Browse articles, resources, and the latest product updates.
Innovation is a natural value of cloud technology. The cloud itself is an emerging, growing technology, and cloud nativity is increasingly becoming the norm for younger and more forward-thinking companies. This makes the cloud an intuitive fit for companies building emerging solutions and working in growing industries, but innovation happens everywhere, even in some of the biggest and most varied industries on the market––including the market itself. When it comes to innovation in the financial services industry, there are no opportunities available like those offered by the cloud.In some ways, innovation in the financial services industry occurs naturally. Every company is reliant to some extent on the financial services industry, and probably partnering with multiple financial services companies to manage its payroll, its benefits enrollments, and its investments. Innovation across the business universe will inevitably occur in step with innovation specific to financial services. With this innovation essentially a foregone conclusion for the industry, established advantages of cloud adoption like scalability, speed of operations, cost reduction, and security should be top of mind for financial services companies.At C2C Global, a worldwide online community of Google Cloud users where people work together to solve problems and build new solutions, we’ve seen financial services organizations share that a huge opportunity for migrating to the cloud for their business is better insights from data analytics. Legacy organizations hoping to get the necessary value out of their increasingly massive datasets will struggle to process their analytics using on-prem models. Using AI and ML to augment these insights will be even harder without access to the training available to AI apps and ML models built on the cloud, where more of these models are available, as well as more computing and processing power.One major financial services provider just opted to migrate to Google Cloud: banking giant Wells Fargo. The bank began its migration recently, announcing the partnership with Google Cloud in 2021, but it’s already made big plans, including a customer experience engine using customer metadata to build predictive models that proactively offer personalized suggestions. To prime for the migration, Wells Fargo created sandbox environments for developers to build apps and tools on the cloud. The speed with which the teams were able to build the infrastructure for the customer experience engine on the cloud as opposed to on-prem was immediately apparent. The engine also has access to Google Cloud’s vast network of AI and ML data models, which are trained on trillions of petabytes of data.Many legacy banks may be hesitant to migrate to Google Cloud, or to the cloud at all, due to the inertia processes experience after years on an on-prem architecture. However, migration is not only possible; with the right support, it’s a smooth and comfortable process. Google Cloud offers a service called Cloud Customer Care that makes migration manageable and minimizes lift for companies looking to modernize. Data Capital Management (DCM), an innovative financial services company using automation to make the investment process more accessible to consumers, used Cloud Customer Care to manage a complex migration to Google Cloud. The data and computing power required to maintain DCM’s AI models made the migration essential. Cloud Customer Care made it easy.Many of the most exciting innovations in the financial services space are coming from cloud-first retail banking companies. The FinTech space is exploding now that electronic payment is emerging as the default mode of payment for organizations and individuals alike and alternative financial models like cryptocurrency and other forms of decentralized finance are going mainstream. Other innovations like embedded finance and Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) show great potential for growth in the near term. Much of this innovation is being accelerated by the growing prevalence of remote work. Just like innovation in financial services is dependent on the business ecosystem as a whole, FinTech continues to evolve as more and more companies adopt it to modernize.More than just work has gone remote since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many transactions that individuals and businesses once conducted exclusively face-to-face have now become possible online, from takeout orders to doctors’ appointments. Self-service models for banking are emerging as well, quickly and effectively enough that in the coming years, negotiating a mortgage and closing on a house virtually might become as simple as ordering a new pair of shoes online.These are just a few of the innovation use cases available to financial services organizations hoping to modernize on the cloud. Each, though, demonstrates the clear advantages of cloud adoption for organizations in the industry and beyond. For businesses, scalability, computing power and storage capacity, and speed and cost reduction will make for advantages too attractive to pass up. For individuals, innovation in financial services will mean autonomy, control, and a world of resources at their fingertips. We can afford to migrate. We can’t afford to wait. Extra Credit:
Intel and Google Cloud technologies are fueling the scalability, performance, and security of the Workspot Cloud PC platform. Organizations can implement these technologies to reimagine end-user computing. For this 2Learn event, C2C invited Intel and Workspot to showcase how end-user computing on Google Cloud enables Workspot to deliver reliable, low-latency cloud PCs to users across the world, any time, from any device. Guests heard how to increase virtual CPU performance by 27% with powerful Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors.The speakers explored how Intel leverages Workspot’s: 100% cloud-native approach to VDI Migration on Google Cloud infrastructure Zero-trust security and on-demand scalability Modern approach to VDI Migration with cloud PCs Cloud adoption, infrastructure framework, and center of excellence migration tools and methodology Watch a full recording of this event below: Extra Credit:
