Case Study: ING DIRECT Accelerates Innovation with 'Bank in a Box'
ING DIRECT is the world's leading direct savings bank and is wholly owned by the global ING Group. With a large project backlog, the development and test infrastructure at ING DIRECT Australia could not meet the bank's appetite for innovation. The bank's in-house team of 49 developers and 18 testers needed a faster way to create copies of the bank's environment so they could accelerate time-to-market for new products and services. ING DIRECT wanted to fully automate end-to-end provisioning, making staff more productive and focusing on the things that matter.
The ING DIRECT team had a vision: to provide a copy of the bank's environment to anyone, at any time, for any purpose. This copy would include the full set of the bank's applications, services, configurations and 5.5 terabytes of data. 'What we were looking for was a "bank in a box", an instant environment that reproduced our own in all its complexity,' says Andrew Henderson, CIO, ING DIRECT Australia. 'We recognised that getting this right would be an important part of transforming IT into a strategic enabler.' ING DIRECT engaged with Dimension Data to assist it with turning these ambitions into achievements.
Developed collaboratively with ING DIRECT and vendors Cisco, NetApp and Microsoft, the Dimension Data solution features data centre infrastructure built on the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), Cisco Nexus switching and NetApp storage with Microsoft® Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V virtualisation technology. The infrastructure is fully integrated with the tool suite used by developers and testers at ING DIRECT, allowing them to provision environments easily as part of their workflow. Behind the scenes, Microsoft® System Center orchestrates the provisioning processes for them.
It's a unique combination of technologies, resulting in a highly automated and elastic infrastructure that enables the rapid provisioning of 5.5 terabytes of data.
Dimension Data proposed testing the solution in a real-world environment to establish a business case. The pilot was successful. 'When we showcased it to our executive team they were amazed to see how this technology came together to reduce a process that used to take months down to minutes,' enthuses Henderson. 'They saw straight away that it would dramatically reduce development times so we could get new products and services to market faster.'
ING DIRECT subsequently commissioned Dimension Data to deliver the entire solution. The solution has enabled ING DIRECT to reduce the time to provision test environments from three months to 10 minutes. This means that the bank can get new products to market in a fraction of the time it used to take, giving it a significant advantage over its competitors. 'The solution enables us to streamline processes that previously took eight people three months, with a very simple self-service model,' says Henderson. 'Our staff can now provision copies of the bank in minutes, not weeks, so we can test new ideas very rapidly. It's given us a competitive edge.'
'We're using this solution in so many scenarios and we're seeing new use cases all the time,' adds Ben Issa, Head of IT Strategy, ING DIRECT Australia. 'For example, we can give a customer service representative access to all our customer-facing applications for training purposes. Or give a developer a full version of the bank's environment at induction. And when we have customer or operational issues, it's much easier to study and solve them. In fact, everything we do is faster - our capability now supports our appetite for transformation and change and delivering faster for our customers.'
Now that the solution is operating in Australia, ING DIRECT is preparing to deploy it globally.