Case Studies / A ‘Top 4’ Bank Takes Brand to New Heights with AWS Cloud

A South African Bank required a system that would allow them holistic brand control that would enable its vision, allow for fast deployments, and provide it with an ability to scale. The Bank consulted Synthesis Software Technologies to take it to the AWS Cloud to maximise on its brand possibilities and in doing so enable its customers.

Challenge

The Bank had a model of procuring services externally for its Marketing Department. However, the team saw the value of moving away from SAS providers and tapping into the value of open source. The Bank’s marketing team decided they wanted to create a brand depository that would allow them to scale and have the capacity to manage its massive brand inventory with over four terabytes of data. They wanted to utilise file sharing and mass storage. They envisioned this as a central and collaborative brand touchpoint that would give them a holistic brand view to ensure all marketing, brand and agency employees could easily tap into marketing assets while abiding by their corporate identity (CI) and vision. They wanted to move away from external vendors and turn the brand into a service itself.

Solution

The best solution for these requirements was creating this depository in the Cloud. An on-prem solution would have been prohibitive with the storage demands and the Bank wanted to integrate the best technology. The Bank consulted Synthesis Software Technologies, a long-term technology partner, Synthesis introduced a solution based on the Pimcore framework which is an open-source content management system. They ran this, together with the Bank as a DevOps agile solution.

“What I have thoroughly enjoyed with Synthesis is that it is a level that is at an expert level. We hire staff and often it is a case of getting them up to speed in the first week. With Synthesis it is quite the opposite. They come in and teach us from day one,” explains the Bank’s Head of Technology.

Using AWS Cloud allowed for extensive file sharing and version control that the Bank’s team envisioned. The Synthesis team implemented this framework with custom functionality coded by the Bank. The Synthesis team then helped deliver and fine-tune the AWS infrastructure, designed to handle large scale. They utilised AWS servers most appropriate for their requirements, configured the infrastructure, and then built out a model for an automated deployment pipeline.

“We wanted to ensure that the Bank’s team would not have to manually update the application of servers that were running. We built a pipeline so that from the point that the Bank’s developers committed code into its source repository, it would be picked up using AWS deployment tools. The system would run all the tests and configure and then deploy the latest updates onto the servers with as little downtime as possible and without any human interaction,” explains Jonty Sidney, Synthesis Cloud Engineer. The Bank’s team also used this project to gain further cloud knowledge.

“A key part of this project from an engineering point of view was the ability to create a proper DevOps environment using CICD tools. We now use automated testing in the CICD pipeline which makes it easy to develop and deploy quickly”, says the Bank’s Head of Technology.

The Synthesis team set up servers for the Bank’s custom-built mailing system to cloud so brand assets could easily be pulled in for customised mails, ensuring full marketing integration and speed.

Results

The system is successfully being used within phase two of the Bank’s brand project. “AWS allowed the Bank to have an infrastructure that would scale as needed to handle its mass storage. This would not be a viable option without something like AWS Cloud. The AWS Cloud allowed for ease of configuration, scale and easy access control based on the needs and levels of employees”, explains Sidney.

“By moving internally, we have showcased the value of open source. The open-source technology is so much better than what we were getting from vendors. We have gone from an approximate four million cost per year to an internally managed and internally supported system sitting on AWS. The ability to customise is there. We can do what we need to and there is a cost-saving to it,” explains the Bank’s Head of Technology.

“By using AWS, we unlock access to those services that we might want to use in the future such as SageMaker for content management where we previously depended on a vendor to have that type of capability. We can now build this ourselves. We can also integrate it into the Bank’s internal processes so we can start turning brand into a service itself. This is the vision that started our journey with AWS. We can integrate into internal processes and treat brand as a commodity that is properly controlled so we keep to the high brand standard”.

When asked about partnering with Synthesis on this project, the Bank explained, “Synthesis is a great company. They attract incredible talent and it is that talent that is absolutely gold. They are not just a body shop. The employees that come in from Synthesis are adding value from day one. In my experience with every one of their employees, they come in knowing what they need to know. When you talk to Synthesis you are talking to techies. Even the salespeople are techies. We are always in conversation and it is a solutionist conversation”.  

“The quality of resource has been very good. I have worked with a lot of consultancies and they are one of the best”, says another Bank employee.

The Bank now has a cohesive brand ecosystem that will enable it to successfully share brand assets and enable them to achieve brand goals. The Bank’s brand depository can now feed into the emailing system with templates for easy distribution, streamlining the marketing process. Using the latest technology, the Bank is taking its brand to the next level with full control and speedy deployments to meet customer needs. This has enabled brand so the brand can enable the bank and its customers.

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