Raiffeisen Bank Aval Public Joint Stock Company is a universal commercial bank and one of the Ukraine's largest banks. As the bank grew its legacy systems could no longer meet user’s requirements for management reports. To meet these needs, the bank implemented a data warehouse powered by Sybase IQ. This new data warehouse has significantly increased the speed of data delivery to business users, while giving them more complete information. As a result, the accuracy and speed of decision making has considerably improved.
The bank is able to speed up the generation and improve the quality of executive and management reports allowing better and timelier decision making.
An Evolving Bank Requires More Complex Business Analysis
Raiffeisen Bank Aval is one of the leading banks in Ukraine. It provides a wide range of standard and innovative banking services through its nationwide network. Established in 1992 as Joint Stock Postal Pension Bank Aval, in 2005 it became part of Raiffeisen Bank International. The bank's network is comprised of 934 branches located in large cities, provincial and community centers and villages throughout Ukraine.
The history and development of Raiffeisen Bank Aval’s data warehouse spans 12 years. In 1998, the bank’s IT team was asked to consolidate information from disparate operating systems in order to enable consolidated financial reporting. In those days, solving such problems did not require specialized software. Instead the first data warehouse at the bank was based on a traditional database, Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE). This data warehouse was later enhanced, and is still an integral part of the bank’s overall information management system. It is currently used to generate daily analytics reports for the National Bank of Ukraine and consolidated tax accounting.
As the bank has evolved, requirements have become more complex with the need for business process analysis and optimization. In order to address these challenges, the various types of managerial reports need to be set up differently so the accessed data can be retrieved from multiple sources. The architecture of the existing system did not allow access to data sources other than daily transactional data. The old development strategy of growing the number of material and human resources while keeping the technical base the same would no longer meet the bank’s requirements. “Our IT team had to fundamentally change their approach to solving this challenge. At the same time, the existing data warehouse had to continue to perform functions that were already successfully implemented”, explained Valeriy Lazaruk, Deputy Head of IDWH, IT Systems Support Division.
Sybase IQ Impresses with its Speed and Data Load Performance
As the bank was already using various software solutions from Sybase (Sybase ASE, SQL Anywhere, Replication Server, and PowerDesigner) the decision was made to explore Sybase IQ, while also evaluating solutions from other vendors. Sybase IQ Analytics server software provides business intelligence through a column-based and oriented architecture tool for data warehousing and mining. During testing of aggregate report generation, Sybase IQ performed the best. “We were impressed by Sybase IQ’s ad-hoc query processing capabilities, requiring no pre-building of queries. Another crucial factor for us was data load performance”, stated Lazaruk.
The decision was made to go with Sybase IQ and it was put into production on a Sun platform. Now data from the previous day is loaded into the data warehouse on a daily basis (via an ETL tool). There the data is processed (structured, denormalized, consolidated etc.) in order to create reports and data marts. The new data warehouse not only improves query performance, which is now ten and up to a hundred times faster, it also allows for the creation of radically different reports that were impossible to generate in the previous system. The bank's analysts now have a powerful decision support tool.
Preparing for Future Success with Sybase
The data warehouse continues to be updated since initially being put into production. Recently Sybase IQ was upgraded to the latest version and the Sun hardware was replaced with Power6-based IBM System p servers. Presently the data warehouse contains 12 years of historical data and is 4 terabytes in size. As required by users and developers, new data and objects are added to the database.
In accordance with the strategy of streamlining IT systems, several projects are planned for the near future. The bank plans to implement Sybase Mirror Activator, a business continuity solution, as well as Sybase Replication Server Real-Time Loading Edition, which enables online replication of operational information into Sybase IQ.