Point-to-point integration between front- and back-end systems cut the flexibility and speed of app development at ADIB Egypt. To capture new market opportunities, the bank needed to move faster.
ADIB Egypt deployed IBM Integration Bus, enabling plug-and-play re-use of existing business services in new digital channels, and IBM Mobile on IBM Cloud, facilitating the rapid development of new mobile apps.
Sharpenscompetitive edge through faster delivery of new apps and functionality
More efficientintegration through code-once, use-many-times approach
Drivesgrowth by unlocking access to previously unreachable consumers
Business challenge story
Reaching new customers on mobile
The need to comply with local and international regulations means increased time-to-market for all banks. The challenge is greater still for Islamic banks like ADIB Egypt, which must also comply with Shari’a regulations.
To level the playing field with non-Islamic rivals, ADIB Egypt wanted to increase the speed of development of new customer-facing services. From an architectural perspective, the bank’s use of individual point-to-point connections between back-end and front-end systems made it slow and costly to build new offerings or refine existing ones.
As the first step in its digital transformation, ADIB Egypt wanted to introduce a flexible integration layer on top of its core systems. The goal was to enable front-end applications – including customer-facing digital channels – to connect in a standardized way to a catalog of back-end services.
As the second step, ADIB Egypt decided to create full-featured web and mobile banking solutions on this new integration layer. In addition to enabling customers to manage their money without the inconvenience of visiting a branch, the goal was to increase staff productivity and enable in-branch employees to focus on solving more complex issues for customers.
Launching enhanced web and mobile channels was also an opportunity to win new customers, as Ahmed Bekhit, IT Manager at ADIB Egypt, explains: “Most of the large proportion of Egypt’s population that is unbanked has access to a mobile device. We knew that improving our digital presence would help us to reach this market segment. While our competitors were opening a variety of digital channels, we could not afford to lag behind.”
Re-using services through flexible integration
To support its digital transformation initiative, ADIB Egypt chose IBM Integration Bus Advanced (since superseded by IBM App Connect Enterprise v11, the next generation of IBM Integration Bus) to act as the integration layer between front- and back-end services. The bank deployed IBM WebSphere® Application Server to host its internet banking services, taking advantage of the platform’s reputation for robustness, reliability, and deep integration with cloud and mobile services.
“We knew that the rapid delivery of web and mobile apps would drive significant competitive advantage for ADIB Egypt,” says Ahmed Bekhit. “To enable faster development, we deployed IBM Integration Bus to enable us to expose existing business services in a consistent way. Instead of manually creating each point of integration with back-end services, developers can now simply select the service they need from our internal catalog.”
ADIB Egypt is now working through a roadmap that will ultimately provide 175 distinct services through IBM Integration Bus, which already manages all data exchange between the core banking systems and the payment hub, in addition to all interactions with internet and mobile banking solutions for both the corporate and consumer markets.
Yehia Ahmed, Head of Integration at ADIB Egypt, comments: “Our architecture policy is that all new systems will connect with IBM Integration Bus. We performed stress and load testing for the top five transaction types, simulating heavy customer demand, and the solution handled them perfectly.”
For the development and deployment of the new mobile apps, ADIB Egypt appointed an external service provider and selected IBM Mobile platform on IBM Cloud™. This was part of a major investment program that included the deployment of a new customer relationship management solution alongside IBM Integration Bus on IBM Power Systems™ servers.
“Our development partner recommended IBM Mobile, and when we checked with our Abu Dhabi head office, we saw that it is now the bank’s standard platform for developing mobile apps,” says Ahmed Bekhit.
Working through the external development company, ADIB Egypt launched smartphone- and tablet-optimized mobile apps for both Apple iOS and Android. Currently serving 8,500 regular users, the apps provide comprehensive features, including the ability to check balances and statements, and to set up local and international payments.
Faster, more efficient development
The digital transformation at ADIB Egypt enables the bank to create new services for both employees and customers much faster than before. Application developers now build just one point of integration – to IBM Integration Bus – and can then connect to dozens of pre-integrated services published in the internal catalog. Updating an older channel featuring point-to-point integration is no longer a major challenge, because developers can re-use existing services from the catalog, write new code to fill in any functional gaps, then move rapidly into the testing phase.
Yehia Ahmed comments: “Before we introduced IBM Integration Bus, our front-end applications were very tightly locked into the back-end services. Now that we manage integration in a separate layer, integration efforts are faster and more efficient, because we no longer need to duplicate the work across multiple stacks.”
The IBM solution also enhances impact-analysis exercises, enabling architects to see more easily how modifications to back-end services will affect front-end applications. “IBM Integration Bus is a cornerstone for the integration strategy at ADIB Egypt,” says Ahmed Bekhit. “We now have shorter time-to-market because we can first analyze our existing service catalog to see if we already have the required functionality before deciding to develop a new service from scratch.”
IT enabling the digital strategy
With new IBM solutions replacing legacy approaches, ADIB Egypt has eliminated a number of dependencies on older technologies that were previously holding back its digital strategy. As a result, the bank can now move forward faster and more easily, creating agile solutions that enable it to respond more rapidly to new opportunities or challenges in the market.
Using IBM Mobile on IBM Cloud enables ADIB Egypt’s development team to work efficiently with the external service provider to design, develop, test, run and manage its new mobile apps. This part of the solution builds on and benefits from the integration layer, enabling the bank to rapidly combine existing business services to create new functionality for customers on mobile.
“If the business needs to use a new service from the back end, we can provide it to them faster than before,” says Yehia Ahmed. “This supports our use of IBM Mobile to accelerate the delivery of new digital options to customers, helping the business to be more agile and react faster to customer demands.”
When ADIB Egypt introduces a new function, the combination of IBM Integration Bus and IBM Mobile on IBM Cloud enables developers to rapidly bring the same function to other channels. The work on the back end and on the integration layer is executed a single time, and front-end developers can focus entirely on their channel-specific requirements, contributing to significant gains in time-to-market. In a country where large numbers of mobile users are currently unbanked, the ability to reach out with innovative and convenient banking apps could help ADIB Egypt gain a significant number of customers.
“Our integration layer can deal with a huge variety of platforms, so IT is no longer seen as putting technology obstacles in the way of the business,” says Ahmed Bekhit. “Rather, we are shielding the business from the underlying technology complexity, and just presenting to them the services they want to consume. In this way, IBM helps us get to market quickly with leading-edge mobile capabilities, which in turn helps us compete for new customers.”
About ADIB Egypt
ADIB Egypt is a top-tier regional bank offering Islamic financial solutions, whereby all contracts, operations and transactions are managed according to Shari'a principles. The bank has 70 branches, 90 ATMs and has remained one of the top-five fastest growing banks in the Egyptian market for the past three years.