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Widiba is the online banking arm of the Italian Montepaschi ITC banking group and was created in 2014 to provide customers with an innovative approach to managing their money. It prides itself on delivering a high value service through the use of an IT platform that can be customised by users to suit their own particular needs and a network of 600 advisors, offering a wide range of telephone-based financial advice.
Technology is said to be in the DNA of the bank and it is constantly striving to make sure its growing base of over 240,000 customers continues to benefit from the very latest cutting-edge developments. In doing this, it knows it will carry on fulfilling one of its leading priorities, which is to make any banking transaction an easy and intuitive experience.
When Widiba was first set up, it was reliant on using Montepaschi’s data centre infrastructure to host its core services. Although this worked well in its initial start-up phase, it soon became a problem as its customer base started to grow. Massimiliano Belli, Head of IT Monitoring, Widiba, explains:
“The fast growth we were experiencing meant we needed to improve the speed at which we could handle the increasing flows of data. We also wanted to launch new products to keep up with what our customers were asking for but we just didn’t have the agility and resilience we needed. We soon realised that the only way forward was to build a new data centre network.”
Widiba designs and produces its own products and services, always putting the user experience of its customers first. With this in mind it wanted to find a data centre solution that would give complete control and flexibility to develop it in a way that best met the needs of its customers.
Massimiliano Belli continues:
Most banks choose solutions based on what the big vendors give them. They are often told what they want but this is not the way we work. Our requirements are driven solely by our customers. With this in mind, we wanted a system that uses open-source software that we can adapt as we need.
The IT team at Widiba looked at proposals from a number of vendors but it was the Huawei solution that really stood out as offering the combination of features and value-for-money it was looking for. In particular, its use of open-source software rather than the need to buy individual software licences became a key factor in the final purchasing decision.
For the core services, Huawei provided an end-to-end, business continuity solution based on the OceanStor 5500 V3. Unique in the market from the technological point of view, it comes with a unified HyperMetro feature and is powered by high-performing SSD flash drives for Storage Area Network (SAN) services and plenty of capacity for Network-attached storage (NAS) services. This advanced platform was instrumental in helping the bank move its virtualisation and database services from its existing legacy active-passive infrastructure to a new and more agile active-active configuration.
At the network edge, Huawei deployed its FusionServer RH1288. This is a general-purpose rack server designed for a range of core IT services, including cloud computing virtualisation and distributed storage. It features high-performance computing (HPC), large storage capacity, low power consumption, with high scalability and reliability, and is easy to manage and deploy.
Binding everything together is the OceanStor SNS2224, a Fibre Channel (FC) switch suited to independent SANs and the edge topologies of large-scale core switching networks. Easy to use, it’s designed for enterprise SANs, greatly improving their efficiency and flexibility.
Massimiliano Belli adds:
Huawei even helped us in developing our end-to-end business continuity services in both the qualification and delivery phases, to make sure we could meet the very challenging service performance requirements we had set.
For a bank totally focused on listening to its customers and delivering what they want, Widiba’s new IT infrastructure has made a huge difference to its operation and has allowed it to accelerate significantly the introduction of new services. Moving from an infrastructure that was complex and fragile, it now has total control over one that is easy to change and less costly to maintain.
“One of the reasons why we decided to improve our ICT infrastructure is the need to manage a big increase of the client base and develop a new advanced web platform of augmented reality. With the current powerful Huawei infrastructure, these targets are very easy to achieve. From start to finish we have been very impressed by Huawei’s approach. The company is very responsive and the support provided by its engineering team in China has made a big difference,” concludes Massimiliano Belli.
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Huawei Enterprise’s innovative and leading solutions cover network infrastructure, Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C), cloud computing and data center, enterprise information security, and industry application solutions.
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Founded in 2014, Widiba is the online subsidiary of the Italian Montepaschi banking group. It offers its customers a fully customisable online platform supported by a network of over 600 Financial Advisors across Italy. This combination of technology and personal service has enabled it to build a customer base of more than 240,000 loyal customers. It offers a range of products from current and savings accounts to credit cards, advanced payments and investment funds.
Widiba has received numerous international awards for innovation in banking processes, including the EFMA Prize, the ABI Award and the Golden Circle for Financial Innovation for the first fully paperless mortgage.
For more information, please visit: widiba.it