Digitization is heavily transforming the Financial Services Industry. All players are facing the challenge of reacting to new trends while also having the possibility to actively shape them. This proves to be particularly relevant for exchange organizations: At a time when investors expect faster, more advanced and secure platforms, IT leaders in the financial industry are striving to meet and exceed demands by using proven, high-performance technologies complying with highest standards on information security. Moreover, companies like Deutsche Börse Group are operating in a strictly regulated environment.
As an international market infrastructure and exchange organization, we are covering the entire value chain from pre-trade to trade and post-trade processes. While many financial services organizations have shied away from cloud services due to regulatory concerns, we chose to liaise closely with government regulators to transform how the technology would benefit our industry and everyone we serve.
For Deutsche Börse Group the main goal was to increase speed, scalability, performance, security, and compliance advantages that operating in the cloud can support. As a whole company, we are following a multi-cloud strategy specifically for business continuity and flexibility reasons. For migrating some of our SAP workloads out of our on-prem environments, we ultimately chose to use Google Cloud as our trusted provider of cloud infrastructure and services.
Raising standards for exchange efficiency, responsiveness
Our shift from running our S/4HANA environment on-prem to the cloud has proven to be highly beneficial. For example, by using the Google Cloud infrastructure, we reduced the time to build an S/4HANA environment in Switzerland from nine months on-prem to three months in the cloud.
Scalability was another area where demands were high. Fortunately, we were able to quickly accomplish great things with Google Cloud. Business processes such as reporting, billing and invoicing, or onboarding client services that were handled manually to a certain extent, have become way more flexible and less time consuming. We were also able to automate processes like infrastructure management, recovery procedures, system responsiveness, and resilience.
Before we moved our new S/4 HANA environment running in Google, we relied on legacy on-prem SAP and non-SAP applications including a huge Business Warehouse, which left us with little flexibility to scale with new markets and business opportunities, or to quickly make data available to new consumers when needed.
Our performance also relies heavily on our security and compliance practices. When we looked at the native security and compliance features on the infrastructure level within Google Cloud, we were confident that it was the right choice to meet the needs of both our customers and regulators. Activities such as technical system and application monitoring, encryption of data in motion and at rest, and a universe of other security and operations tools that come out-of-the-box with Google Cloud further solidified our decision.
We are also able to improve our disaster recovery posture by using Google Cloud infrastructure in Germany and Belgium to complement our two data centers to help ensure high availability of our systems.
Strong automation engines for replicating and multiplying environments or connecting to other cloud providers offered more validation that we have moved into the right direction. Making the effective switch from on-prem to the cloud, we could always rely on the infrastructure provided by Google Cloud.
Achieving greater performance, agility and data accessibility with SAP on Google Cloud
As a part of our transformation of back-office processes, we continue to migrate all our legacy environments such as SAP ERP, CRM, BW and other dependent applications to SAP S/4HANA into Google Cloud.
We have seen a lot of performance improvements, including decreases in critical access, load, and recovery times. For example, since moving SAP to Google Cloud, we were able to cut system recovery times by over half, dropping from 45 minutes to under 20 minutes.
On the billing side, we used to have permanent machines to handle millions of monthly customer invoices from trades and the related regulatory simulation run needs. These workloads have expensive processing demands that posed challenges to the previous system. Now, with SAP on Google Cloud, we can spin up and decommission machines for a few days only as needed for billing, which boosts efficiency and cost control.
Customer invoicing is one of our biggest areas of data growth. We currently have about 5TB of data in SAP applications coming from this one area alone, and that number is growing by 1TB annually. In addition, we have 17TB to 20TB in SAP Business Warehouse (BW). We are planning to use native services on Google Cloud to improve accessibility, data tiering and data management, and operational efficiency.
In the future, we are also working on taking advantage of easy-to-use capabilities readily available on Google Cloud. By running SAP on Google Cloud instead of on-prem, we have been able to transform the SAP application access. Instead of using several passwords and clicks for accessing information and services, our employees can get started securely with just a browser and a couple of clicks. This change will be of great impact, since these systems are regularly accessed by our more than 10,000 employees worldwide – whether working from home or in the office.
Equally important, Google Cloud and SAP have a strong partnership which can help us to explore how developers, analytics teams, and others can maximize the value of running SAP on Google Cloud. For example, we are beginning to experiment with BigQuery and BW/4 HANA to improve query times through data slicing, tiering, and other methods made possible by integrations between the solutions. We expect to reduce query response times from what has sometimes been up to two hours to five minutes or less.
Working with regulators to improve cloud use across financial services
Google Cloud has taken a proactive, policy-driven approach to security and compliance, which is essential for the strictly regulated environment we are operating in. By using Google Cloud built-in security, we can help support requirements of regulators including the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority in Germany for workload, data, and IT operations management.
Regulators play a decisive role in our digitisation roadmap since they must approve migration of workloads to the cloud. We have had a great experience in liaising our step-by-step-journey with them to help safely and securely integrate more cloud services to enhance our everyday operations. We view industry regulators both as authorities and partners, as we share their interest in financial stability of the markets and the benefits of new and better ways of working.
By collaborating with Google Cloud and transforming our SAP landscape, we are aiming to provide a blueprint to regulators and other companies in financial services of how to bring more of the benefit that cloud services offer into our industry – without jeopardizing regulation, data protection, and other legislations and/or good practices.
While Deutsche Börse Group is proud to be a financial services leader in moving business infrastructure into the cloud, we also know that this is just the beginning of our journey. Running SAP on Google Cloud will continue to play a key role along this path.
Click here to learn more about what running SAP on Google Cloud can do for your organization.
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