Cloud cost optimization is the process of minimizing resources without impacting performance and scalability of workloads within the cloud. Cloud cost best practices are rooted in determining methods to eliminate costs by identifying unwanted resources and scaling services accurately. There are many external factors including inflation and a changing labor market that force businesses to restructure financial priorities.Though many models of cloud computing offer flexible payment structures and pay-as-you go methods, cloud cost optimization strategies will allow businesses to tighten their grip on controlling resources. Additionally, cloud cost optimization tips will also highlight if the amount of resources being used are in alignment with the infrastructure and business goals of an organization.The following are strategies that will help run applications in the cloud at lower costs. 1. Eliminate Resources One of the most simple, yet effective cloud cost-saving strategies is to eliminate resources that are not fully benefiting a business. For example, users may allocate a service to a workload that is temporary. Once the project is complete, the service may not be eliminated instantly by an administrator, resulting in unwanted costs for the organization. A solution would be to examine the cloud infrastructure and look for servers that are no longer needed within the environment if they aren’t serving business needs. Cloud cost optimization strategies are not just about eliminating spending but also ensuring that costs are in alignment with an organization’s objectives. If a particular server or project is no longer serving a business, eliminating this resource will be beneficial as it enhances cloud infrastructure optimization.This can be accomplished through routine scanning and testing to identify resources that are idle. 2. Rightsize Services Rightsizing services is allocating cloud resources depending on the workload. By allocating resources, rightsizing allows users to analyze services and adjust them to the appropriate size depending on the needs of a business. By evaluating each service task and modifying the size until it matches a specific need, cloud computing services will maximize capacity at the lowest possible cost, resulting in cloud cost reduction. In addition, many businesses rely on vendors to deploy cloud resources when they do not understand operational goals. The solution to this problem is to develop rightsizing approaches that are customized to your business, strengthening cloud resource optimization. Customized approaches develop transparency by creating a clear view of what resources are needed for your specific cloud infrastructure. Rightsizing services will also assist with analyzing the volume of certain metrics that are being used and can inform business decision makers to either upgrade or terminate specific services. 3. Create A Budget Develop a clear budget between engineers, product managers, and other team members in regard to utilizing cloud computing services by setting a monthly budget rather than an arbitrary number. Building a culture that is rooted in transparency and cost awareness will also influence how users utilize cloud services. 4. Monitoring Cloud computing platforms may have some small incremental changes when it comes to pricing. However, users should keep an eye out for any unexpected spikes that may impact cloud spend optimization and overall spending. A solution here would be implementing an alert when cloud computing costs are going over the budget. Detecting the root of these large increases and analyzing the cause can also ensure that overspending on this particular factor will not occur again, allowing for stronger cloud cost control. 5. Select Accurate Storage Options Organizations need to consider many factors when selecting an appropriate storage option. Performance, security needs, and cost requirements are all components that should be taken into consideration when selecting an appropriate storage model. Selecting a storage tier that is user-friendly and is also aligned with a budget is critical to cloud cost efficiency. Storage tiers that are underused should also be removed for cloud cost reduction purposes. 6. Use Reserve Instances (RI’s) If an organization is using resources for a specific amount of time, consider purchasing a cloud cost optimization tool, such as a reserved instance. These are prepaid services that are discounted and are similar to saving plans that are ideal for steady workloads that have a clear timeline. When purchasing an RI, the organization selects the type, a region and a time frame that may vary depending on the purchase. 7. Manage Software License Costs Software licenses can often have high costs and monitoring them can be challenging in regard to cloud cost management. There are often forgotten fees that are associated with licenses and many organizations face the risk of paying for licenses that they have stopped using. Conducting a thorough software audit will not only help you to understand what software is being used within the business, but it will also demonstrate what software is critical and what licenses are no longer needed. 8. Define Clear Metrics Highlight what metrics are most important to your organization. Metrics, such as, performance, availability, and cost can also help to create reports and dashboards that outline activity in the cloud. Major cloud providers have a process whereby metrics are tagged which allow an organization to create a detailed report that provides insight on cloud cost analysis. These reports should be used to track spending as they outline trending patterns in regard to finances. 9. Schedule Cloud Services It is common for organizations to have services that are idle and not being used during certain times of the day. Reduce spending by scheduling services during specific time slots in order for them to be fully used. A duty scheduler tag can be used, and the scheduled services will then be implemented. Leveraging a heatmap can also help to establish when services are being underused in order to determine an effective scheduling arrangement. SADA, an organization that serves as a cloud consultant and helps other businesses in their own cloud journey, recognizes how effective this strategy can be. SADA’s Director of Customer FinOps, Rich Hoyer, states that “Of these strategies, we have found that scheduling cloud services’ runtimes are often one of the largest overlooked savings opportunities we encounter. Specifically, non-production workloads, such as testing, development, etc., are commonly left running full-time, 24/7, instead of being scheduled to run only when used. The potential savings of running those workloads only during business hours are often surprisingly large, and they can usually be realized via simple automation and modest revisions to maintenance schedules. The first step is to analyze exactly what is being spent on these resources during the hours they sit idle. The number is often large enough to quickly motivate the implementation of a workload scheduling regime!”
