Optimized Business Intelligence Required for Centralized View of Global Liquidity and Treasury Activity
In the context of the current crisis in the financial sector, investment banks especially must fully optimize their operational and financial risk-management processes to ensure they perform at the highest levels. This is one of the core strategic aims of the BNP Paribas CIB Asset Liability Management and Treasury division, which must ensure that senior management has a real-time view of liquidities and the bank’s cash position in order to implement appropriate hedging strategies.
“The Asset Liability Management and Treasury division represents the backbone of the BNP Paribas CIB group,” explains Jean-Pierre Demont, an Applications Manager at the bank. “Our role is strategic—we are here to refinance the bank.”
To achieve this objective, the division has implemented a global liquidity management and control system based on an optimized business intelligence infrastructure to meet two strategic objectives:
- Ensure required reliability and security for risk management assessments
- Guarantee higher analytical decision-making capacity capabilities for senior management
The bank’s business intelligence project, called WARM (Worldwide Asset Risk Management), is the most global project for Demont’s team in terms of overall scope. WARM provides a global real-time view of the bank’s asset and liability management to enable detailed and responsive decision-making at the senior management level.
A Reliable Transactional System with Real-Time Data Replication
Currently, among the millions of transactions entered by the global front office, more than 2,000 users and over 400,000 deals per month are stored using Kondor+ by Thomson Reuters running on Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) transactional databases. These millions of records across five global hubs are replicated in real-time using Sybase Replication Server in the WARM global data warehouse located in Europe that has a data volume of more than two terabytes.
The WARM project includes six dedicated instances of Sybase Replication Server, making it one of the largest implementations in the world that enables on-the-fly data updates. “Sybase Replication Server provides solid reliability,” Demont says. “We have yet to encounter any incidents since implementation.”
Analytical Performance Ensures Operational Excellence
To meet BNP CIB decision-making needs and with the aim of improving report performance and faster response times, the global business intelligence architecture uses four Sybase IQ clusters combined with the SAP Business Objects BI platform. The choice of Sybase IQ was key for BNP Paribas CIB, in particular for its innovative data compression and column-oriented storage architecture features.
“Table structure databases are not designed to meet performance requirements,” Demont says, “Comparing Sybase IQ to traditional databases is similar to comparing efficient intelligence generation versus a brute force approach. The compression facility has allowed us to reduce the disk space required for each project considerably—by a ratio of 4 to 1.”
More than 200 users currently access the Sybase/SAP business intelligence solution daily to make various types of requests including immediate, pre-defined, complex, and ad hoc reports. Traders run risk and P&L reports while middle-office personnel run audit reports. Regional management, treasury personnel and BNP CIB senior global management based in Paris also rely heavily on various reports.
The combination of Sybase IQ and SAP Business Objects technologies enable users to run critical reports in three seconds instead of 30 minutes. “Traditional databases limited the performance of Business Objects in the past,” Demont says. “But in our case, Sybase IQ has liberated SAP Business Objects platform functionality—allowing it to meet the needs of business analysts much more effectively.”
System Benefits Extend Across Multiple Functional Areas
The benefits of using both Sybase IQ and SAP Business Objects have been seen at various technical and functional levels: clear performance improvements, savings on maintenance resource costs, and a reduction of required storage space. “The combination of Sybase IQ and SAP Business Objects is critical for treasury activities and allows us to obtain a centralized view of our global activity,” Demont says. “Thanks to the system performance, we are able to manage liquidity risk in real time,”
The business intelligence infrastructure that has been implemented by the Asset Liability Management and Treasury division is used as a reference within the entire BNP Paribas Group. “This organization and its functionality are now a real benchmark that no one can question,” Demont says. “The project has produced results that are prompting consideration for extending the solution across all Fortis sites, such as those in other countries.”