Over the past few years, more organizations have gone all in with migrations to the public cloud. But for some “without a concrete strategy, it has led to some obvious challenges with respect to measuring the real value from their cloud investments,” says Ricky Sundrani, a partner in the pricing assurance practice at Everest Group.

Cut to one of the most significant concerns across enterprises today: rising cloud costs.

“Many enterprises are getting some unwelcome sticker shock surprises for their cloud services that are coming in much higher than estimated and blowing up the business cases they used to justify their program in the first place,” says Andy Sealock, senior partner in the advisory and transformation practice at West Monroe.

While inadequate planning at the start of the cloud journey is a major driver of this disconnect, there are plenty of others: limited visibility into cloud consumption and patterns, unchecked cost leakage, cloud sprawl, lack of workload optimization, and weak demand management policies, to name a few. More than two-thirds of organizations are not realizing the full value of their cloud investments, according to an Everest Group survey of CIOs.

The business case for cloud remains the same: greater scalability, increased efficiency, better data security, increased reliability and resilience — and, potentially, lower costs. But realizing those benefits requires deliberate and active management of cloud deals.

There are a number of actions IT leaders can take to maximize the value of their current and future cloud investments, from well before partners are narrowed down to long after the contracts have been signed. The following dozen tips are worth adopting.

Assemble a cross-functional cloud team

One of the biggest missteps when pursuing cloud opportunities is failing to make these cross-functional efforts from the top down.

“When cloud transformation is driven by a CXO office without close involvement of business units and development teams, finer nuances are missed, leading to ineffective cloud adoption from a cost and efficiency perspective,” says Mukesh Ranjan, vice president of IT services at Everest Group.

IT leaders should assemble a team with representatives of all key stakeholder groups during the planning stages of the cloud transformation journey, Ranjan says. A 2022 PwC survey found that companies that were achieving transformational benefits from the cloud and reporting fewer barriers to value typically involved five or more functions at the start of their cloud projects. Doing so later on in migration, though less ideal, is still an option to ensure that 360 degree view of enterprise cloud requirements and usage.

Define baselines and (realistic) expectations

Too many organizations lack a full understanding of the benefits they expect to gain from the cloud vis-à-vis their existing environment. That requires assessing the value of the current environment, the value they seek from cloud adoption, and timelines for achieving that value.  Only then can they select the providers, solutions, and expertise that best align with their cloud goals, says Ranjan.

It’s important to take off the rose-colored glasses during this process. “IT leaders must be realistic in how much of their premise-based compute footprint can be migrated to the cloud and how quickly this can happen,” says Sealock.

Build a full business case

During the pandemic, many organizations rushed to the cloud — and for obvious reasons. But migrating to the cloud without a well-thought-out business case is not an optimal strategy. A hurried lift-and-shift approach typically results in increased costs over the long term. During a migration frenzy, companies can take shortcuts that result in technical debt that dilutes the impact cloud transformation can have.

“Think of cloud as a modernization journey and not just a migration,” Ranjan advises. “Undertake application modernization initiatives such as refactoring, rearchitecting, replatforming, and replacing as needed to optimize applications running on cloud.”

Analyze (and negotiate) cloud contract terms upfront

Many IT leaders lack the relevant market data required to conduct informed negotiations with cloud vendors.

“This could be pertaining to expected discounts, more favorable terms and conditions offered to certain buyers, and better transformation timelines, among other things,” says Sundrani.

Marina Aronchik, a  partner in the law firm Mayer Brown’s technology and IP transactions practice, recommends accounting for the terms in cloud agreements as part of the broader evaluation of potential cloud solutions and providers. 

“In the current economic environment, customers may have a unique opportunity to secure more flexible and favorable contractual terms,” Aronchik says. “To do so, IT organizations should build time into the process for reasonable engagement with several cloud providers on a competitive basis, or a single cloud provider with a reasonable opportunity to pivot to an alternative solution if needed.”

Read the fine print

The value of a cloud contract is not fully represented in the fee schedule. What the customer may assume to be “permitted use,” the cloud provider may deem “excess use” or an “overage.”

“To maximize total value of a cloud contract, IT leaders should look for contractual and technical clarity on the metrics that are used to calculate relevant fees, reliable tools for monitoring consumption, and the methodology for addressing actual or potential excess use,” says Aronchik.

Beware of minimum commitments

It can be tempting to agree to certain volume or spending levels to secure deeper discounts for ongoing cloud usage. But it’s one of the leading causes of stranded value in cloud contracts.

