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UBS: Public cloud is appropriate for business critical apps

The banking group is implementing Oracle’s fusion HCM application

Banking and financial services group UBS has said that it can see the potential for using both platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and database-as-a-service (DaaS) for business critical applications.

Ian Kelly, global head of HR technology at UBS, was speaking this week at Oracle OpenWorld on the company's implementation of Oracle's software-as-a-service (SaaS) Fusion HCM application, which is being rolled out to a 65,000 strong workforce across more than 50 countries.

During Kelly's talk he said that selecting Fusion HCM was easy because it isn't an application that differentiates UBS from its competition, but is rather used to improve services for UBS employees internally.

However, when asked by Computerworld UK if this meant UBS wouldn't use cloud for applications that did differentiate it from its competition, Kelly disagreed.

"We certainly see the potential and can see the SaaS model having applicability that is broader than HCM, and indeed broader than applications. So, for example, PaaS and DaaS," he said.

"We don't have specific plans yet, but certainly the potential is there. We absolutely see that SaaS is an appropriate model for business critical applications."

Kelly also revealed that prior to implementing Fusion HCM, UBS had to make Oracle change some of the security features on the application in order to make it suitable for the financial services industry.

"We did extensive due diligence with Oracle to understand how the security architecture is implemented and the features of that. We had good access to the development team so we got under the skin of the product. We got ourselves comfortable that the right features were in place," he said.

"From a data protection perspective we do have particular accountabilities to our regulators, which we need to see in all of the deals that we do for software or for services. That was really a detailed contractual process we went through with Oracle to understand our requirements."

Kelly added: "Some of the areas that we had a requirement for [change] were encryption and segregation of duties within the service model. That was an extension, or an enhancement, to the standard software-as-a-service model. From conversations with Oracle earlier this week, it's a requirement that other customers are starting to request now."

UBS' comments conflict with those made by an SVP of IT at Citigroup earlier this week, who said that Oracle's public cloud offerings could not satisfy the needs of its operations in the financial services sector.

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