data to the board.
Forward-thinking and innovative treasury departments are migrating to integrated treasury management solutions embracing all the many and varied aspects of their work. IT departments, most of whom are under continual pressure to reduce costs, welcome the benefits of a single enterprise solution rather than a multiple point solution, and this is provided by the simplicity and power of the Cloud.
Keir Walker, Senior Research Associate, Financial Management & GRC, Aberdeen Group
Cloud adoption rates are steadily growing within treasury departments as treasurer’s worldwide look for technology that simplifies and streamlines their most important functions.
One of the most obvious advantages of Cloud-based solutions is that they offer users several ways to overcome some of the challenges of IT management. IT infrastructure procurement can be outsourced, internal resources redeployed to more productive, value-added activities and systems support and maintenance can be streamlined. In a Cloud environment, the solution provider is responsible for managing hardware obsolescence and ensuring performance for peak requirements. As around 70% of purchased, on-premise hardware capacity is used for peak requirements, this means enormously improved efficiency and cost- savings: a medium-sized OpenLink client, for example, with average IT needs and expenditure, can expect average overall savings from cost and productivity improvements of 33%. Fewer on-premise servers mean that IT personnel are able to spend more time on strategic operations or pilot schemes with individual departments or traders.