“It’s important to not overcommit on the minimum commitments,” Sealock warns. “This often depends on an enterprise being able to accurately predict how much of their premise-based footprint they can actually migrate to the cloud and at what rate.”

If an IT organization runs into issues that delay or prevent moving on-premises systems to the cloud, and thus miss a minimum commitment, there will be costs involved. “Longer term commitments, use of ‘sticky’ native services may drive larger contract discounts but also impact your technology plans,” says Sealock.

Leave no cloud stones unturned

There are a number of internal factors that can impact cloud value realization. “Challenge your IT department to pull all levers for efficient cloud usage,” advises Sealock. There may be an opportunity to refactor applications to make them more efficient users of cloud resources, adopt cloud native services instead of lifting and shifting existing system to IaaS, or move to SaaS options as part of ongoing application rationalization.

Increasing the focus on application modernization is crucial to extracting the full value of cloud, says Ranjan.

Invest in a cloud management platform

Real-time visibility across the cloud environment goes a long way in preventing unexpectedly huge bills from cloud providers. But “cloud pricing and ordering options are at a sufficient level of complexity that it is beyond the capacity of a ‘smart person with a spreadsheet’ to manage effectively,” says Sealock.

There are numerous cloud cost management tools on the market from established players and startups alike. These tools should have real-time interfaces to the cloud service providers’ pricing engines and be able to automatically match the enterprise’s cloud usage patterns with the right cloud services (e.g., IaaS, PaaS, native) and configurations (e.g., service instance type/size, storage tier). Sealock advises evaluating multiple platforms, looking for the following attributes:

Financial (in addition to technical and operational) management capabilitiesIntegration with automation tools for orchestrating technical deploymentsCapacity to pull usage from both cloud and on-premises environmentsAbility to model what on-premises environments would look like (and cost) on multiple cloudsEngineering support to ensure the tools remain properly configured over time

Secure scarce cloud management talent

“Cloud pricing can be very complex and dynamic and is highly dependent on usage,” says Sealock. Without the proper governance, unnecessary costs can quickly accumulate. Adopting a cloud management platform is step one, but these tools are themselves complex. IT leaders must also recruit technology professionals who know how to use cloud management platforms to continually refine cloud service usage to meet enterprise SLAs at the lowest costs.

Enterprises  are seeing premiums for cloud skills outpacing those for standard IT infrastructure skills, according to research by Everest Group.

“Cloud expertise is in short supply, but without in-house experience it is difficult to avoid the wasteful pitfalls,” Sealock says. “Invest in the people to use the cloud tools properly who can also design the policies, processes, and procedures of a cloud governance framework.”

In some cases, IT leaders will create a cloud center of excellence that can be leveraged across multiple lines of business. 

Get serious about demand management

Ease of use and self-provisioning are two of the big benefits of using the cloud, but they also open the door to unmitigated (and sometimes invisible) cloud sprawl. IT organizations must create and communicate clear policies and processes for cloud demand management.

“Training can be used to increase the socialization of the policies and processes to users, but good compliance also requires those policies to be enforced within the programmed workflow of the tools,” says Sealock, who suggests putting some teeth into demand management. “Communicate top down that there will be smart constraints on cloud usage that will be reinforced via training but also codified in the workflow of their systems.”

Address overruns right away

Some IT organizations may view cost overruns as inevitable. But ignoring them is a mistake. “They do not get better on their own,” says Sealock. “It takes action to change the dynamic.”

Unexpected — or worse, inexplicable — cloud costs are a red flag. Understanding the root cause of the usage and addressing it as soon as possible is important. “You do not want to discourage cloud usage, but you must insist that the usage be smart, deliberate, and cost-effective,” Sealock says.

Continuously monitor and measure cloud value

Having clearly defined SLAs to measure performance against expected value is crucial. “Unless enterprises have a well-built process to continuously monitor and measure value against their stated goals, they will slip off in their transformation journey,” says Ranjan.

Cloud vendors, consultants, and other partners are likely to keep pushing more cloud, but its critical for IT leaders to periodically re-evaluate the cloud march to ensure the organization can achieve the intended value. 

Budgeting, Cloud Computing, Managed Cloud Services

After moving resources and applications to the cloud, pioneering enterprises in the finance and telecommunications sectors have been stepping up efforts to dive into the cloud. They are trying to leverage innovation on the cloud to drive exponential business growth.

Huawei Cloud has suggested three ways for enterprises to dive into cloud: tapping into more cloud-native technologies, developing more application innovation on cloud, and drawing on state-of-the-art expertise and experience.

