The bank’s CEO says the bank is a not an entity that ‘does tech, but a tech company that does banking’:
Emirates NBD, Dubai’s government-owned bank and one of the largest banking groups in the Middle East in terms of assets, is considered as a pioneer in adopting disruptive technologies designed to transform banking operations and to offer extreme customer delight. The bank has an embedded culture to continually innovate and move to newer levels. It has made significant investments in new technologies so that its technology infrastructure is state-of-the-art and it could make major breakthroughs in digitization. Years ago, it has invested 1 billion dirhams in enhancing the tech infrastructure, especially in making foray into cloud computing so that it could automate its services. It had opted for Dell Technologies for this foray.
The bank was formed out of the merger of National Bank of Dubai with Emirates Bank International in 2007. In end-2021, its total assets were AED 687 billion. It has operations in the UAE, Egypt, India, Turkey, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and in some countries in Europe.
SAHAB, A CLOUD PLATFORM
The bank has developed and implemented a centralized private cloud platform with Red Hat container. The solution not only provides the cloud-native functions such as auto-scaling that non-traditional competitors used through in-house data capabilities, but also affords the flexibility to accommodate a future hybrid cloud model. Called Sahab, it uses Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, and it is the first private cloud run by a bank at scale in the Middle East. Sahab provides applications, systems and other resources for end-to-end development through an as-a-service model. It also has consolidated data storage and access the bank for real-time customer insight. More internal applications are now being hosted on Sahab, as well as an increasing number of customer-facing applications.
The bank also supports its APIs on Sahab using Red Hat 3 scale API Management. This gateway solution makes APIs available to Emirates NBD’s partners and other third parties while mitigating security risks and protecting sensitive data – a critical capability for moving to a container – and microservices-based architecture. What is unique about the whole system is that instead of a production site and a Disaster Recovery site, the 2 data centers are run independently for uninterrupted service across geographically diverse sites. Some 1200 containers and more than 500 APIs are run on Sahab.
The bank has an API developer portal, ‘Emirates NBD API Souq’, providing fintechs, developers and corporate clients with an all-in-one ecosystem to develop innovative financial solutions. It allows developers access to several ready-to-use suites of the bank’s APIs across account services, payments, collections, real-time notifications, trade services and information services. The seamless integration with the bank and ease of use of the portal allows developers to rapidly identify, test and integrate APIs into their products and services in a highly secure environment.
DIGITAL ONLY BANK
It has created the first ‘digital only’ bank in the UAE, Liv., which today is a favorite of the millennials and the tech-savvy customers. A mobile-only system, Liv. mainly facilitates onboarding customers at anytime in just 2 minutes without even speaking to the customer. Its acceptance by the customers has made the bank go for a similar digital only system for the SMEs – the E20.
Emirates NBD, in the words of its CEO Shayne Nelson, is a not a bank that ‘does tech, but a tech company that does banking’. And this has been the underlying philosophy for the bank when it undertakes digital transformation. It is a process of upgrading the company at a granular level – from the sign-up process through to terms and conditions. And in the process, everyone is empowered to do what needs to be done to become more relevant, more flexible and more future-proof.
The bank has partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to help transform the retail banking experience for customers. Using ML, data analytics, IoT and NLP services offered by AWS, the bank has simplified banking and created highly satisfactory customers. The bank is also using Amazon Personalize, an AWS ML service, to launch new personalized retail banking applications.
The bank has very recently collaborated with Microsoft just after it had concluded its IT transformation program. The collaboration framework operates across 5 streams – technology, customer experience, leveraging existing investments, partners eco-system and innovation to net-zero. The 2 entities are expected to explore ways to leverage the power of low-code development using platforms such as Power Apps, empowering citizen developers and enhancing a digital mindset across the banking group to strengthen its focus on being the most innovative bank for customers, people and communities. Through the partnership, the bank will also bring the world of mixed reality and applications to the financial services market, supporting the UAE’s Metaverse strategy.
This article has been compiled based on publicly available information on the web, particularly the bank’s own website.