On February 9, 2023, C2C formally launched its Financial Services community with a 2Gather event at Google’s Chelsea Market offices in New York City. However, for participating speakers and guests, the community experience began the evening before. On the night of February 8, at Chelsea’s Le Zie Trattoria, executives from some of the largest financial services enterprises, including JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, and TD Bank, mingled over cocktails and traditional Venetian fare with technologists, startup founders, and representatives from C2C partners Publicis Sapient, NetApp, and Workspot, the latter a sponsor of the dinner. The relaxed atmosphere and emphasis on personal connections set the stage for the event experience to come the next day.“It’s so easy to show up to these events and be corporate, buttoned up,” said Paerpay CEO Derek Canton, who dined with representatives from Publicis Sapient before switching seats and trading stories about recent travels in Southeast Asia with Michael Beal, CEO of Data Capital Management (@MikeBeal), who leads C2C’s financial services group. “I’m more casual, because I want to be approachable. I’m just like, ‘this is me.’ I felt super comfortable, and it really created space for that, so I loved that.”“Publicis Sapient works with large enterprises, and PaerPay is a startup, so we don’t cross paths as often,” said Sharonyka Kumar (@sharonyka.kumar), Group VP and Global Head of Google Practice at Publicis Sapient. “Their solution has a very intriguing piece to it around data monetization, which is something that we care a lot about for our customers, and our paths would not have crossed if it were not for the community bringing us together.”C2C and WorkspotExecutive Dinner at Le ZieIn addition to meeting the PaerPay team for the first time, Sharonyka also discussed current and future collaborations with Deepinder Kaur (@Deepinder) and Larissa Filine of Deutsche Bank. “Deepinder is specifically responsible for their cloud transformation journey. It was a great connect for her and I, and she knew Publicis Sapient because of her work with her peers, so she hears our name quite a bit,” Sharonyka said. “What we decided to do at the end of it was come back to her with some of our key stakeholders in the US, whatever SVPs or financial services live here in New York.”At the event itself, the relationship-building facilitated at the dinner made for lively discussion onstage. “That vulnerability is really important,” said Derek, who was particularly animated during Paerpay’s fireside chat with Publicis Sapient and during a panel discussion with Sharonyka, Michael, OpCo Operating Advisor Mark Etherington (@Metherin), and Geoff Tudor, Director of Google Cloud Solutions at NetApp. Geoff also delivered a presentation and, at dinner the night before, discussed a potential new business opportunity with Clair Hur, Senior Program Manager at Vimeo (@write2clair). During the discussion, the panelists agreed early on that legacy financial services organizations can be unnecessarily obstinate when it comes to the prospect of cloud adoption, setting the tone for a conversation that explored ample controversial territory.The ideas introduced during the sessions, however, were only the points of departure for the conversations that followed during the closing networking reception, where attendees deepened the relationships they’d built throughout that day and the previous night. “A lot of events that are put on, they’re hyper-focused on the topic at hand, whereas you guys are able to take everyone a step back from that and think about the power of community and actually driving that at a higher level,” said Bogdan Petrescu (@bogdan.petrescu), Senior Director of Strategic Alliances at Workspot. “I like that a lot.”To be a part of these conversations and make connections with these and other colleagues, join the C2C Financial Services community!
Realtors trade property for cryptocurrency for various reasons. It’s cheap, because crypto is transacted over the blockchain, a distributed, shared ledger. There are no middlemen, like notaries, lawyers, title companies, brokers, banks, or attorneys, which affords agents drastic savings. It’s also fast. A blockchain-processed transaction slashes standard home-buying timelines from around three months to three weeks. The peer-to-peer transaction cuts out the hassle of hiring and working through intermediaries, and the seller and buyer secure documents on a ledger that automatically updates and distributes these forms among stakeholders. This eliminates the hassle of back-and-forth review of paperwork.Blockchain is also transparent––because all blockchain participants communicate in real time and review transactions as they cross the blockchain––and secure. Realtors use the blockchain ledger to encrypt titles, leases, and other contracts on the premise that its allegedly unhackable network is arguably safer and more secure than the centralized cloud. Fractional Investment in Tokenized Real Estate Some modern realtors trade pieces of property for crypto, in hopes of democratizing the market for buyers. Relatively few people have the money to invest in quality real estate. Fewer still have the funds for premium commercial property such as offices, nursing homes, or hotels. However, for buyers with Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Ripple, the property is simply divided into pieces. Each block is auctioned off for a specific amount of cryptocurrency, so instead of buying the entire infrastructure, interested parties simply buy that bit off the premise, making it more affordable. That fractionalized asset can later be traded for fiat or cryptocurrency, or retained for lodging or business purposes. Smart Contracts and Blockchain-Processed Real Estate All PropTech transactions are paired with blockchain programmed smart contracts that protect and secure the transaction process. Smart contracts automatically release funds when contract conditions are met and withhold them in cases of dispute. These digitized smart contacts allow buyers to claim that proffered property once they’ve paid the realtor the required amount of Bitcoin and fulfilled the conditions listed in that contract. Example: Magnum Real Estate GroupNew York-based Magnum Real Estate Group, which uses the Google Cloud Platform for its realty services, started selling condos for Bitcoin back in 2018. Google Cloud helps Magnum automatically update its commercial real estate listings and provides real-time updates that gives its team timely insights into real estate performance and pricing. Prospective tenants and their representatives have immediate access to the dashboard’s functionalities, helping them see details on properties as they update. Google Cloud also automatically scales workloads up and down and drastically reduces cloud hosting costs, among other benefits. In short, Google Cloud provides a continuous integration and deployment model with fast and accurate data and unprecedented scalability that gives Magnum an edge over competitors.In September, 2021, Magnum made headlines by advertising that they would sell three retail condos in Manhattan’s Upper East Side for the equivalent of $29 Million in Bitcoin. Magnum’s step was significant, since it marks the most robust property investment opportunity for crypto investors yet. Managing