Enterprises have encountered many challenges as they seek to dive into cloud:

Difficult technologies: Cloud native comes with a wide range of tech stacks. There are a range of different infrastructure, applications, data, AI, and IoT technologies to be mastered, which can be challenging for many enterprises.Complex scenarios: As digital transformation continues, enterprises have to deal with more and more scenarios where different business needs are involved, where there are no unified standards, and where successful experience is hard to share. This hinders innovation.Challenges acquiring state-of-the-art experience: There have been no platforms available to consolidate and replicate state-of-the-art expertise and experience from industry pioneers.

How Huawei Cloud Helps Enterprises Dive into Cloud with Three Approaches

Huawei Cloud Stack is a cloud solution provided by Huawei Cloud to help large enterprises dive into cloud. Deployed on-premises, Huawei Cloud Stack enables enterprises to establish a secure, reliable, and efficient hybrid cloud with improved security and compliance and continuous service innovation.

To help enterprises rise to the challenges, and in response to the shift from cloud migration to a dive into cloud, Huawei Cloud Stack provides three key approaches to simplify technologies, develop easier specific-scenario solutions, and share experience.

Setting Up a Preferred Digital Foundation

Over the past two years, Huawei has set up teams dedicated to serving customers in different industries. Huawei Cloud Stack has established a preferred digital foundation to enable these dedicated teams to cooperate with Huawei’s internal ICT solution organizations, so they can jointly help customers speed up digital transformation.

We enhanced coordination with ICT products and helped adopt different technologies to provide product portfolios tailored to more customer needs.

We developed cloud-native disaster recovery and security protection capabilities to free customers from having to spend time maintain infrastructure, so they can better focused on innovation.

Plus, we standardized and visualized the processes of AI development, application integration, and data governance, and harnessed aPaaS capabilities to offer industry-specific expertise as APIs that can be called with ease.

Providing Standardized Scenario-specific Solutions

To accommodate the diverse needs of enterprises in different industries, Huawei Cloud Stack aims to provide scenario-specific solutions by tapping into continuous operations and cooperating with ecosystem partners.

We identify consistent customer needs in similar scenarios and integrate hardware, cloud service offerings, networking, configurations, and applications into a standard solution that can easily meet those needs.

We work with our ecosystem partners to pre-test the industry applications included in the solution and update them continuously to keep up to date with the most current customer needs. Only proven solutions are launched to market.

We also consolidate helpful procedures and tools such as an application migration procedure consisting of 12 steps in four stages and an automated migration tool. This helps standardize the process of continuous operations.

Distilling Experience into Professional Services

Huawei Cloud Stack provides over 70 professional services in 8 categories to distill Huawei’s own experience in digital transformation and their experience enabling digital transformation for customers in diverse industries. We provide the services for customers in numerous industries, services that help them build, move to, use, and manage cloud. Additionally, in the Huawei Cloud Stack zone of Huawei’s KooGallery, an online store, there are more than 500 popular applications available for enterprises to use. It is expected to act as an important application distribution platform for enterprises in the future. At HUAWEI CONNECT 2022, Huawei worked with Financial Information Technology Institute (FITI) to release the Modern Financial Core System White Paper, aiming to share the experience and expertise of developing modern core systems in the finance sector with customers across all sectors.

Huawei Cloud Stack has helped many customers dive into the cloud to unleash digital power. For the government of Foshan, a prefecture-level city in China, Huawei Cloud Stack’s Astro low-code development platform helped government application developers use iteration and visual orchestration to quickly create and roll out applications. Thanks to its low skill requirements, the platform also allows officers who want to use applications to develop applications by themselves. This means much higher efficiency. Huawei Cloud Stack’s mining industrial Internet solution integrates big data, application governance, IoT, ecosystem setup, and other technological advances. It has helped many mining companies, like Hongliulin Coal Mine of Shaanxi Coal and Chemical Industry Group, transform their mining operations. Also, using Huawei Cloud Stack’s professional data governance service, HydroLancang, a subsidiary of the China Huaneng Group, set up a data governance system that unifies data standards and lets data empower operations in the energy sector.

New Huawei Cloud Stack Version Unveiled to Unleash Digital Power

Over the next decade, more enterprises will dive into the cloud to reap more benefits and positive outcomes. As a trusted partner of enterprises in their cloud journey, Huawei Cloud has adopted two strategies:

Think cloud native and act cloud native in composable delivery, data-driven operations, DevOps development, service architecture design, and security and trustworthiness assurance to help enterprises promote application modernization.Explore a new model for industrial-scale AI development to operationalize AI in core applications of enterprises in diverse sectors.

