As Amret grew, its core banking systems were struggling to keep up. At peak times, unresponsive systems frustrated both staff and customers, creating a risk of losing ground to competitors.
Amret upgraded to a pair of IBM Power S824 servers and introduced a new-generation IBM Storwize V7000 with an SSD pool to support its Temenos T24 core banking application, serving over 1,000 users.
50% cutin time taken to complete overnight processing, eliminating overruns
Increasedcustomer and employee satisfaction ratings per annual survey
Gainedperformance and capacity to support digital self-service transformation
Business challenge story
Facing service delays
In Cambodia, Microfinance Institution “Amret” provides financial services that help people nationwide secure a better future for themselves and their families. As a for-profit enterprise, Amret faces growing competition from other local microfinance businesses, which makes customer satisfaction a key metric.
As its business grew, in terms of both customer numbers and transactions, Amret’s core banking systems were beginning to show the strain. The company had adopted the Temenos T24 application several years before, and while this product continued to meet its functional needs, the company’s infrastructure had been sized for much lower workloads.
Sokphak Touch, Senior Manager of IT Systems at Amret, comments: “Competition has increased significantly in recent years, which adds to the pressure to serve our customers quickly and efficiently in our more than 150 branch locations. As the Temenos T24 workload grew, slower system responses impacted the speed of service, and we also had problems with overnight batch processing overrunning into the next working day.”
In addition to causing longer lines at Amret’s branches – raising the risk that customers would switch to a competitor – the decreasing performance was delaying internal reporting and making it harder for senior management to monitor key financial metrics. Frustratingly, IT maintenance costs for the existing systems were rising even as the quality of internal service dropped. As the bank considered its future journey towards digital self-service, it was clear that it first needed to get its core systems back up to speed.
“We continued to be happy with the IBM Power and Storwize infrastructure supporting our Temenos T24 landscape, but we recognized that we needed to refresh these systems to cope with the greatly increased workload,” says Sokphak Touch.
Amret ran a formal procurement exercise to find the best solution for its requirements, and chose to work with Campura Triangulum Corp., an IBM Business Partner. Following Campura’s recommendation, Amret deployed two IBM Power S824 servers to run its Temenos T24 core banking application on IBM AIX®, one for the production environment and one as a hot stand-by for disaster recovery.
“Campura provided expert assistance in sizing, deploying and integrating the new IBM technologies, and we appreciate their strong after-sales support,” comments Sokphak Touch.
For any enterprise application, server performance is only part of the story: you also need to get large volumes of data into and out of the server at high speed. For this purpose, Amret added a new IBM Storwize V7000 Gen 2, moving its existing previous-generation Storwize to the disaster-recovery site. The new Storwize includes an SSD pool to provide ultra-high performance for the Temenos jBASE database that supports the core-banking application.
“Storwize gives us the performance and capacity we need, together with the assurance of long-term support,” says Sokphak Touch. “Based on our previous experience, we also knew that Storwize is a very good fit with Power servers and the Temenos T24 core banking application.”
Accelerated customer service
With updated IBM Power and Storwize solutions supporting its Temenos T24 core banking application, Amret can continue to offer a growing number of customers prompt and accurate services in all branch locations across Cambodia. More than 1,000 employees use T24 in Amret’s branches; the new IBM systems have improved job satisfaction by eliminating wait times to access customer account information.
The new IBM systems have delivered significant performance improvements: overnight batch processing that previously took 6 hours to complete now takes as little as 3 hours – a 50 percent reduction. In addition to giving IT staff more time to re-run jobs as required, this improvement means that even unusually long batch processing tasks can be completed before the start of the working day. For front-line staff, this means fast customer service right from the get-go, and no risk of delayed branch opening.
“As our customer base grows and we add new services, the volume of data is always increasing,” comments Sokphak Touch. “This can create a performance bottleneck in any system, so it’s vital we deploy storage that is up to the task. The new generation of Storwize is helping us to stay on top of growth by ensuring that our core banking systems can consume data as fast as they need it.”
Beyond the measured increases in system performance, Amret has also recorded direct improvements in both staff and customer satisfaction in its annual survey of IT service quality.
Amret plans to start offering digital self-service tools in the near future, which will further increase processing and storage demands while also putting a greater premium on system availability – as customers will expect the ability to access account information around the clock.
The bank is confident that its upgraded IBM infrastructure will meet all of these needs, as Sokphak Touch explains: “The new Power and Storwize infrastructure gives us ample performance and scalability for future growth, and our experience of high availability and reliability means we have no concerns about introducing customer self-service tools.”
He concludes: “IBM is a great strategic partner for Amret. Trust is vital in financial services, particularly when you are dealing with people who may never previously have used a bank. The fact that we work with IBM, one of the biggest and best-known names in IT, gives our customers confidence that we are protecting their financial data and that we will always be ready to serve them.”
About Amret MFI
Microfinance Institution “Amret” is a leading micro-finance institution in Cambodia. Amret’s focus is on providing small development loans to individuals in rural areas and medium loans to small and mid-sized enterprises. It also offers a broad range of banking and financial services, including deposits, payment services, money transfer and ATM services. As of May 2018, Amret had USD865 million total assets, over 400,000 customers, and 156 branches throughout Cambodia.