ING carries out its data fabric vision

IBM Cloud Pak® for Data improves data governance and user access in a hybrid cloud environment

By | 3 minute read | July 6, 2021

people in an office staircase

In the banking world, how do you describe the corpus of a visionary? They come in all shapes and sizes. Their inspiration originates from personal backgrounds, professional experiences, and industries. The distinction is typically earned through invention, business acumen and profit, or change in the human condition. Their ingenuity, passion or grit transform visions into reality.

One constant among visionaries is the recognition that they cannot fully realize their vision alone. Even the best conceptual plan is dependent on collaboration. Surrounding oneself with individuals and providers who contribute to the life force of the idea is essential to success.

In his own words


—Ferd Scheepers, Chief AI Architect, ING

Data fabric for built-in governance, security and regulatory compliance in an infrastructure

What is data fabric? The core of the data fabric architecture is a data management platform that enables the full breadth of integrated data management capabilities, including discovery, governance, curation, and orchestration, regardless of on-premises, multicloud or hybrid cloud platforms. It provides business-ready data that supports applications, analytics and business process automation. Data fabric helps businesses meet the needs of their users by having the right data just in time, at the optimum cost, with end-to-end governance.

For ING, data fabric is a bright idea

ING Chief Architect Ferd Scheepers had long thought of harnessing data fabric in a hybrid cloud environment. Mr. Scheepers has a long history of teaming with industry leaders to bring his visions of data governance concepts to life at ING. He started with data warehousing, which evolved to a data lake solution and expanded to a hybrid cloud infrastructure. As the ING ecosystem changed, his North Star remained the same: empower ING’s data citizens with access to governed data and toolsets that comply with business policy and multi-jurisdiction regulations.

 Check out the Data Differentiator to learn more about Data Fabric. 

Maintaining governance without expensive manual effort

ING’s centralized governed data lake adequately served its organizational and regulatory needs at the surface—but Mr. Scheepers wanted more out of this business-critical environment. The amount of manual work, the number of subject matter experts, and the associated maintenance costs became an inhibitor to getting more data into the data lake. The challenge amplified as ING moved more data into the cloud and cloud-native applications. It became a never-ending story. Furthermore, ING needed to govern its data in the cloud the same way it does in its on-premises environment. The heterogeneity of the landscape and plethora of different tools available in the cloud add to the complexity—and headaches.

Strengthening data access across the organization without headaches

As Mr. Scheepers searched for a solution, he shared his vision with a trusted partner, IBM. He sought an automated abstraction layer, between data and the consumers of this data, across its hybrid cloud environment. And that layer had to adhere to ING’s governance policies, deliver data from different record sources, and map directly to ING’s company language. The prospect of reducing complexity and manual work and offering new possibilities to ING data consumers and industry regulators was the end goal.

Delivering the right data to the right people at the right time with an intelligent data fabric 

Mr. Scheepers and IBM’s Data and AI resources teamed up to deliver a data fabric solution on IBM Cloud Pak® for Data. IBM Cloud Pak for Data runs across an open, hybrid cloud environment that adapts to ING’s multi-platform, heterogeneous landscape.  It enables just-in-time access to the right data across any cloud and on-premises, at the optimum cost, with the appropriate level of governance.

With this solution, ING set governing and data quality rules and defined business taxonomy, access rights, privacy, and protection across its data stores regardless of the platform where it resides.  The data fabric solution solved the nagging challenge providing high-quality, governed, business- and regulatory audit-ready data across the entire enterprise, including the multiple locations in which the company operates. It automates virtual or physical data integration needs automatically based on data usage patterns.

The capabilities of IBM and data fabric on Cloud Pak for Data essentially made this visionary’s ideal come true for the Dutch organization.

Mr. Scheepers further describes his challenge and success in his session Hybrid Cloud Data Fabric Vision with ING featured in the recent IBM Data and AI Virtual Forum.

This event features over 25 client and expert technology sessions from financial services organizations. Speakers describe their specific challenges and how they integrated AI solutions to improve business and operational efficiencies and new, post-pandemic strategies for growth. Register for the on-demand content here.

Visit Journey to AI for additional resources on IBM Cloud Pak for Data and data fabric.