Morgan Stanley CTO Rob Rooney Explains Microsoft’s Cloud Strategy Partnership
- Morgan Stanley and Microsoft have just announced a partnership around cloud technology.
- Morgan Stanley is undergoing a digital transformation focused on the use of the public cloud.
- Morgan Stanley’s top tech executive Rob Rooney spoke to Insider about his partnership with Microsoft.
- See more stories on the Insider business page.
Morgan Stanley partners with tech giant to support banking digital transformation and public cloud adoption.
The bank announced a strategic cloud partnership with Microsoft on Wednesday. This involves the two sides working together as Morgan Stanley seeks to overhaul its technology and move away from using physical databases.
Rob Rooney, head of technology, operations and business resiliency at Morgan Stanley, told Insider the bank feels poised to make a significant breakthrough in the cloud after years of foundational work with the technology.
“What we’re really trying to get is a level of innovation and flexibility that we can’t get on-premise,” he said, referring to software that runs on database sites. physical data rather than on remote servers.
“Our on-premises environment is frankly world-class, incredibly efficient and performs exceptionally well, but we can’t scale it the way we can in the cloud,” he added.
Bobby Gilja will serve as Morgan Stanley’s point of contact for the partnership, working with Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of cloud and AI at Microsoft, and his team. Gilja is a 34-year Morgan Stanley veteran who in February was appointed Head of Cloud and Architecture, a newly created role focused on driving cloud strategy, activation and adoption. from the bank, Insider reported at the time.
Rooney cited sharing of data in the cloud with customers as a key goal for the bank and a motivator to get into the tech. The ability to distill huge amounts of information into concise advice for clients large and small is the “holy grail,” he added.
“We have a lot of data that could be of use to a lot of our customers, but I think finding the right super efficient and safe way to share it with our customers is a really important part of our future,” he said. . “Doing this in the cloud is really the only solution. “
Microsoft was ready to prioritize key features for Morgan Stanley
Rooney acknowledged that the bank was not one of the early adopters of the cloud, but said Morgan Stanley was deliberate in its approach.
Part of the reluctance came from the fact that cloud providers weren’t ready to work with a large, complicated and highly regulated company, he added.
This partly led to Morgan Stanley’s decision to partner with Microsoft. Rooney said the cloud provider was ready to prioritize certain areas, the bank believed the public cloud was still lacking.
Microsoft’s commitment to continue working on application-level encryption, a standard level of security on all new released features, and open source capabilities were three areas Rooney highlighted as key to the bank’s decision. to partner with Microsoft.
Morgan Stanley will maintain a multi-cloud approach, working with other cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and IBM, Rooney said. However, Microsoft Azure, the tech giant’s cloud offering, will be its primary partner.
“Some of the things that are really important to us, we are convinced that their commitment to accelerate them in our schedule is something really beneficial,” Rooney said.
“And by the way, it will be good for Azure, because we don’t think what we’re looking for is something that not everyone needs,” he added.
Wall Street partners with vendors to move to the cloud
While Wall Street has appeared to be more aggressive with its adoption of cloud technology, some have partnered with the biggest providers in the space.
In December 2020, Deutsche Bank signed a multi-year partnership with Google Cloud to work on the digital transformation of the bank and collaborate on offers and solutions oriented towards financial services.
Bank of America announced in 2019 that it was working with IBM on developing its hybrid cloud offering that specifically targets Wall Street. In April 2021, the tech giant’s cloud offering focused on financial services was widely distributed.
AWS has also worked with its fair share of financial firms, including JPMorgan and the $ 51.5 billion hedge fund Millennium Management.
Morgan Stanley has also worked with AWS. In May, Vikas Chawla, executive director of Morgan Stanley’s technology and enterprise services team, detailed how the bank uses technology to analyze 3 billion data points every day to measure risk. to actions.
Partnerships between cloud providers and banks are just the latest iteration of what has been a constant in the industry, Rooney said.
“We have world-class technologists at Morgan Stanley, but we are a global investment bank, wealth manager and asset manager,” he added. “So partnering up with world-class tech organizations that live and breathe this stuff is something we’ve always been doing. “