partner of Magnum Real Estate Group Ben Shaoul has sold more than $25 million worth of commercial and residential real estate in cyber currency since 2018.All crypto transactions are completed by Magnum using BitPay, a crypto payment processor with substantial experience in property transactions. Buyers deposit Bitcoin payments in BitPay’s “wallet.” BitPay converts this Bitcoin into fiat and wires those funds to Magnum. The entire transaction is completed overnight, in contrast to the standard thirty to ninety days required for fiat.By using blockchain-transacted cryptocurrency, Magnum can now transact faster, cheaper and more securely with traders from around the world. It’s a digital wallet-to-wallet process that cuts out legacy banks and their legislations, costs, and time lags. The process is vetted by blockchain participants. PropTech realtors say the company is considering tokenizing its properties in the future. Impact of Blockchain-Processed Real Estate According to Ben Shaoul, “Accepting cryptocurrency for select condominiums in our New York City portfolio enabled us to expand our buyer pool.” That’s because “you are opening up real estate investment to a whole new demographic of investors,” Shaoul says. “Crypto currency holders are a different type of person. They aren’t just finance people, or doctors and lawyers who own stocks. These are bus drivers, school teachers, and cab drivers.”Speaking to Yahoo Finance, the Magnum developer said: “There’s a demand for real estate and there’s nothing being offered to the holders of crypto. Our idea is to offer something that’s unique and try to pair the holders of crypto with those who want to sell real estate.” Extra Credit:
On May 12, C2C hosted its first east coast event at Google’s New York office. We believe in-person connections are invaluable to everyone in our community, especially when our members are able to immediately converse with amazing speakers who are sharing their journeys and business outcomes.The stories from this event—presented on stage from Google Cloud customers, partners, and employees—can all be reviewed below. A Warm Welcome from C2C and Google Cloud Opening the event was Marco ten Vaanholt (@artmarco), who leads C2C initiatives at Google Cloud. To kick things off, Marco prompted the audience to get to know each other, and all enthusiastically turned to their table neighbors. After Marco covered the history of C2C and our early adventures in hosting face to face events, Marcy Young (@Marcy.Young), Director of Partnerships at C2C, followed to reiterate our mission statement: we’re here to connect Google Cloud customers across the globe. Since March of 2021, when the C2C online community first launched, our community has grown in size to make valuable connections with people like Arsho Toubi (@Arsho Toubi), Customer Engineer, Google Cloud, who followed Young to introduce C2C’s partner speakers.All three introductory speakers emphasized the excitement of being able to make new connections in person again. As ten Vaanholt put it, peers introducing themselves and initiating new relationships is “the start of community building.” When Toubi announced “I received some business cards, and that was a fun experience I haven’t had in two years,” the room responded with a knowing laugh. Toubi also asked the Googlers in the room to stand up so others could identify them. “These are my colleagues,” she said. “We’re all here to help you navigate how to use GCP to your best advantage.” Getting to Know AMD and DoiT C2C partners and the sponsors for this event, DoiT and @AMD shared updates of the partnership between the two companies focused on cloud optimization.Michael Brzezinski (@mike.brzezinski), Global Sales Manager, AMD Spenser Paul (@spenserpaul), Head of Global Alliances, DoiTBrzezinski framed the two presentations as a response to a question he received from another attendee he met just before taking the stage, a question about how the two companies work together to enhance performance while reducing cost. One half of the answer is AMD’s compute processors, which Brzezinski introduced one by one. To complete the story of the partnership between the two companies, Spenser Paul of DoiT took the stage with his Labrador Milton. “I’m joining the stage with a dog, which means you won’t hear anything I’m saying from here on,” he said as he took the microphone. “And that’s totally okay.” The key to minimizing cost on AMD’s hardware, Paul explained, is DoiT’s Flexsave offering, which automates compute spend based on identified need within a workload. A Fireside Chat with DoiT and CurrentSpenser Paul, Head of Global Alliances, DoiT Trevor Marshall (@tmarshall), Chief Technology Officer, CurrentPaul invited Marshall to join him onstage, and both took a seat facing the audience, Milton resting down at Paul’s feet. After asking Marshall to give a brief introduction to Current, Paul asked him why Current chose Google Cloud. Marshall did not mince words: Current accepted a $100,000 credit allowance from Google after spending the same amount at AWS. Why did Current stay with Google Cloud? The Google Kubernetes Engine. “I like to say we came for the credits, but stayed for Kubernetes,” Marshall said. Paul wryly suggested the line be used for a marketing campaign. The conversation continued through Current’s journey to scale and its strategy around cost optimization along the way.When Paul opened questions to the audience, initially, none came up. Seeing an opportunity, Paul turned to Marshall and said, “Selfishly, I need to ask you: what’s going to happen with crypto?” Just in time, a guest asked what other functionalities Current will introduce in the future. After an optimistic but tight-lipped response from Marshall, another moment passed. Marshall offered Paul a comforting hand and said, “We’re all going to make it through,” before fielding a few more questions. Panel Discussion All our presenters, with the addition of Michael Beal (@MikeBeal), CEO, Data Capital Management reconvened on stage for a panel discussion. Toubi, who moderated the conversation, began by asking Michael Beal to introduce himself and his company, Data Capital Management, which uses AI to automate the investment process. Beal ran through Data Capital Management’s product development journey, and then, when he recalled the company’s initial approach from Google, playfully swatted Marshall and said, “The credits don’t hurt.” Toubi then guided Beal and Brzezinski through a discussion of different uses cases for High Performance Computing, particularly on AMD’s processors.When Toubi turned the panel’s attention to costs, Paul took the lead to explain in practical detail how DoiT’s offerings facilitate the optimization process. “I have an important question,” said Toubi. “Can DoiT do my taxes?” Then she put the guests on the spot to compare Google Cloud to AWS’s Graviton. Brzezinski was ready for the question. The initial cost savings Graviton provides, he explained, don’t translate to better price performance when taking into account the improved overall performance on Google Cloud. Other questions covered financial services use cases for security, additional strategies for optimizing workloads for price performance, and wish-list items for Google Cloud financing options.Marco ten Vaanholt kicked off the audience Q&A by asking what a Google Cloud customer community can do for the customers on the panel. Marshall said he’s interested in meeting talented developers, and Beal said he’s interested in meeting anyone who can give him ideas. As he put it, “Inspiration is always a very interesting value proposition.” After a couple more questions about estimating cost at peak performance and addressing customer pain points, Toubi asked each panelist to offer one piece of advice for someone considering using Google Cloud who isn’t already. Again, Paul saw a shot and took it. “If you’ve never been to Google before,” he said, “Come for the credits, stay for the Kubernetes.” Winding Down Following the presentations, all in attendance broke away to connect during a networking reception. To read more about it, check out the exclusive onsite report linked below in the Extra Credit section, and to get involved in the customer-to-customer connections happening in person in the C2C community, follow the link to our live event in Cambridge, MA to register and attend. We look forward to seeing you there! Extra Credit
