This article will focus on Cloud Reporting for Banks.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Just what is Cloud Reporting?TechTarget defines Cloud Analytics as a service model in which the reporting and analysis process are provided through a public or private cloud.  These solutions are typically offered under a subscription-based pricing model called Software as a Service (SaaS). Gartner defines the six key elements of analytics as data sources, data models, processing applications, computing power, analytic models and sharing or storage of results. In its view, any analytics initiative “in which one or more of these elements is implemented in the cloud” qualifies as cloud analytics.Cloud reporting for banks would include the data warehouse, reporting engine, and storage of the reports in the form of a web portal all running on the cloud. I didn’t think banks were ready for Cloud reportingCloud Security Alliance published a report in march 2015 entitled, “How Cloud is Being Used in the Financial Sector” and came up with four key findings.

  • As banks continue to adopt cloud computing, both private and public clouds are being mixed together
  • Most banks do not have a cloud migration strategy
  • Data security is the number one concern for banks as they consider moving to the cloud
  • Regulations are driving banks to implement specific security measures as they consider migrating to cloud services

That was in 2015.  Accenture just published an article called “GETTING FIT: AGGRESSIVE COST REDUCTION.”  It highlights the fact that banks since 2008 have faced declining revenues, high costs, and developments in digital and regulatory pressure.  Banks no longer have the luxury of owning the entire IT footprint any more. Technology is changing too fast for them to have all the software, hardware, and support on-premise.  In order to cut costs and keep up with technology, banks will be adopting Cloud solutions in huge numbers over the next three years says Accenture.  More regulations are also being put in place to address the data security which helps to assuage bankers’ fear of data breaches.

So what should Cloud reporting for banks include? – An article called “More Strategic CFO?” by Strategic Finance Magazine says that any good corporate performance management (CPM) or reporting solution should satisfy three imperatives.

1      Enhance organizational alignment by integrating planning and reporting to create “one version of the truth” that unifies all decision makers. Getting everyone on the same page involves everybody relying on the same data.  There cannot be multiple data silos with each department coming up with their own numbers.  The financial planning and analysis (FP&A) process will depend on a common data warehouse where all the data is accessed by multiple users.  The budgets, forecasts, balanced scorecards, key performance indicators (KPI’s), and all other relevant reports needs to be consistent.

2      Facilitate informed decision making to increase organization value. The tool set needs to create what-fi scenarios with various possible outcomes and allow for collaboration across multiple departments.  For example, if the bank wants to ramp up loan production, marketing will have to come up with a campaign, asset liability management will have to determine pricing, and human resources may have to hire more bankers.

3      Manage the impact of change and volatility to ensure stability and business growth. The tool will need to produce result quickly.  The bank cannot afford to wait three weeks after month end to see if that loan campaign is achieving the desired results.  What if a new competitor is taking away all of their business.  Do you offer lower rates, ramp up marketing, or simply stop the campaign because it is losing money?

So what Cloud reporting for banks tools are out there?  To get started, the solution should have Excel as the report writer.  Almost every accountant uses Excel to build their reports today.  The solution will need a robust data warehouse to store all of the data and be easily accessed.  Third, and most importantly, the reports need to be able to be accessed via the web by your management team.  Here are a few of the leaders to consider. The Adaptive Suite by Adaptive Insights – This tool is Cloud based only.  You can build ad hoc reports, collaborate with other users, create dashboards, drill-down, and make financial reports.  It runs on an OLAP cube which makes it hard for other visualization tools to access. Host Analytics Business Analytics by Host Analytics – Along with being Cloud based only, you can build ad hoc reports, collaborate with other users, create dashboards, drill-down, and make financial reports.  Host Analytics also runs on an OLAP cube and thus limiting the use of other tools for visualization. Domo by Domo Technologies – Domo is another Cloud only solution that offers the same ad hoc, collaboration, dashboard, drill-down, and financial report features.  DOMO appears to be using AWS Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) and Hadoop to store data in the cloud data warehouse models. BI360 by Solver, Inc. –  BI360 is offered both on-premise and Cloud.  If you start with on-premise, you can always migrate to their Cloud version later on.  All the necessary ad hoc, collaboration, dashboard, drill-down, and financial reporting features are included.  BI360 uses SQL Server for its database engine.  This is a nice feature in that it will allow other visualization tools access. Whether you are still nervous about Cloud reporting solutions or are ready to embrace them whole heartedly, BI360 by Solver is a tool that will grow with your bank’s requirements and complexities.  Solver, Inc. is happy to answer any questions and review BI360’s easy-to-use, Excel-based reporting and forecasting solution for banking users.  Become more nimble in adopting new technologies and reduce your IT footprint costs by investing in Cloud reporting for banks today.