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The network is the cloud is the computer.

As the evolution IT systems continues to converge with that of telecommunications systems, the network continues to become increasingly important in the landscape of global tech. Indeed, as the former CEO of Sun Microsystems, Scott McNealy, once stated “the network is the computer”. This outlook has never been truer than today.  The continued consolidation of yesterday’s splintered IT assets into cloud computing maintains its pace and confirms McNealy’s perception.

To make the cloud paradigm work, a new approach, with intelligence embedded in the network, is required across all industries. We have now reached the point where a managed API in the network/cloud is a business necessity, providing users with a tool kit that will enable firms to connect and scale quickly in today’s demanding, ever changing business world. The network has risen above commodity.

Yet talk of commodities highlights one industry where the cloud is permeating quickly and delivering very positive business outcomes: finance.

The finance industry is increasingly a more complicated place. The pace of change is accelerating; strategy and execution is more intertwined; lead times for action are shrinking, making strategic agility and execution flexibility more important than ever. It can be described as hyper connected.

The key is having a platform-as-a-service, PaaS, infrastructure that not only enables a core business but also supports firms’ clients’ enablement making it as easy as possible for them to access services wherever they are, allowing them to connect trading platforms, employees and customers to the services they need to perform quickly and efficiently. In fact you could called it everything-as-a-service.

Secure, available and resilient cloud technology allows such trading platforms to offer business solutions and networked insight from a fully managed, trading technology one stop shop. This central source empowers whole financial ecosystems to access key applications and services on-demand. And without having to make a huge capital expenditure. Indeed as the network continues to seep into every corner of our lifestyles, this trend is only going to continue to be applicable to all businesses and ultimately, in some five or ten years, even to homes.

Increasing automation and dependence on connectivity will require firms to architect their activities to incorporate cloud-based solutions. These will be open environments that seamlessly integrate the network, hardware and software components. Clients and trading firms will no longer view the technology components as independent elements: they need to be architected as one.

A flexible and dynamic architecture is absolutely vital to support tomorrows’ financial institutions where the network will be the connector, the glue, to all of the disparate elements in the ecosystem. Maybe McNealy was really ahead of his time: these days the cloud is the computer.

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