Trevor Marshall (@tmarshall) had just left the stage after over an hour of nonstop conversation, but he was ready for another interview. The CTO of Current, an aptly-named disruptor in the developing fintech space, had come to the event to participate in a panel discussion with Spenser Paul of DoiT (@spenserpaul), Michael Brzezinski of AMD (@mike.brzezinski), and Michael Beal of Data Capital Management (@MikeBeal), immediately following a one-on-one fireside chat with Paul, who also brought his labrador Milton onstage with him for both sessions. Now Marshall was sitting at a wooden dining table in an open workspace overlooking Manhattan’s Little Island floating park, enthusiastically describing a proof-of-concept his company is running with Google Cloud’s C2D compute instances, an offering powered by AMD’s EPYC processors.“It’s cool to actually be able to put a face to some of this technology,” he said. “We have a lot of compute-bound instances, and for me, I was like, ‘Oh, it’s the C2D guy!’” Brzezinski had discussed AMD’s role in bringing C2D instances to Google Cloud customers, but Marshall hadn’t known until the two were seated onstage together that his fellow panelist is directly involved in selling the same technology he hopes to adopt. “I’m going to be reaching out to that guy,” he said. “I do have some questions. That will actually unlock some progress in our stack, and I think that’s pretty sweet.” Trevor Marshall of Current, Spenser Paulof Doit, and Paul’s Labrador, MiltonMarshall’s positivity and excitement to collaborate reflected the prevailing atmosphere at C2C Connect Live, New York City, the most recent of C2C Global’s regional face-to-face events for Google Cloud customers and partners, this one hosted at Google’s 8510 building in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The scheduled program put Marshall in conversation with Brzezinski, AMD’s Global Sales Manager, Paul, DoiT’s head of Global Alliances, and Beal, Data Capital Management’s CEO, on the topic of innovation and cost optimization on Google Cloud. These sessions were designed as a starting point for the reception that followed, where the panelists and guests shared their stories and explored the topics discussed in more depth.“You get an opportunity to say the things you feel like people are interested in, and then you get to talk with them afterward,” said Brzezinski. “They’ll come and ask you more about what you said, or say, ‘you mentioned this one thing, but I want to know more about something different.’” “You collide two atoms together, you create something new. You collide two people together and have an open discussion, you learn something new, get new insight.” Thomson Nguy (@thomson_nguy), Vice President of Sales in the Americas at Aiven, was grateful to be able to meet both Brzezinski and Beal in person, having worked with both companies, AMD as a vendor and Data Capital Management as a customer, but only remotely. “We’re an AMD customer, we’re a Google customer, but also we’ve got one of our customers [at the event] that can actually use the price performance that AMD can drive, and so it’s actually being able to connect relationships along the whole value chain,” he said. “Working together as partners, we can actually create real value for the customers.” Customer conversations outside Google’sGoblin King AuditoriumNguy particularly appreciated being able to make these connections in an informal setting, where sales was not top of mind for him or his team. When he and Beal met, before talking shop, the two reminisced about Harvard Business School, where both earned their MBAs. “This event was very natural,” said Nguy. “It wasn’t like going to an AWS summit, where you get lost in 10,000 people at the Javitz center. It’s a very intimate place that lets you connect and talk with people, and it has that really cool vibe, a community vibe that I really appreciate.” Faris Alrabi (@faris.alrabi), one of Aiven’s Sales Team Leads in the Americas, wholeheartedly agreed. At most events, he said, he feels obligated to pitch, whereas, at C2C Connect Live, he went out of his way not to.Attendees repeatedly echoed these sentiments. In conversation with Nguy in front of a spread of refreshments that depleted rapidly over the course of the reception, Geoff MacNeil of Crowdbotics, another company that brought multiple team members out to the event, attributed the unique value of this intimate setting to the possibility of chance encounters. “Collisions create innovation,” he said. “You collide two atoms together, you create something new. You collide two people together and have an open discussion, you learn something new, get new insight.” Nguy and MacNeil also exchanged information to discuss opportunities to partner in the future.New business deals aside, however, the ability to meet and share ideas and impressions in person, guests agreed, was reason enough to attend already. “Even if we left this event without getting a single lead,” said Nguy, “the experience of being here and understanding our customers and the way they think and the way they talk in a lot fuller context, I thought that was super valuable.” C2C Will be hosting many more face-to-face events in the coming months. To connect with Google Cloud customers in your area and spark more innovation for your company, register for these upcoming events below:
