At Cloud Expo Europe, the UK’s biggest and most attended technology event, I had the chance keep up with the latest innovations in the ever-changing B2B tech landscape by attending the jam-packed speaker programme. Cloud Expo Europe covers everything from FinTech to DevOps, giving me the opportunity to listen to speakers and watch demos and exhibitions. Here are my three biggest takeaways from the event…

Technology is still revolutionising banking

The banking and finance industry has been one of the most disrupted sectors in the last five years due to the number of technology companies that are challenging the traditional banks. It was interesting to hear from HSBC and Allianz – their experiences are that it’s not only well-funded start-ups which are threatening their place in the market, but it’s also the likes of Amazon and Google who are looking to take a bite out of the traditional banks.

So, how are they adapting to keep up with the Fintech specialists? Axel Kotulla, Head of Enterprise Architecture at Allianz and James Bickerton, Global Head of Operational Strategy at HSBC both talked about maximising how they use data so that they can close the gap between what the customer wants and what the banks are offering them. At the moment only 0.5% of data is analysed so it’s no surprise that banks are focusing on investing in technology that will help them interpret data that is currently sitting there unused. Data allows banks to get closer to their customers, so they can give them a personalised experience, not just a one size fits all approach. This is where the FinTech companies have had the edge on banks in recent years: companies like Monzo gave their customers an end of year review, which gave people a snapshot of where they spent their money. It turned out to be a real hit, with many users sharing their review on Twitter, shocked at how much money they had spent eating out, for example. But by utilising this data banks have a chance of fending off the challengers in finance, but at the moment they still seem to be playing catch up to the newcomers.

Cybersecurity is more important than ever in financial services

There has been an unprecedented level of cyber attacks in the UK this year and the finance industry is still high on the list of targets for hackers. Listening to talks in the Future of Finance Theatre, it was clear that the complexity in the industry means that breaches can come from many different sources. The extra threat of attack is on apps, with 71% of hacks in the finance and insurance industry coming through apps. Companies need to plug every hole in their system because hackers don’t wait for the go ahead. A point made by a leading security expert was that the average timeline from identifying a weakness in a company’s system to hacking the system is one week, giving little to no time for the company to thwart the attack.

Whilst finance brands are still focused on strengthening their security infrastructure, there’s no reason why other industries should be complacent. Other industries including retail and healthcare still have too many vulnerabilities.

Digital Transformation is a dangerous buzzword

The most interesting speaker slot and the topic that most resonated with me was about ‘dangerous buzzwords’ by Lindsay Herbert who is an author and the Inventor & Senior Technology Leader at IBM. She talked about the ongoing megatrend: Digital Transformation and how much it is misunderstood. Here are some of the myths and misconceptions about Digital Transformation, according to Lindsay:

  • “We need a major budget for a Digital Transformation project to be successful”: Some of the most successful had low budgets.
  • “We have consensus within our organisation on what Digital Transformation means” Real-world evidence shows that this is far from the case.
  • “Business will revert to Business as Usual after a Digital Transformation”: it is a one-way trip with a single-minded strategic objective: make an organisation more adaptive to change.

She goes on to say that real Digital Transformation is about the organisation’s ability to react to using new processes, technologies and ways of working not about how much they have spent on new technology.

With so many expert speakers and exhibitions to enjoy at Cloud Expo Europe, it was impossible to take everything in, but these were some important points that stuck with me. If you want to get ahead of the curve, explore how we can support your business to break away from the overused buzzwords – and then there’s always the work we’ve done with the UK’s leading secure hybrid IT provider Pulsant.


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