AFTAs 2014: Best Cloud Initiative—Bank of Montreal

bank-of-montreal-best-cloud-initiative
Stéphane Matteau, Rich Weston, and Al Chang

Competition was fierce this year in the best cloud initiative category, with five products making the final cut. Challenged by BNY Mellon’s eXtreme Platform, Irish Life Investment Managers’ deployment of ITG Trade Operations Outsourcing, and a pair of entries from Northern Trust, Bank of Montreal (BMO) managed to pull off the win thanks to its Skyway product, built on web-based market data provider Xignite’s Enterprise data distribution platform.

The cost benefits of the cloud have always been hard to ignore, and as a result of security improvements, many large infrastructure projects in the industry are now based in the cloud, beefing up this category’s significance. Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) has also become one of the fastest growing segments within the cloud space itself, and many industries, including financial services, have begun contemplating how to deploy the model across the enterprise.

For Bank of Montreal, the model provided a springboard for the firm to reconfigure the way it manages and catalogs data. The Toronto-based firm leveraged the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud infrastructure, citing its high performance, scalability, reliability, and virtually unlimited storage as reasons for the decision to build BMO Skyway on top of Xignite’s Enterprise platform, which acts as a central access and cache point for all data flowing into the firm from external sources.

The result is an enterprise market and reference data management, storage and distribution system that operates across the whole business, reducing costs and rack space, and offering scalable capacity on-demand.

Skyway manages a number of external market and reference data storage vendors active throughout BMO’s organization, and allows for a secure redistribution of the information across the enterprise through sophisticated entitlement controls. As the initiative was implemented, security was top-of-mind, and thanks to these entitlement controls, Skyway users at BMO receive accounts with access credentials and are restricted to only the data they have been given permission to access. Skyway can also track and report who has access to which datasets for compliance and reporting purposes, as well as for assessing internal cost allocation.

The cost allocation methodology of Skyway, based on a pay-for-what-you-consume model, also helped the bank reduce the cost of its centralized enterprise data management (EDM) needs. By eliminating duplicate data usage between departments and across vendors, the firm managed to reduce its market data expenses overall, and has set a new standard for creatively applying cloud’s advantages to a practical problem that continues to challenge every global bank.

Skyway manages a number of external market and reference data storage vendors active throughout BMO’s organization, and allows for a secure redistribution of the information across the enterprise through sophisticated entitlement controls.
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