Huawei Cloud Stack 8.2 was launched in line with Huawei Cloud’s strategies. This new version has been improved in many ways:

We have reinforced the infrastructure’s capabilities, including cloud-edge synergy and all-scenario disaster recovery. The cloud-native architecture they are built on provides a solid, resilient foundation for digital transformation. We developed a new security protection system consisting of Cloud Security Brain and seven layers of protection. Cloud Security Brain is a cloud-native security operations center backed by Huawei Cloud’s international security operations experience. It accesses more than 200 kinds of security data and provides over 100 security event response plans to offer actionable insights into risks and help close 99% of security events in minutes. The seven-layer system of protection provides comprehensive protection for physical machines, cloud servers, applications, and data.AI training, AI Cortex, and industrial Internet solutions have been put in place to drive cloud innovation and intelligent upgrade. The CityCore solution and Pangu mining model infuse AI into city governance and industrial development, at scale, and with continuous iteration and optimization.We have launched scenario-specific solutions such as industrial Internet for mining, a new financial distributed core, integrated finance management, and digital twins for cities. We also worked with third parties to release Modern Financial Core System White Paper, Financial Digital Transformation Best Practice White Paper, and Introduction to City Digital Twins. This way, we have distilled expertise and suited core needs of customers in the industry-specific scenarios.

Huawei Cloud Stack 8.2 helps enterprises in more sectors to reap more benefits from modernization and smart transformation:

Shenzhen’s Futian District leveraged Huawei Cloud Stack’s AI-powered CityCore solution to enable automated allocation of service tickets. Ticket allocation that took 4 minutes now needs just 50 seconds, and the accuracy reaches over 90%.Hongliulin Coal Mine of Shaanxi Coal and Chemical Industry Group worked in tandem with Huawei Cloud Stack to set up an intelligent integrated management and control platform with an industrial Internet architecture for mining. The platform centrally captures huge volumes of device data, provides over 100 device models and 400 operational models, and offers data insights into mining operations. This means distilled mining expertise, less manpower, and more secure and efficient operations.

Huawei Cloud Stack is now used to accelerate digital transformation for more than 4,800 customers across 150 countries around the world, customers including more than 800 e-Government cloud customers and 300 financial institutions. We have released more than 30 scenario-specific solutions tailored to multiple sectors, such as government, finance, transportation, energy, and manufacturing. The solutions include unified government affair management, financial intelligent data lake, and smart airport solutions.

In the future, Huawei Cloud Stack will continue to innovate to lay a more powerful foundation for digital transformation of every sector while joining hands with more customers to dive into cloud and unleash digital power.

Digital Transformation

Inflation, high energy prices, and a looming recession have dampened consumer purchasing. All this while retailers are still dealing with pandemic-related disruptions to supply chains and consumer shopping habits. To win back consumers and protect profit margins, retailers need to optimize operations across the enterprise. That means fixing their supply chains, understanding shifting consumer preferences, and offering modern ecommerce options, while streamlining processes to improve productivity, staying secure and preventing fraud. They need to do all of this fast and without breaking the budget.   

Increasingly, retail CIOs and their C-suite colleagues view a cloud-first approach as the answer to their challenges, with Microsoft as the preferred partner of choice.  

“Leadership teams are looking at Microsoft to help them bring agility and resilience from the go-to-market perspective on new products, and also to reduce total cost of ownership,” says Chandrashekar Saligram, Global Head of Cloud Transformation for SAP on Azure at TCS. 

A cloud-first strategy will help retailers accelerate digital transformation of supply chain processes while integrating with existing infrastructure and applications, including SAP, point of sale, procurement, and customer loyalty. Removing silos will enable greater data accessibility and democratization, helping employees across the entire organization better leverage the power of data in decision making.  

“Data democratization can help improve collaboration between various functions across the retail value chain, such as retail stores, warehouses, and the supply chain functions, to ensure accurate stock replenishments or fulfillment of rush orders,” says Saligram. “It can also improve customer service through visibility of customer preferences and feedback to the respective functions.” 

Microsoft Cloud connects the dots 

The Microsoft Cloud encompasses a set of solutions that can integrate a retailer’s core systems, whether they are on-premises or in a public or private cloud. Microsoft tools and services, including Microsoft Power Platform, Microsoft Azure Data Catalogue, Azure Synapse Analytics, Azure Data Lake Storage, Azure Database Migration Services, and Azure Stream Analytics, enable real-time availability and a unified view across functions by integrating large volumes of data, including SKUs, customers, shipments, and orders.  

