Africa Business Communities
Banco Bai, Angola's biggest bank modernises its tech infrastructure

Banco Bai, Angola's biggest bank modernises its tech infrastructure

Angola’s biggest lender Banco BAI has taken bold steps to modernise its technology infrastructure, enabling it to meet the increasingly digital demands of its growing customer base.

Selecting VMware NSX Data Center and VMware vRealize, Banco BAI has reclaimed its IT infrastructure and embraced a cloud-first, and digital-centric approach, allowing it to better serve customers with modern banking applications. 

Businesses across Angola face several challenges beyond their control, such as instability in power and communications supply, a slow global supply chain, and long lead times to acquire and secure new technologies. This often leads to companies making their technology investments outlast their suggested lifespan, leading to a drop in customer service while hampering an IT team's ability to innovate, which is what BAI set out to avoid.

"Our challenges don't just relate to legacy infrastructure or technology. We want to continue as a world-class bank so we need a foundation that can support the pace of innovation that we have set ourselves and remove our reliance on third-party resources like power and communications,” says Paulo Domingos, information systems architect, BAI. “To be more agile, our IT team needs to shift from responding to daily emergencies to a value-based role where we can predict the future and support the business by delivering industry-relevant solutions and applications to different teams." 

While BAI outpaced many of its African counterparts by deploying a VMware virtual environment more than ten years ago, aging hardware finally caught up with its ability to perform effective disaster recovery. Additionally, failover to a secondary site would result in a long downtime. This was hampering the team’s ability to modernise its systems, become self-sufficient, and embrace digital transformation.

After investing in a full internal quality assessment of its systems - the BAI IT team built an infrastructure strategy to answer the bank’s immediate and future business needs, take back control of its technology budgeting processes, and allow it to build innovative digital banking solutions.

The system BAI designed allows it to benefit from the abstraction capabilities of a software-defined data centre (SDDC) that supports elasticity, flexibility, reliability, stability and automation. Ultimately it selected VMware NSX Data Center for its SDDC and fully virtualized network for storage and servers while using VMware vRealize Suite to support the visibility and management of its SDDC.

“We are more comfortable as a team and can focus our efforts on operational areas where we have the most impact and implement clear goals supported by realistic KPIs while rolling out new systems and applications for the business. It’s a system that’s not just working for us today but allows us to look to the future and visualise how we can use technology to differentiate our value proposition and develop innovative products and services. Yes, this will be through bespoke application development, and yes, it will be in the cloud," says Domingos.

“BAI has been an incredible customer to work with. The IT team is forward-thinking and takes a bold approach. Nothing could stop them when they set out to embrace a digital-centric view of innovation. The result is that they now have an environment that supports the business and delivers on its desire to stay on top of the banking sector in Angola. And it’s one they have full control of – it’s truly remarkable,” says Lorna Hardie, regional director at VMware Sub-Saharan Africa.

BAI serves more than 1,500,000 retail and corporate customers in the country.







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