A Pioneering Bet
A pioneer in the Spanish banking industry, the information systems
department reformulated its strategy ten years ago, to focus on four
actions: Revamping the information platform, providing a communication
network uniting all the business centers; introduction of a SIGIB
(Secretaría General Iberoamericana) management system; and the
development of a data warehouse environment called CIN (translates to
Business Information Center). After examining a range of options, the
bank chose a data warehouse solution using Sybase IQ on HP hardware.
After the decision, Banco Guipuzcoano developed the general
services environment at the outset. Today, the solution serves the
central service and external management departments (defining and
creating inquiries), the financial department, control and management
(operations reports, balance sheets, etc.), marketing/commercial
(customers’ uses and needs, and new products), and commercial offices
(application of existing reports and inquiries).
Reporting Across a Multitude of Sources
The installation of Sybase IQ, a column-oriented analytics server with
unlimited growth capacity, allows the bank to handle the recent
explosion of data and users, while immediately meeting the needs for
analysis and reporting across all business areas. Depending on the
data’s origin and business needs, Sybase IQ is updated at varying
frequency intervals (in minutes or in real-time) or after several days.
With this flexibility, more and more departments are using the
system on a daily basis. Currently, there are more than 600 users of
the platform. Activities such risk analysis, planning, inspection and
execution of processes, among many others, are performed using the data
furnished by the new information system every day.
Sybase IQ loads data from a variety of sources: DB2, Lotus
Notes, SQL Server, log files, Active Directory. Each source
system generates flat information files where they are then transmitted
to the host via XFB, where a process examines every file and determines
what to do with each record, then are retransmitted to Sybase IQ via
XFB for loading.
More Data and
More Inquiries, in Less Time
Sybase IQ permits Banco Guipuzcoano’s data warehouse system to store of
a larger volume of information, which allows its different users to
make decisions on the basis of more accurate and higher-quality
reports. All of this is done with a speed and flexibility in the system
that permits inquiries of every kind to be made.
The department head, Yolanda Rata, concludes, “We are very
satisfied with the Sybase technology, since it has contributed to the
development of an information system to give the bank’s employees easy
and simple access to the data. Thanks to the new system, the business
processes are much faster and the users don’t have to depend on the
information systems department all the time.”
Possibilities, New Challenges
With the foundation of Sybase IQ, Banco Guipuzcoano’s systems
department is currently identifying new challenges. First, it is
working on a pilot project to improve the possibilities for inquiry and
give users easier access to the information stored in Sybase IQ.
In addition, as an outcome of the experience acquired from
this effort, the bank has begun to redesign the data warehouse data
model, which is also simple to do with the selected data management
platform. The aim is to clean up and simplify the system, and better
facilitate data inquiries, providing a better and more intuitive
visualization of the results of the inquiries.
Finally, the systems area has embarked on an ambitious project
to design a table of commands that will determine and rationalize the
needs of Banco Guipuzcoano’s different departments and users.