“It’s imperative to integrate these systems to give a seamless experience to employees across a variety of business scenarios, such as inventory management or cash flow,” says Manoj Wagh, Business Analyst with TCS focusing on SAP on Microsoft Cloud. “And you need real-time visibility. Delays in getting data is one of the biggest challenges retailers currently face.” 

In addition, Microsoft 365 cloud-based collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Outlook can be integrated into SAP S4/HANA, and help improve employee productivity through real-time messaging, video and voice calling, screen sharing, and document sharing. Employees can make quicker decisions to resolve issues at operational and tactical levels. 

TCS can help retail customers modernize their SAP environment on Microsoft Cloud through advisory services that help accelerate the digital transformation and innovation journey through real-time integration with third-party systems. TCS, being Microsoft Partner of the Year for SAP on Azure, brings in significant retail industry experience to drive S/4HANA transformation on the Microsoft Cloud. For retailers, the result is a cloud-first approach that helps them extend and innovate across stakeholders. 

Learn more about TCS digital transformation solutions for SAP on Microsoft Cloud. 

Digital Transformation, Retail Industry

The retail industry is always in motion. Shifting macro-economic influences and changing customer expectations spark new business models, channel strategies, and strategic partnerships. To keep pace, retailers require a strong digital core that delivers powerful data-driven insights while staying compliant, maintaining security, and preventing fraud.  

Shree Venkat, chief architect at TCS, and GV Krishnan, Head of Solutions & Sales for the TCS Microsoft Unit in the UK and Ireland, note that business transformation, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), can help retailers innovate across four primary areas:  

Customer experience: Consumers want to engage with a retailer in a manner that eases their path through the shopping transaction.  TCS is a pioneer in delivering cloud-based solutions that facilitate hyper-personalization, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 with Microsoft Dynamics 365 CoPilot, which turns service agents into superagents.  With Copilot, which brings next-generation AI capabilities and natural language processing to Dynamics 365, agents can quickly craft a draft email or chat response to customers with a single click. 

These insights can be used to deliver exclusive pricing offers, personalized call center access, and other rewards that build customer loyalty. AI/ML-based solutions like  Microsoft Cognitive Services helps further drive bespoke preferential services through sophisticated vision, language, speech, sentiment and contextual analysis to make bots more informed and more conversational.  

Retailers are also improving customer experiences by removing friction. Digitally driven innovations such as automated self-checkouts, pick and go, and contactless payments are helping in making happy customers. “When retailers embark on this journey, they gain more control in providing optimum customer experience and give their customers a sense of affiliation at the same time” says Shree Venkat. 

Store and channel operations: Customers have fully embraced ecommerce, social commerce, mobile commerce, and services such as buy online/pick up in store (BOPIS) and buy online/pick up at curb (BOPAC). 5G and edge computing technologies are helping retailers integrate and optimize in-store experiences. TCS specializes in AI-powered vision technologies like Microsoft Azure Percept to create a smart retail store solution that helps with visitor recognition, foot traffic analysis, store design planning, product quantity/quality checks, and more.  

Supply chain & sustainability transformation: Integration of data and digital systems with suppliers is a quintessential requirement for retailers to embark on intelligent supply chain initiatives. IoT & AI/ML-powered technologies can enable business capabilities such as just-in-time inventory management and auto-replenishment, which in addition to reducing waste and saving money also help retailers track, record, manage, reduce, and report emissions.  (In this whitepaper, TCS and Microsoft explore how to embark on supply chain decarbonization initiatives.)  

Employee experience: Shree Venkat believes the above three areas of business transformation seamlessly and quickly empower retail staff. Low-code/no-code technologies like Microsoft Power Platform, Azure Communication Services, and Azure OpenAI enable organizations to quickly capture customer sentiment, search for and respond to customer queries, and pass on the information to their frontline employees, providing real-time data about stocks, product insights, customer profiles, their buying patterns, and other behaviors to help them deliver better experiences across multiple channels. Training employees to use new digital tools and services is a critical step in the transformation journey for retailers. 

A powerful partnership 

Retailers face many challenges in keeping pace with rapidly changing markets and consumer demands. TCS along with Microsoft empower retailers to maximize the value derived from their Microsoft Cloud investments. The TCS Algo Retail™ framework, together with Microsoft Cloud for Retail, helps retail organizations transform into resilient, adaptable enterprises. 

TCS offers a rich portfolio of intellectual property using machine vision, conversational assistants, predictive analytics, machine learning, AI, and other capabilities on Microsoft Cloud. They include:  

TCS Optumera™— A strategic retail optimization suite that enables integrated, intelligent merchandising and supply chain decisions TCS OmniStore™— A future commerce platform that enables unified customer journeys catering to new channels and brand expansions TCS Optunique™— An enterprise personalization solution that delivers contextual hyper-personalization across omnichannel journeys 

These solutions help retailers enhance customer engagement, accelerate the launch of new products and services, build differentiation, and unlock business value.  