Between electronic payments emerging as a default option for digital native and traditional businesses alike and blockchain technology going mainstream in the private and public sectors, FinTech is quickly becoming a solution no startup can afford to undervalue. As Simon Taylor of 11:FS put it in the C2C Deep Dive he hosted on Feb. 10, 2022, “Every company is becoming a FinTech company.”For any who weren’t able to make this live session, the full recording is worth a watch. In a concise but rapid half-hour session, Taylor offers a complete functional overview of the Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) model, covering every operational consideration from customer experience to go-to-market strategy.The real benefit of connecting live with a guest like Taylor, however, is the opportunity to ask him direct questions and get an immediate response. For those who want to dive straight into the issues this presentation brought up for discussion, below are some of Taylor’s answers to questions from C2C community members.First, a question about consolidation of the BaaS space in a post-integration market prompted Taylor to walk through a series of real and hypothetical acquisitions at major FinTech companies, including FiServ, Synapse, and Unit: Later, a question about cryptocurrency in the digital payment space prodded Taylor to amend his previous statement about FinTech to “Every company is becoming a crypto company.” He also introduced the concept of the “DeFi” mullet, a “business up front, party at the back” model for FinServ companies which puts “FinTech at the front, Decentralized finance or crypto at the back”: Taylor was also more than willing to point attendees to a host of resources 11:FS has made available for specialists looking to dive even deeper into BaaS: Is your company a FinTech or crypto company, or becoming one? What do Taylor’s points imply for your company’s financial future? Post on one of our community pages and let us know what you think! Extra Credit11:FS Pulse Report 2022 Banking as a Service: the future of financial services 11:FS podcast Decoding: Banking as a Service - Episode 1 11:FS YouTube Plus, don’t miss the next event hosted by our startups community:
Challengers in the financial services industry—existing firms looking to innovate, start-ups looking to scale, and everyone in between—will gain an in-depth understanding of the banking and payments system from this Deep Dive. The recording from this Deep Dive includes:(1:15) Introduction to Simon Taylor and 11:FS (4:00) Introduction to banking as a service (BaaS) and its role across brands (7:20) Understanding the depth of service from BaaS API providers (13:10) How API providers enable focus on building user experience and expediting time to market (15:15) Embedding financial services into various customer experiences (17:25) Go-to-market requirements for launching FinTech products (20:10) Overcoming challenges between FinTech vendors and BaaS providers (21:20) Building finance operating systems (22:00) The four core issues and challenges: provider lock-in, geographic limits, flexibility vs. speed, and product configuration gaps (24:35) Open audience questionsFeatured in this session: Simon TaylorCo-Founder and Chief Product Officer, 11FS Simon Taylor is the Co-Founder and Blockchain Practice Lead at 11:FS. Simon has been immersed in the technology of financial services for as long as he’s been working. He is consistently voted one of the most influential people in Banking, Insurance, and Fintech by banks, his peers, and industry bodies. Simon led Blockchain Research and Development at Barclays. In his time there, Barclays became the first bank in the world to perform a live trade finance transaction over a Blockchain / DLT with a real customer attached. Today Simon advises governments, regulators, and some of the worlds largest banks, financial institutions, and corporations on how Blockchain and DLT will impact their business in the short, medium, and long term. Previously, Simon helped build the Barclays www.thinkrise.com program and held a number of roles in payments, banking, and the telco sector. Extra Credit11:FS Pulse Report 2022 Banking as a Service: the future of financial services 11:FS podcast Decoding: Banking as a Service - Episode 1 11:FS YouTube
The Bank of England (BoE), the world’s oldest central bank, is one of the most visible and high-profile investors in innovation. Over the last decade, it has developed its own innovation lab, with projects including The Bank of England Accelerator, Her Majesty’s Regulatory Innovation Plan and The Regulatory Sandbox. It introduced a RegTech cognitive search engine and uses artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for chatbots and predictive real-time insights. More recently, the Bank made headlines with its plans for a “digital pound” on the blockchain, called Britcoin, which will use AI in its executable smart contracts. Cognitive search engine The BoE employs a Switzerland-produced cognitive search engine as their company search solution. The tool uses AI and ML to gather data from multiple sources and deliver real-time relevant responses to users’ questions. The Bank also embeds it in its CRM to improve client conversations and reduce meeting preparation times. Users find answers to their questions up to 90% faster than they would with a manual search. This tool not only boosts productivity and improves client trust but also makes it easier and simpler for the Bank to comply with ever-changing regulations. Chatbots Chatbots the BoE uses for various services include: Functional chatbots that help customers with routine questions, such as directing callers to the closest ATMs to their locations. More sophisticated AI conversational assistants that feed customers investment recommendations and real-time market-related news, among other industry-related data. Chatbots using a combination of predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics to give decision-makers at the BoE real-time insights. Examples include helping BoE executives gauge their biggest competitors in the micro-lending space and helping them determine which customer segment they should target for their advertising for a new mobile app. Britcoin Bitcoin is the Bank of England's plan for a digital currency acceptable by retailers and other companies in lieu of debit and credit cards. Owners would have limits on how much Britcoin they could hold initially, but conversion to sterling and its transactions would take minutes. Unlike most cryptocurrencies, Britcoin will be a stablecoin, meaning it will tether itself to UK currency to avoid the problems of crypto fluctuations. Supporters appreciate that Britcoin would use AI-enabled smart contracts to execute DeFi transactions that are cheaper, faster, and more transparent than online payments and money transfers. Critics fear the innovation could lead to financial instability, along with higher loans and mortgage rates, among other problems. To resolve these issues, a task force has been assembled to report on the merits of the CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) by the end of this year. Why the Bank is interested in AI In her 2021 keynote address at the FinTech and InsurTech Live event on how the Bank of England uses AI, Tangy Morgan, an independent BoE advisor, described how the Bank conducted a survey assessing how banks headquartered or operated in Britain have used machine learning and data science during Covid-19, and how the BoE can profit from that report. The BoE found that the use of AI was growing at an exponential pace and could benefit the Bank in various ways. Possible applications of AI in this context include: Money laundering prevention AI to identify patterns of suspicious behavior and curb AML. Underwriting and pricing applications, where big data analytics scrutinizes customers’ risk profiles, tailoring premiums to match individual risks. Credit card fraud detection, whereby AI analyzes large numbers of transactions to detect fraud in real-time The Bank of England asservates that “developments in fintech … support our mission to promote the good of the people of the UK by maintaining monetary and financial stability.” Are you based in the UK? What do these uses of AI bring to mind for you? Write us on our platform and let us know.
