Recognizing a market opportunity, WESTPOLE Benelux wanted to provide local businesses with a means to more easily manage the compliance requirements for financial data.
Using IBM hardware, WESTPOLE Benelux launched a new legal archiving platform built around a consolidated data and file management interface.
Gains new customerswith the first installation happening within weeks of launch
Drives revenuewith a service-based delivery model targeted at an untapped market
Encourages high availabilitywith a virtualized architecture and IBM hardware designed for reliability
Business challenge story
So many regulations
Throughout Europe, WESTPOLE Benelux has established itself as a leader in archiving and document management services. And while successful, market fluctuations and increased regulatory burdens had been eating away at the Luxembourg branch’s profitability.
“We were dealing with very tight margins on our current services and trade activities, sometimes less than 2 - 3 percent,” explains Kevin Casoli, Country Director at WESTPOLE Luxembourg, part of WESTPOLE Benelux. So we started looking at what we could do that was new – what were the common problems that our customers were facing? What was a service that we could offer that would really help them and that no one else in the market was doing?”
Given the large number of banks and financial institutions centralized in Luxembourg, WESTPOLE Benelux realized that many local firms could benefit from an archiving service designed to streamline compliance with the wealth of regulations related to financial data.
“There are a lot of rules,” continues Casoli. “There are strict regulations for legal archiving at the national and European levels. And these institutions also have to meet ISO [International Organization for Standardization] standards – that’s a lot of rules to keep track of. Customers don’t want to spend their resources to handle archiving. Instead they want someone they can trust to do it.”
In late 2018, WESTPOLE Benelux launched its new legal archiving solution, which empowers users to oversee the management, dispensation and long-term storage of confidential financial data through a dedicated and security-rich environment for each end-user client.
The system stores the data in-country and is designed to comply with best practices aligned with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 standards, which address information security. Further, the system has been accredited to meet the legal guidelines and confidentiality requirements set forth by the Professionnel du Secteur Financier (PSF).
And to support this new offering, WESTPOLE Benelux bundles its legal archiving platform with Power Systems and IBM Storwize® V5000 (now known as IBM FlashSystem® 5000) technology as part of an IBM Embedded Solutions Agreement (ESA). With each installation, the firm now deploys the IBM storage hardware along with a Power Systems server running the IBM i operating system as well as IBM PowerVM® virtualization technology. The firm can then use the PowerVM capability to customize and size the archiving environment for each unique customer’s needs while isolating each customer’s data environment in a secure way.
“The virtualization function was important,” explains Casoli. “Each client is going to be different, but we didn’t want to build a new solution every time. However, if our service is flexible, and our platform – meaning IBM – is flexible, then we can adjust to each customer and bring them online quickly and easily.”
Over the next year, the legal archiving offering proved very successful, leading WESTPOLE Benelux to expand its original solution with IBM as well as the accompanying ESA. “In particular, we were focused on supporting production data – not just archives,” adds Casoli. “Our customers are dealing with more types of files and information now than ever before. And we wanted to provide them with a simpler means of controlling this data, no matter where it was in their infrastructure.”
As part of a modular solution, WESTPOLE Benelux now offers a distributed file management system alongside the legal archiving platform. Built with IBM Spectrum® Scale software, the solution standardizes controls for company banking and financial records, whether they are on-premise, in the cloud or distributed across a hybrid environment. And IBM Spectrum Protect software helps keep this critical data safe with intuitive backup and migration capabilities that smoothly integrate with the legal archiving platform.
Compliance means no complaints
With the modular legal archiving and file management platform now available, the Luxembourg office has already seen marked interest from the local banking market.
“We had the first archiving installation in a matter of weeks,” recalls Casoli. “Working with IBM has let us build something unique. So far, no one else in Luxembourg is offering a service like this, and since we’re the first, there’s a lot of potential to grow.”
And users of the archiving service are happy with the new solution. “We let them safely maintain their production data and long-term archives without a lot of hassle,” adds Casoli. “They can focus on their work, and we worry about keeping the system in compliance.”
The Power Systems hardware, in turn, offers a reliable architecture to support the archiving systems. “Since this a service,” adds Casoli, “we need it to be available 24x7. That’s why we chose the Power servers – they let us build a stable, customized system for our customers.”
Beyond the reliability offered by the IBM hardware, WESTPOLE Benelux is equally pleased with its role as an IBM Business Partner. “As a Managed Cloud Service Provider, for us an ESA was the right choice,” explains Kevin Casoli. “Just as our customers don’t want to focus on archiving, we didn’t want to have to worry about what equipment we were going to use for each new client. We wanted someone that could perform consistently. We wanted a partner that we could trust as much as our clients are trusting us. We wanted IBM.”
WESTPOLE Benelux (external link) is an IT and services provider that unifies WESTPOLE Belgium NA/SV and WESTPOLE Luxembourg SA. The business boasts more than 30 years of history and employs over 330 staff. WESTPOLE Benelux is part of the European cluster of companies owned by LIVIA Group, with eight offices around Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy. Its mission is to help companies scale-up their digital transformation, providing solutions focused on hybrid cloud, managed services, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
Take the Next Step
To learn more about the IBM solutions featured in this story, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner.
To learn more about its digital transformation solutions and what WESTPOLE Benelux can do for you, please visit: WESTPOLE Benelux (external link)