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Standard Chartered Bank moves to cloud-first future with Microsoft

Standard Chartered Bank has partnered with Microsoft in a three year strategic agreement to become a cloud-first bank.

According to a statement, this partnership marks a significant milestone for Standard Chartered in its commitment to move towards virtual banking, next-generation payments, open banking and banking-as-a-service.

The company will leverage Azure as a preferred cloud platform, and the companies will also work together in creating new banking experiences for clients, including open banking and real-time payments.

As part of its digital transformation, Standard Chartered has stated it will adopt a multicloud approach, where significant applications, including its core banking and trading systems and new digital ventures such as virtual banking and banking as-a-service, will be cloud-based by 2025, subject to regulatory approvals.

The bank will also adopt a cloud-first principle for all new software developments and major enhancements.

The first set of capabilities to move to Microsoft Azure will be Standard Chartered's trade finance systems, allowing for cross-border trade for the bank's corporate and institutional clients.

The partnership will also advance the bank's digital workplace transformation with Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams providing modern productivity and collaboration tools to Standard Chartered's 84,000 employees across its 60 markets.

Standard Chartered will also use Microsoft Azure artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics capabilities to enhance and automate banking processes as well as deliver hyper personalisation of its client products and experiences.

Co-innovation in open banking application programming interface (API) and Internet-of-Things-based, real-time payments will also help the bank unlock new banking experiences for clients, the company states.

Standard Chartered group chief information officer Michael Gorriz says, "Cloud is a cornerstone of Standard Chartered's strategy to meet the present and future banking needs of our clients.

“Cloud providers have invested massively in the reliability and automation of infrastructure and platforms. Using cloud services improves our ability to be agile and innovative, while increasing our operational efficiency and resilience.

“As disruption in the financial industry continues, we can focus on client benefits by deploying our solutions quicker and allowing for faster integration of new business models and partners.

"To realise our digital ambitions, Standard Chartered has chosen Microsoft as a strategic partner and this partnership marks a major milestone for the bank in adopting a cloud-first approach."

Standard Chartered chief technology officer, cloud transformation Bhupendra Warathe says, "The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the need for businesses and banks to be resilient from a risk mitigation, cost and security perspective.

“With the increasing trend of an always-on digital economy, commercial and consumer clients are looking for applications and services that empower them to do online banking from anywhere, flexibly and efficiently.

“The speed and scale of continuous innovation offered by Azure allows us to innovate with the latest AI services to meet evolving client needs. We can pilot new apps in one market and scale them rapidly across others. This is especially important for a bank with a footprint as broad and diverse as ours."

Microsoft corporate vice president of Worldwide Financial Services Bill Borden says, "Cloud computing is an enabler for financial institutions to modernise their infrastructure and systems, to gain the agility they need to respond to competitive pressures, regulatory environments and customer demand.

“We are committed to helping Standard Chartered Bank in its ongoing digital transformation journey as it strives to address evolving customer needs and build the next generation of banking experiences."