Business News of Tuesday, 4 December 2012
IBM has announced the successful completion of a new comprehensive state-of-the-art data center at the fast-growing Fidelity Bank in Ghana.
Fidelity Bank, which is widely known in Ghana for its innovative mortgage and rural banking products, has evolved from a $100,000 start-up to a multi-million dollar enterprise that is now preparing for a listing on the Ghanaian Stock Exchange.
Faced with growing pressure on its back-end processes and technology systems, Fidelity sought an integrated solution that would enable it to manage future growth as it kick started its expansion program.
“We are at a critical period in the history of our bank where we need to have in place the right kind of technology going forward,” said Edward Effah, Managing Director, Fidelity Bank. “With advanced technologies and enhanced business intelligence tools, IBM is helping us to optimize our ability to provide a wider range of services to our rapidly growing client base.”
The data center, which is housed in the bank’s headquarters in the Ghanaian capital of Accra, has been designed from the ground-up with the latest advances in energy efficiency, business continuity, resiliency, security and disaster recovery.
Fidelity Bank is ISO certified – the first bank in Ghana to achieve this mark. The bank has been voted the best Growing Bank three consecutive times in Ghana. Other recent awards include, Best Bank, Customer Care 2010 and runner up in Short-term loans, Information Technology and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Fidelity Bank has extended its footprint into Asia with the establishment of Fidelity Asia Bank in Malaysia. This has also opened up trade and investment opportunities between Ghana and the Far East.
To deliver the data center, IBM pooled together local and international consulting expertise and leveraged best practice examples from across the world, to deliver a customized yet affordable solution. The new data center will simplify back-end management processes and provide higher levels of service availability, helping the bank to deliver a positive end-user experience.
Growing demand for innovative banking services and wider product portfolios is driving intense competition in the Ghanaian financial sector, which the World Bank predicts will expand by more than 12% in 2012.
“We are seeing increased momentum in the financial services sector where our clients are looking for transformative technologies that can help them leapfrog several generations of IT platforms, lower operational costs, and automate more processes,” said Joe Mensah, Country General Manager, IBM Ghana.
IBM is actively expanding its operations across Africa as part of the company's continued geographic expansion initiative. Recently, IBM announced details of 20 major banking deals throughout Africa including five of Kenya's leading banks: Credit Bank, Co-operative Bank, Family Bank, National Bank of Kenya and National Industrial Credit Bank, who turned to IBM to deliver world-class IT solutions that are fine-tuned to their local markets.
Earlier this month, RAWBANK, the largest private bank in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), announced an agreement with IBM to help transform its core banking systems as it seeks to grow its customer base in the largely unbanked Central African country.
“The focus for African financial institutions has been to increase market expansion efforts and improve customer service levels," said Bijen Ramdas, senior research analyst with IDC Financial Insights, MEA. “Technology investments being made by financial institutions in the region address multiple key business metrics specifically focusing on improving efficiencies, saving costs and driving customer acquisition or retention.”
IBM displaced several systems providers, including Hewlett-Packard to supply Fidelity Bank with hardware, application and systems software, storage and virtualization software solutions.
The deal also included post-implementation support by IBM for the bank.
The specific systems deployed in the new data center include highly scalable IBM Power 750 servers running PowerHA and PowerVM system software for computationally intense core-banking applications as well as System x3850 servers for the bank's general business workloads. For its increased storage needs, Fidelity Bank also selected IBM System Storage DS5300 systems for core-banking and the IBM Storwize V7000 with x86 virtualization.