Alex Eldemir (@Alex Eldemir), Chris Hood (@ChrisHood), and James Tsai of the Google Cloud Value Advisor team joined together with Howard Rubin of Rubin Worldwide in this C2C Deep Dive.The group shared insights on how CFOs are navigating ongoing financial volatility while adapting operations to new norms. The full recording from this session includes:(4:45) Producing digital experiences and using Google Cloud as a value creation system (8:20) Design study with Rubin Worldwide Optimizing business performance through cloud adoption Reducing infrastructure costs Increasing investments and revenue margins (16:35) Spending more on enabling new capabilities and less on supporting cloud (25:05) Recapping conclusions and measuring ROI (28:00) Overview of customer stories and open discussion Q&AOther Resources:PayPal uses Google Cloud to solve for 300 million active accounts in 200 markets Deutsche Bank and Google agree on multi-year, strategic partnership
The Google Cloud Tech channel on YouTube published this video overview of Datashare. Datashare, an open source toolkit, helps organize third-party data, making it accessible and useful to market data publishers and consumers. With market data in the cloud, the entire capital markets ecosystem—data publishers, aggregators, and consumers—can come together to exchange data. With our solution, market data publishers can on-board their licensed datasets to Google Cloud securely, quickly and easily, while consumers can consume that data as a service in tools of their preference, such as BigQuery.What do you think? Do you have a use case for Datashare?What questions do you have about Datashare? Share your thoughts in the comments below or start a conversation in our Data and Analytics group.
A cellist, programmer, and oh yes, CTO of Ironclad, the legal technology firm he co-founded, Cai GoGwilt is a millennial’s renaissance man, and C2C got to sit down with him to discuss how AI is used to improve the contracting collaboration process and so, so much more. What You Wanted to Know About Ironclad As a company, Ironclad is experiencing tremendous growth from marking the end of 2019 with three times the overall revenue growth and 90% customer growth, and also 250% product usage increase. But that’s not all. It also snapped up $100 million in Series D funding. For the end-user, Ironclad aims to power the world’s contracts. Using AI and a platform to streamline the contract collaboration and negotiation process can improve the entire experience and enable businesses to move faster. Ironclad’s easy-to-use platform allows non-technical users to create workflows for automating the most repetitive parts of the document handling process. Also, legal teams can customize a contract’s text fields and specify the parties who need to sign or approve it and store the agreement in a centralized archive once finalized. Get to know what the company does, directly from GoGwilt, and hear a use case in the video below. Why Is Ironclad Is a Google Cloud Shop? Let’s talk tech. Ironclad has been using Google Cloud since 2014 and has continued to build its products using Google Cloud Platform. Watch the clip to understand the thought process; what resonates with you? Suppose we understand that contracts are unstructured, unstandardized, and use nuanced legal language but are vital for organizations to bar against rare but detrimental occurrences. How does Ironclad solve them using Google Cloud’s AI/ML tools? The CTO on Leadership, Music, and Starting a Business There is a fascinating confluence of three disparate skillsets—music, programming, and leadership—that compose GoGwilt’s day-to-day, like an electric orchestra adding beat drops to Mozart. Cool, right? Hear about GoGwilt’s day-to-day in the clip below. Get to know his philosophy on how music helps him be the type of leader he also admires. Have a billion-dollar idea? Hear GoGwilt’s advice on starting a business and why you should genuinely love it. The 1 Word You Should Know When Building a Powerful Team: Integrity Building engineering or development teams—specifically, the right teams—is a challenge. Learn about how Ironclad does it and how it has scaled to meet its rapid ascent to Fortune Magazine’s Next Billion-Dollar Startups in 2020 list. What makes Ironclad’s culture unique? Final Question: If Ironclad Were a 10-Episode Netflix Series, what Episode Are We on Today? IronClad and GoGwilt will also be sharing the latest advances in contracting at its flagship summit, State of Digital Contracting, on March 25. Extra Credit GoGwilt’s favorite book is Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute. He said it helps the reader get out of the self-victimization framework and provides tools to change your mindset and be a better teammate with strong personal and professional relationships. His favorite podcast is The Daily by The New York Times. His favorite color is blue, has a love-hate relationship with “Silicon Valley” (the show, obviously!), and will probably beat you in any TI-83 Dance, Dance Revolution game.