Learn how to master your cloud transformation journey with TCS and Microsoft Cloud.  

Cloud Computing, Retail Industry

Organizations are racing to modernize their legacy technology, architecture, infrastructure, and databases. Modernization often revolves around cloud migration. But not every approach provides the same ROI. Before committing to a migration strategy, organizations must identify the best approach for their business requirements.  

Each approach comes with its own benefits, time commitments, and cost. This whitepaper and on-demand webcast will help organizations calculate the ROI from adopting a given approach by answering the following questions: 

Where am I spending big dollars today to run my applications in a legacy mainframe? What are the benefits of each of the cloud modernization approaches? How much does each approach cost, in terms of both money and time? 

Create a business case for modernizing your legacy applications to the Microsoft Cloud with this whitepaper and webcast from TCS. 

Cloud Computing, Retail Industry

Now, more than ever, global businesses have an opportunity. With people and infrastructure touching every point on the planet — and new technology empowering us to radically change the way we consume resources — we can lead the world toward a better, more sustainable future. 

That optimism stems from three core beliefs: 

We can build our business ecosystems to promote environmental stewardship, achieving ambitious goals like net zero and zero waste. We can foster well-being and growth, as well as diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA), for all our people — those who work for us and those who live in the communities we touch. We can grow our businesses through innovation and digitization, establishing long-term prosperity without social or environmental compromise. 

Learn how TCS and Microsoft are powering sustainability through innovation.  

Green IT, Retail Industry

The metaverse—a fast-emerging combination of technologies including augmented and virtual reality, IoT, and blockchain—is poised to change the way financial services organizations and other companies do business.   

“By blending the physical and the digital worlds, the metaverse is changing the rules of engagement and enabling us to connect without barriers,” says Anupam Singhal, a Senior Vice President at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). “For financial institutions, it can transform the way they offer services and training, making them more convenient, engaging, accessible and inclusive.”   

Metaverse applications are developing quickly. According to Gartner, 25% of people will spend at least an hour in the metaverse by 2026. While financial institutions are starting to experiment with pilot programs, they must ensure that they have the right infrastructure and security protections in place to reap the full-scale benefits the metaverse has to offer.  

Innovative products and services 

In the metaverse, financial institutions can offer customers and employees personalized experiences that leave a lasting impression. For example, clients can hold virtual consultations with investment advisors across the globe and improve their financial knowledge by using 3D interactive tools. Financial institutions can also cater to underserved and underbanked customers with minimal to no charges.  

Employees, even the ones situated in isolated, remote locations, can take virtual tours and gain knowledge faster. TCS is developing an application, for example, that leads new employees on a lifelike journey through a bank’s corporate buildings and history as part of their onboarding experience. And with virtual training, employees can practice skills in a realistic, risk-free environment. 

Metaverse services can also help banks attract new customers.  

“We have a lineup of exciting projects, including creating a virtual bank for retail transactions and a non-fungible token marketplace using blockchain,” Singhal says. “We have already implemented augmented marketing and branding solutions in retail, and we are working on pilots in the business-to-business and business-to-consumer spaces.”  

A seamless, secure infrastructure 

To make these dynamic services possible, organizations must create digital replicas of the real world, supported by dedicated offerings on Microsoft Cloud. Seamless connectivity and extremely low latency, enabled by specialized graphics and edge processing, are also critical to providing vivid experiences and near-real time interactions.   

“With decentralized Web3 technology, users can also take advantage of peer-to-peer capabilities, running some tools and platforms on their devices instead of relying on the cloud,” Singhal says.  

In addition to creating ground-breaking experiences, the metaverse, like other emerging technologies, brings a new set of security challenges. Rogue actors could attempt to steal target NFTs and tokens, or use deepfake techniques to impersonate financial advisors. Personal data collected by AR and VR applications creates greater opportunities for identity theft.  

“We must rethink how we address data privacy and security in the metaverse,” Singhal says. “We need strong regulations like GDPR to define clear boundaries. We also need more security measures like multi-factor authentication and digital encryption to ensure secure experiences.”   

Getting started in the metaverse 

Every organization must carve its own path to the metaverse, a process that starts by examining existing technology and defining services to prioritize.   

