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Inside the Microsoft deal that will “transform” the skills of Standard Chartered staff

Standard Chartered’s technologists in Singapore will need to “evolve” their skills and adopt “cloud-first principles” under the bank’s new three-year deal with Microsoft to use Azure as its preferred cloud platform, says the man leading the transformation project.

“Our plan is to move most of our applications and data which currently sit in on-premises physical data centres which we operate, to cloud-based providers, subject to regulatory approvals,” says Singapore-based Bhupendra Warathe, Stan Chart’s chief technology officer for cloud transformation. “By 2025, we expect our significant applications, including our core banking and trading systems and new digital ventures, such as virtual banking and banking-as-a-service, to be cloud-based,” Warathe tells us.

Stan Chart, which announced the cloud partnership with Microsoft earlier this week, will begin by moving its trade finance systems to Microsoft Azure. It will also use Azure’s artificial intelligence and data analytics capabilities to automate banking processes and personalise products for clients. The two firms will collaborate to develop open banking and real-time payments platforms.

The Microsoft deal enables Stan Chart to accelerate the outsourcing of its tech infrastructure, freeing up time for its technologists to focus on developing new banking products, says Warathe. “As a result, the skills needed in the technology team will evolve. To support the bank’s digital transformation, we have embarked on our people transformation strategy, where we’ve adopted new ways of working and invested in training our people in future skills, such as engineering, data and analytics. With our aim of adopting cloud-first principles for all new software developments and major enhancements, these are also the skills sets we will grow,” he adds.

Many of Stan Chart’s new cloud-based products will be developed by its Singapore-based technologists. “Singapore is an important operational hub for the bank’s global business, technology, operations and innovation, and we will continue to build out our capabilities here, including cloud,” says Warathe.

Since 2018 Stan Chart has increased its Singapore headcount from 8,000 to 10,000, of which more than 1,200 roles are in what the bank calls “future growth areas” such as cyber security, data solutions, analytics, cloud, AI architecture, API, and DevOps.

Almost 30% of the current Singapore-based vacancies on Stan Chart’s careers site are in technology. More than half of these tech jobs require cloud skills, including several with a specific cloud focus, such as a cloud delivery specialist, a senior cloud operations engineer, and a senior security specialist for cloud and container security.

Stan Chart is competing with other banks for tech candidates who have experience working on cloud-based systems. “There’s a shortage of people with rounded skills, encompassing traditional tech skills and cloud, especially in cyber security,” says tech recruiter Matthew Caddick, managing director of Aptitude Asia.

Image: Shawnn Tan, Unsplash

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Email: or Telegram: @simonmortlock. You can also follow me on LinkedIn.

AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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