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From Pivot Magazine

How these early adopters use the cloud to their advantage

Reduced overhead, heightened security, better data management—the benefits of the cloud can’t be understated

Hands are shown holding a cell phoneCompanies typically save as much as 30 per cent when moving their applications to the cloud (Photograph by Getty)

More organizations are turning to the cloud, citing reduced overhead costs, better data asset management and heightened security capabilities. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure senior vice-president of engineering Clay Magouyrk estimates that companies typically save as much as 30 per cent when moving their applications to the cloud, as opposed to upgrading their on-premises IT systems. Here’s a look at three Canadian businesses using the cloud to maximize their growth and impact:

EQ Bank

In 2019, EQ Bank—the digital arm of the branchless Equitable Bank—became Canada’s first bank to move exclusively to cloud-based operations.

“We are leaving behind the traditional industry approaches of armchair technologies to innovate faster and serve Canadians better, right now,” senior vice-president and chief information officer Dan Dickinson said in a statement.

The bank began its cloud transformation process in 2016 with the goal of providing a better online user experience. It bolstered its back-end systems utilizing the Microsoft Azure platform, as well as Atlassian cloud-based software development tools.

The bank also said the move spared them from “tedious” IT infrastructure maintenance tasks while cutting overhead costs considerably, allowing it to offer its customers no-fee chequing and savings accounts.

More recently, some of Canada’s biggest brick-and-mortar banks, such as CIBC (Microsoft Azure), Scotiabank (Google Cloud) and BMO (Amazon Web Services), have bolstered their capabilities and made significant cloud commitments.

“Every financial services company today has an incredible opportunity to apply advances in cloud computing to redefine every aspect of their business,” added Zia Mansoor, vice-president solutions with Microsoft Canada. “EQ Bank is a good example of this transformation.”


A licensed online sports book in Ontario, Pointsbet was one of the first to be approved in the province’s newly created iGaming category prior to the April 2022 rollout of regulated private sports betting.

The company developed a cloud-based platform that it says offers the reliable IT infrastructure needed to avoid errors and glitches that can prove “disastrous” in the increasingly competitive market of online betting platforms.

“Losses can run into the millions of dollars as players take their business elsewhere and the reputational and brand damage can be hard to reverse,” it said in a release. The cloud also allows the company to access data swiftly.

“What was estimated for an engineer to hand-code in two weeks,” said Maayan Dermer, PointsBet’s data engineering lead, “can now be done in four hours [using cloud technology].”

Canadian National Railway

Last December, CN announced a seven-year strategic partnership with Google Cloud as part of its move toward digitally scheduled railroading. The new operations model will be powered by Google Cloud’s artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that CN says will enhance logistics in its planning, shipping, tracking and payment tools.

The cloud-based model is an effort to modernize CN’s technology and infrastructure, which will rely on the new tech to carry out predictive maintenance capabilities as the rail operator begins to move the majority of its infrastructure from on-premises to the cloud.

“The transportation and logistics industry is evolving rapidly to build more resilient, responsive supply chains that adapt to global events and provide customers more visibility and flexibility,” Jim Lambe, managing director at Google Cloud Canada, said in a release.

“Our partnership with Google Cloud is central to our strategic plan,” CN executive vice-president and chief information and technology officer Dominique Malenfant said, “and reinforces our commitment to digitalizing scheduled railroading … by investing in technologies that deliver high-quality service to customers, improve safety, and create capacity.”


Learn why cloud adoption will continue at a torrid pace, dive deeper into the benefits and issues of cloud computing and explore the top five questions CPAs have about the cloud.

Big Tech’s influence

Big Tech has positioned itself as a leader in cloud platform hosting and deployment across the globe. Google, Microsoft and Amazon are the “Big Three” in cloud technology, while other heavyweights like IBM and Oracle are also diverting more corporate focus and marketing toward cloud services. Amazon’s cloud-hosting arm, Amazon Web Services, hosts one-third of all global business on the cloud, including essential services like online banking in addition to holding several government contracts in the U.S. and Canada.

All of these firms are making significant inroads in Canada—where private and public partnerships are fostered and a diverse, well-trained employee base exists—as it becomes a hotbed for major cloud development. IBM, for example, recently opened its “cloud modernization centre” in Gatineau, Quebec, where it will work with the federal government to accelerate its cloud capabilities (a survey of government leaders in Canada found that 87 per cent felt that modernizing IT infrastructure should be a top priority).

Here’s a look at where Big Tech is setting up shop across the country:

Amazon Web Services
Google Cloud Platform
Oracle Cloud
Microsoft Azure

Amazon Web Services (opening 2023)
Google Cloud

Quebec City:
Microsoft Azure

IBM Cloud

Google Cloud
IBM Cloud
Microsoft Azure
Oracle Cloud
Tencent Cloud

Amazon Web Services
Google Cloud
Microsoft Azure