“TCS has a successful history of helping businesses grow and transform through technology and make a meaningful difference. We can help leaders identify areas where they can improve, whether that means upgrading infrastructure, investing in new technology, or bringing in new talent. We can co-develop metaverse strategies that align with their business goals and objectives,” Singhal says.  

Organizations can then co-create experiences on the TCS AvapresenceTM platform, which uses blockchain, AI, AR, VR, and mixed reality technologies to address customer needs. For financial services companies, TCS has developed a specialized program that involves training their associates to become proficient in using several 3D engines and platforms to address industry challenges, including security, data privacy, and compliance concerns.   

Financial organizations that want to gain a competitive edge should get started soon.  

“Banks that offer virtual services are going to have a larger consumer mindshare, particularly among younger generations,” Singhal says. “By engaging with the right experts, leaders can break boundaries and take advantage of the metaverse’s limitless opportunities.” 

Learn how to master your cloud transformation journey with TCS and Microsoft Cloud. 

Financial Services Industry

Anxious to meet international standards, satisfy investors, and profit from a growing array of sustainable products, financial services firms are intensifying their focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. While the incentives for ESG are compelling, managing programs and demonstrating success are fraught with challenges. But by adhering to the right standards and using technology to better organize programs, financial firms can gain a clearer vision of their ESG operations and speed up progress toward their goals. 

Doing well by doing good 

Many financial institutions are striving to align ESG programs with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which lists 17 goals designed to end global poverty and promote an equitable transition to a sustainable world.  

“Companies across the globe are adopting the 2030 Agenda and UN SDGs Framework to ensure sustainable investments and operations,” says Kishan Changlani, Partner for strategic initiatives – sustainable banking, at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).  

Financial services firms can use the 2030 Agenda and UN SDGs Framework as a guide for allocating ESG funds, such as creating a “green economy” team dedicated to helping companies that produce environmentally friendly goods and services. Leadership teams are also learning that ESG initiatives can boost business performance. One 2022 study found that organizations placing greater emphasis on ESG over the previous three years saw revenues increased by almost 10%, compared to 4.5% revenue growth from businesses showing a lower commitment to ESG.  

Overcoming data challenges 

Despite their growing commitment to ESG, financial firms have learned the path to sustainability and prosperity can be rocky. 

“ESG data quality is the biggest challenge. Quality at the least is about consistent data across asset classes, effective data for scenario planning, and harmonized ESG ratings amongst other aspects,” Changlani says. However, there are many other challenges as well, including regulatory requirements, human capital, stakeholder engagement, alignment of materiality and performance, and the need to embed ESG into an existing ERM (Enterprise Risk Management) framework. 

“The ESG regulatory landscape resembles an alphabet soup where the number of ESG standard-setters, data aggregators, analysis providers, ESG raters, and indices is increasing,” says Changlani.  

Financial services companies may also find it challenging to keep up with a broad scope of reporting requirements, resulting in a complex set of documents and deliverables that can lead to questions about a program’s validity or perception of greenwashing. 

Technology can help banks and other financial institutions overcome these hurdles. For example, TCS has developed a suite of solutions on Microsoft Cloud to unify and integrate ESG metrics and accurately measure performance. Changlani also recommends that companies limit data vendors to two or three and establish their own ESG benchmarks, instead of relying solely on external providers.  

Emerging technologies will further speed ESG progress. AI and machine learning algorithms can monitor compliance in real time. With natural language processing, organizations can analyze millions of reports quickly, helping them avoid pitfalls associated with greenwashing and other discredited activities. 

Blockchain technology can track assets across the supply chain, promoting transparency and credibility.  

“Technology is the key to helping the financial services industry move toward the greater good,” says Changlani. “It is what will make achieving the UN 2030 agenda possible.”  

Learn more about how TCS and Microsoft are powering the sustainable enterprise.  

Financial Services Industry, Green IT

Now, more than ever, global businesses have an opportunity. With people and infrastructure touching every point on the planet — and new technology empowering us to radically change the way we consume resources — we can lead the world toward a better, more sustainable future. 

That optimism stems from three core beliefs: 

We can build our business ecosystems to promote environmental stewardship, achieving ambitious goals like net zero and zero waste. We can foster well-being and growth, as well as diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA), for all our people — those who work for us and those who live in the communities we touch. We can grow our businesses through innovation and digitization, establishing long-term prosperity without social or environmental compromise. 

Learn how TCS and Microsoft are powering sustainability through innovation.  

