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For banks that want to be leaders in digital banking by offering products and services that are available anywhere at any time, consider following these three tenets: Think like a digital business; reimagine operations; and transition to the cloud. That’s what Emirates NBD, a leading banking group in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has done. The bank put technology first, making a AED1 billion commitment to transform its operations, products, and services to become a digital bank with open banking capabilities. At the core is a distributed cloud platform that uses technology similar to that of cloud-native companies.

Emirates NBD has its sights on being a global digital leader that delivers first-to-market banking innovations. To get there, it has embarked on a digital transformation journey that centers on enhancing the capabilities of its end-to-end technology platforms including IT architecture, infrastructure, security, and data. Key to the bank’s strategy was creating a technology environment that allowed for growth while still meeting the required standards of security and resiliency.

Flexibility + Collaboration = Speed

Banks face ongoing challenges to improve customer experience, rapidly create new products and services, and increase operational efficiency – all while managing costs and complying with regulatory requirements in an increasingly competitive market.

It can be difficult to apply continuous incremental improvements to traditional banking platforms. That is why banks are increasingly looking to modern, cloud-native infrastructure that can support open banking, API-driven business models. This better positions banks to integrate systems with external sources such as third parties and fintechs to access next-generation technologies, and to deliver digital, real-time products and services for current and future customers.

Emirates NBD worked with Red Hat to create an enterprise, distributed private cloud platform that would serve as the launchpad to offer customers more personalized, always-on digital banking services. And when the time is right for Emirates NBD, the platform has the flexibility to accommodate their future hybrid cloud model.

Their platform uses the Red Hat open banking solution, which combines Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform with data integration, API creation, and management capabilities. OpenShift helps run a continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) pipeline that’s designed for ongoing improvement - supported by automated testing, compiling, and transfer of code and containers.  Red Hat provides unified data integration, handles real-time data feeds, and makes the bank’s APIs available across internal systems, partners and other third parties, while helping mitigate security risks and protect sensitive data.

The bank’s shift to open banking supported by a cloud-native, microservices-based architecture has enabled it to externalize APIs that can then be used to offer new services like account updates via Amazon Alexa and WhatsApp banking - so customers can interact with the bank through chat to check account balances, request new checks, and perform many other services.

Built on open source and with access to cloud-native services, the platform also helps foster collaboration across the banking group’s internal teams. IT teams at the bank now have access to infrastructure,  and other resources end-to-end for development through as-a-service model. Group-wide data storage and access are consolidated on the platform to enable real-time customer intelligence. And developers are able to provision and allocate resources in hours/days, rather than the months it previously took.

Emirates NBD’s work with Red Hat to build a distributed cloud platform as part of its open banking and digital transformation strategy illustrates why it was chosen as a winner in the 2019 Red Hat Innovation Awards. By combining Red Hat technologies with agile business practices, Emirates NBD can spend more time enhancing customer experiences and accelerating innovation.

Learn more about Emirates NBD’s transformation journey and how Red Hat can help financial services firms innovate faster.


About the author

Described as a pioneer and one of the most influential people by CRMPower, Fiona McNeill has worked alongside some of the largest global organizations, helping them derive tangible benefit from the strategic application of technology to real-world business scenarios.

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