Banking giant HSBC is undertaking a global replacement of its enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in what is the company's first experiment with cloud computing.
HSBC's CFO of global services, Joanna Fielding, took to the stage at Oracle's OpenWorld conference this week to detail the Project Velocity ERP overhaul.
The bank has historically built its own systems or bought and customised technology - a situation that had meant keeping its systems current was "incredibly expensive and just difficult to do," Fielding said.
Around two years ago HSBC made the decision to adopt a lease-over-buy mindset for technology, with the transformation of its legacy back office systems to become the first cloud implementation across the bank.
It brought in Deloitte to guide it through the various solutions on offer in the market, eventually settling on Oracle's Fusion platform.
"We signed off in May last year, and we're implementing ERP and EPM [enterprise performance management] for the whole of HSBC global services, which is essentially half the banks, but we're also looking at building out the same platform across the entire HSBC group," Fielding said.
"It's all about increasing control, reducing costs, improving transparency around the cost base so businesses understand their drivers and can make better commercial decisions."
A pilot implementation went live in the UK in March, followed by a full rollout in July.
While the project started as an effort to "increase control and transparency around costs", opting for a hosted rather than on-premise solution had also allowed HSBC to adapt more quickly to changes in the UK regulatory environment, Fielding said.
Her global services unit was set up to respond to new regulations which required HSBC to ring-fence its UK operations.
Global services provides back office functions to both the isolated UK operations as well as the rest of HSBC's global group.
"We couldn't have responded to that regulation as quickly as we've been able to do if we'd gone with an on-premise solution," Fielding said.
Allie Coyne travelled to OpenWorld as a guest of Oracle