Financial Services Industry, Green IT

Staying in control and securing your data has never been more important! As data privacy regulations continue to evolve, businesses have had to adapt how and where they store data. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been the most newsworthy, requiring all businesses that operate in or have customers in the EU to change how they handle personal data. Regulations, compliance, and how data is controlled and managed is becoming more of a critical factor globally, with more than 157 countries around the world having some form of data privacy laws, and thus putting a spotlight on sovereign clouds.1 

In addition to rights to transparency and security granted by regulations such as GDPR, more countries worldwide are starting to create rules around data sovereignty. This ‘protectionism’ restricts where data can go and who has jurisdiction over the data. New rules around data sovereignty are designed to keep data out of the hands of other countries, bad actors, and those without authorized access.  

Data sovereignty is the right to control citizens’ data collection, ownership, and application.2  

To ensure compliance with data privacy and sovereignty laws, organizations are looking to sovereign cloud solutions to protect their sensitive data. Sovereign clouds are operated by experienced national cloud providers who can provide dedicated cloud storage that complies with local regulations. 

There are four key use cases to consider around sovereign cloud. This post will cover all four in brief, or you can read the in-depth posts on each topic. 

Data Sovereignty in the CloudData Security and ComplianceData Access and Integrity Data Independence and Mobility

Data Sovereignty in the Cloud 

A significant hurdle for complying with data sovereignty regulations is the dominance of U.S.-based companies in the public cloud computing market. These providers are subject to the U.S. CLOUD Act, which could result in the U.S. government accessing data, even if it is stored in another country but with a U.S.-based company.  

Sovereign cloud protects your data from interference by foreign authorities. All data, including metadata, resides locally, making it easier to comply with residency laws and other local sovereign requirements. Using a sovereign cloud allows you to stay in control of your data and ensure it’s compliant with regulations.  

Data Security and Compliance 

Sovereign cloud providers use multi-layered security and access controls to protect data. This prevents unauthorized access and data loss in the face of growing cyberattacks. Additional data protection steps should be taken by the provider, such as encryption and air-gapped storage.  

Compliance is critical to comply with data sovereignty laws, from where data is stored to who can access it. As laws evolve, compliance staff must understand and follow relevant local and industry regulations. Sovereign cloud providers have been approved for security controls as part of the 20-point self attestation process which provide consistent security, zero trust principles and micro segmentation in addition to having local compliance experts to keep up with the latest laws. 

VMware Sovereign Cloud helps organizations comply with data privacy laws by partnering with local cloud providers to build sovereign clouds based on VMware’s framework that are based entirely within a local jurisdiction. These VMware Cloud Verified partners have local staff with security clearances (if required) and expertise with local laws to ensure the compliance of the sovereign cloud environment. These providers offer continuous compliance monitoring, reporting, and remediation so data follows local and industry regulations.

Data Access and Integrity 

Having data is useless if you can’t access it when you need it. That’s why access and integrity are required components of a sovereign cloud. With multiple in-region data centers, providers can offer 99.999% uptime in addition to backup and recovery protocols that meet data sovereignty requirements. 

VMware Sovereign Cloud provides secure access to sensitive data and protects its integrity to allow organizations to unlock value from their data and to ensure it is accurate and complete. In-region data centers with high availability, resilient infrastructure, and low latency make data accessible when needed. Secure access presents new opportunities for data analysis that can fuel innovation and improve local economies. 

Data Independence and Mobility 

Data sovereignty laws have placed restrictions on how data travels across national or regional borders. These data movement and sharing restrictions can cause companies to limit where they do business to avoid compliance headaches. Sovereign clouds can prevent these issues by keeping a company’s sensitive data compliant while operating as part of a broader multi-cloud ecosystem that supports the overall business.

VMware Sovereign Cloud helps organizations future-proof their cloud infrastructure with data independence, interoperability and mobility. Data can be shared and migrated as needed to respond to changes in technology or geopolitics. A sovereign cloud is compatible with multi-cloud or hybrid cloud strategies and is separate from the underlying infrastructure, preventing vendor lock-in. Workload migrations into or out of a sovereign cloud are secure, allowing organizations to deploy and move data anywhere as needed.

For more info on VMware Sovereign Cloud…
Download the Sovereign Cloud Solutions Brief by clicking here or watch the Sovereign Cloud Overview video by clicking here.
Learn more about sovereign cloud from VMware or to connect with a provider in your region, visit https://cloudsolutions.vmware.com/services/sovereign-cloud.html or join the conversation on Sovereign Cloud on LinkedIn by clicking here.

1. Now 157 Countries: Twelve Data Privacy Laws in 2021/22, SSRN, Graham Greenleaf, University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law, March 2022 
2. Hinrich Foundation, Data is disruptive: How data sovereignty is challenging data governance, August 2021

Cloud Computing, Cloud Security