Kicking off its Rockstar Conversations series, C2C welcomed Lori Mitchell-Keller to the virtual stage to discuss everything from her new role at Google Cloud to her and her team’s initiatives around industry strategy, as well as her work in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space.Mitchell-Keller stepped into the role of global head of industry solutions at Google Cloud only four months ago but has had more than 25 years of experience in the technology ecosystem. She most recently spent 13 years at SAP, where she oversaw 20 industries such as financial services, health care, retail, among others. She is a powerhouse who is passionate about serving customers and meeting them where they’re at. “It’s really great to be part of a culture that’s not only interested in how the company is doing, but also how society is doing.”Watch the whole interview below:
This article was originally published on August 19, 2020.There has been no shortage of interesting and incisive industry profiles during the first five weeks of Google Cloud Next OnAir. The breadth and depth of the on-demand content is just right for leaders of enterprises looking for inspiration from peers and in-the-trenches know-how across several key industries.As VP of Industry Solutions Lori Mitchell-Keller noted in her welcome remarks, Google Cloud is focusing on a set of core areas to help drive business transformation for organizations in those industries. (See below.)Let’s take a closer look at some of the key industries that have been covered and what customers can take away from the compelling stories we’ve heard so far.1. Retail Is RockingSince July, we’ve heard numerous fascinating and insightful retail presentations during Google Cloud Next OnAir, as well as announcements from leading retailers that are seeking to change the status quo. We’ve heard from brand-name giants and smaller players about how they are charting their own paths during 2020 and how they’re preparing for the future.Best Buy, for example, is partnering with Google Cloud to “unify its data sources across various legacy platforms in order to develop more personalized shopping experiences for consumers,” according to ZDNet. Once the data house is in order, Best Buy is going to tap Google’s analytics, AI, and machine learning wares to create new retail services across channels.Keurig Dr Pepper is going to “shift to virtual machines running on Google Cloud by the end of 2020, retiring two data centers with more than 1,000 servers,” writes CIO Dive. The move is key for Keurig Dr Pepper’s “merger integration and modernization efforts.”Etsy did good for its business-modernization efforts and for the environment: “Etsy completed its Google Cloud migration in only two years, allowing the organization to scale both up and down as needed based on the cycles of its e-commerce business,” notes ITProPortal. “This transition enabled Etsy to be more cost-effective and set the organization up to reduce its overall energy use by a whopping 25% by 2025.”Lastly, online shopping can get much more personal—and help drive lasting customer loyalty—with Recommendations AI. Read about the topic on this post by Google Cloud’s Pallav Mehta. You can also check out a great summary of retail sessions and resources compiled by Carrie Tharp, Google Cloud VP of retail, including some helpful advice on getting ready for the holiday shopping season—which will be here before we know it.2. Financial ServicesStart your financial services deep dive with high-level conversations between Google Cloud and its customers Capital One and The Bank of New York Mellon. For the record, Google Cloud’s financial service category includes banks, capital markets, and insurance companies.Melanie Frank, managing VP of PowerUp Technology at Capital One, offers a look into its seven-year digital transformation journey, with a key focus around talent and how its employees work. Frank talks about how the company’s “work from anywhere, at any time, on any device” strategy has been hugely critical to operations during COVID-19.Sarthak Pattanaik, CIO of clearance and collateral technology at The Bank of New York Mellon, shares the financial institution’s “bi-modal” approach to technology strategy: its transaction platform, which is on-premise; and its cloud platform investments, which serves as the basis of its “innovation engine,” Sarthak said. One example: the bank is using Google Cloud Platform to predict the probability of a transaction fail, which is a huge customer service win for the bank.Another recent article involved CME Group and how the company has approached real-time data feeds. Of course, there are key constituents that need market data delivered in real time—and that’s what CME Group already does. But what about those who don’t need real-time data for, say, analysis of big sets of data? Here’s a look at CME’s offering so that its customers “can now access its delayed data, useful for analytics that don’t need more expensive real-time data, through Google Cloud,” according to Forbes.Finally, take an inside look at KeyBank’s decision-making around moving its data warehouse to the cloud. “There are some big considerations that go into making these kinds of legacy versus modern enterprise technology decisions,” writes Michael Onders, EVP chief data officer, divisional CIO, and head of enterprise architecture at KeyBank, in a blog post.3. Health Care and Life SciencesCOVID-19 has forced nearly every industry to reimagine “business,” and none more critical than health care and life sciences. Dr. John Halamka, president of Mayo Clinic Platform and a practicing ER physician, shared that “COVID-19 is pushing us toward a digital-first health care delivery system” during his interview on Google Cloud Next OnAir. He went on to predict that big change will continue: “Health care will be 60% or more virtual across all modalities of delivery in this new normal.”As for managing health care data, he offered this quip: “We have too much data and not enough wisdom.”Take a deeper dive into the Mayo Clinic’s story and read how its data platform has been accelerated using BigQuery and Variant Transforms. Beyond the ability to provide better services and make better decisions, there’s this benefit: “As Mayo Clinic scales out sequencing to hundreds of thousands of patients, they estimate saving $1.5 million over three years by using Google Cloud and Variant Transforms instead of their existing solution,” notes this Google Cloud blog post.We all know that, in many cases, good health care starts with the human being. This profile of how Fitbit moved its monolithic application to the Google Cloud Platform offers insight into how its “progressive” project plan kept Fitbit’s users happy during the transition. “Fitbit ultimately found success with its approach,” according to a diginomica article, “completing the migration three weeks early.” Which is always a nice win-win.4. What’s Next?What you just read was a small sampling of the customer stories, product insight, and resources available for Google Cloud customers across numerous industries.At C2C, we are continuing the conversation on multiple fronts and for multiple industries, so please join us:On Friday, Aug. 21, we host our first Next OnAir Talks, and cover Google Cloud industries and takeaways from Google Cloud Next OnAir. Read more about the series and register for that event or our two other upcoming sessions.On Thursday, Sept. 10, we’re kicking off our Rockstar Conversations series with none other than Lori Mitchell-Keller. You can reserve your spot here. Don't delay—seating is limited.
Enter your username or e-mail address. We'll send you an e-mail with instructions to reset your password.
Sorry, we're still checking this file's contents to make sure it's safe to download. Please try again in a few minutes.OK
Sorry, our virus scanner detected that this file isn't safe to download.OK