4-page Case Study
Posted: 11/19/2013
Rate This Evidence:

Piraeus Bank Egypt Egyptian Bank Boosts Business Analytics with Business Intelligence and Data Warehouse

Legacy software made it difficult and time-consuming for Piraeus Bank Egypt (PBE) staff to extract data scattered among many systems for internal analyses of the business as well as for the reports demanded - often at short notice - by its banking regulator. Therefore, PBE deployed a Microsoft data warehouse and business intelligence (BI) tool to boost performance and response times, while being user-friendly.
The system, based on the SQL Server 2012 Enterprise and on SharePoint Server Enterprise productivity, fitted well with the Microsoft systems which employees were already familiar with, such as Excel and SharePoint.
The system has allowed PBE itself to develop more and more applications. Moreover, the bank, part of the Piraeus Bank Group in Greece, plans to introduce services such as management dashboard, scorecards, alerting, data mining and advanced data cleansing.

PBE’s limited reporting functionality, in terms of providing its analysts with business reports, required digging out data laboriously from various sources within the bank while hoping that the resulting reports would meet the analysts and end-users’ wishes. Taking into account the time spent sending drafts backwards and forwards, it could take two or three weeks to produce a final report, said Hisham Sherif, the IT Deputy Director of PBE.

* We are developing every day more and more solutions for business staff to improve the way they do their work. *

Helen Zikou
Chief Information Officer
Piraeus Bank Egypt

In particular, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), which regulates the Cairo-based PBE, requires daily, weekly and monthly reports, which PBE had been producing manually. In some cases, the CBE asks for reports to be delivered within just two days, which often proved a tough task.

Thus, PBE wanted to provide its internal users with information for both static and dynamic reporting, along with automated reporting to the Central Bank.

PBE also had an ageing legacy system, said Sherif: “It was about to collapse. It was not built in the right way and on the right infrastructure.” That meant that any solution had to be implemented rapidly.

Ahmed Ramadan, the PBE’s Head of IT Development, recalled the maintenance of the bank’s old system of data sources: “It took a lot of effort and consumed time and resources to do that. The dependency on a vendor for maintenance of the old system, with a partially automated data feed, made it difficult to troubleshoot problems and keep the database updated”.

Considering the multiple data sites, it was also a big task for PBE to ensure the data quality and accuracy. So, the bank was also keen to install a system that could help with that.

Besides looking for better performance and response times and a user-friendly system that would be more efficient, the bank was also looking forward to expansion and to handling appropriately the increasing number of daily transactions and customers.

Sherif added that further considerations for PBE were not to be locked into a single vendor and to exploit the bank's internal skills in IT in order to be able to maintain and extend the system. The bank also wanted a quick implementation and the minimum total cost of ownership.

PBE runs its core banking on IBM DB2 database software, which is the source of most of the bank’s data.

For its new data warehouse and BI, the bank had a wide choice of vendors, as most of the world’s leading IT firms are represented in Egypt.

* The thing that facilitated the choice of having this solution is the experience of the people we have in this area within the bank. *

Hisham Sherif
IT Deputy Director
Piraeus Bank Egypt

One of the many considerations was the existing skills of the PBE business staff and its IT people. Since PBE staff used both Excel and Microsoft web browsers, they were easily able to adopt a Microsoft BI system.

Sherif highlighted that selecting the Microsoft platform had made it easy to develop systems in-house, exploiting the existing technical expertise inside the bank, which resulted in a massive reduction in the total cost of ownership. The staff involved have also gained enough experience to maintain and support the system for future expansion, which reduces the related operational expenses.

Sherif was also keen to avoid hiring additional IT development and administration people with expertise in products of a new supplier. “The thing that facilitated the choice of having this solution is the experience of the people we have in this area within the bank,” he said. After all, why add the burden of changing the system when PBE could have a single platform and get better service from one provider?: “It was not a stressful decision.”

However, an important factor in the bank's choice of system was the total cost of ownership, including software, hardware and development. Microsoft offered an excellent, reliable solution at a good price, said Sherif: “We deal with Microsoft as a partner, not as a provider.”

“SQL Server Integration Services allows connectivity to various types of data sources,” said Ramadan.

According to Sherif: “This is a total, effective, reliable solution; that was the main reason for migrating.” The system has high-availability, with technology that facilitates redundancy.

Also, since security is always a major concern for banks, PBE was very confident of the system’s embedded Transparent Data Encryption (TDE), which encrypts data at rest, data files and back-up files. “We were confident of the security measure,” said Sherif. TDE is being used by other banks in Egypt as part of the payment card industry (PCI) compliance that is being enforced by the Central Bank of Egypt.

The phased implementation lasted about six months. “Microsoft was the hidden soldiers,” Sherif added. “They supported my people very much in having this strong infrastructure and solution.” Internal resistance “was higher but shorter in time than we expected because business users could easily see the value of using Microsoft BI”.

* The solution now has the foundation to allow business users to create any type of report they like. It is extremely dynamic. *

Ahmed Ramadan
Head of IT Development
Piraeus Bank Egypt

However, users came around, as it no longer took two–three weeks to extract data and produce a report. “Now all the data are available, so users can customize any area at any time with the minimum response time. For accessing any report of course the response time is minimal,” said Sherif. “It’s much, much better. The process is not painful for us anymore.”

“The solution now has the foundation to allow business users to create any type of report they like. It is extremely dynamic,” said Ramadan. Sherif also mentioned that the similarity of the system to Excel makes it easy for users to develop their own reports in a timely manner.

“We are developing every day more and more solutions for business staff to improve the way they do their work,” said Helen Zikou, the PBE Chief Information Officer. “Statistics are not only stand-alone but also dynamic, giving to the end-users all the needed information to develop and facilitate their daily operations, to take appropriate decisions for products and marketing needs, complying in parallel with CBE regulations.”

The project has also led to simpler and more straightforward maintenance, said Ramadan: “Automatic data updates and consolidation make it a straightforward, easy architecture. The fact of having one technology with local expertise also has an impact on the maintenance simplicity.”

The new data warehouse produced major changes in the collection of bank data, he said. “With the old system, this process was done for very limited data sources and manually for most of the cases. Now, the whole process is scheduled and performed automatically.” SQL Server Integration Services packages are scheduled to run daily after the end of the day, data are uploaded into staging tables, data cleansing rules applied and the data uploaded to the data warehouse. “The whole process is performed automatically,” said Ramadan. “This is done with minimal interference and highest accuracy.”

Overall, a major benefit is that fewer IT staff are needed now to maintain data quality in the data warehouse, although PBE has taken on more IT staff to exploit the new system’s potential by developing new applications and new systems.

Sherif concludes: “This is an all-in-one solution presenting all these services in an easy administrative way.”

Maher Abou Steit, PBE’s Assistant Managing Director, added: "The price of success was hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and confidence in our capabilities. Thanks to the bank's IT staff and to Microsoft team for such a good project.”

Microsoft Server Product Portfolio
For more information about the Microsoft server product portfolio, go to:

For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:www.microsoft.com

For more information about Piraeus Bank Egypt products and services, call 19322 or visit the website at:www.piraeusbank.com.eg

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.

Document published November 2013
Solution Overview

Organization Size: 1250 employees

Organization Profile
Piraeus Bank Egypt — previously the Egyptian Commercial Bank — was bought by Piraeus Bank of Greece in 2005. PBE has 42 branches and 98 ATMs. Piraeus Bank is today the leading bank in Greece.

Business Situation
Piraeus Bank Egypt wanted to improve its data management and allow its staff to produce business reports more effectively and more quickly, while allowing capacity for growth.

Piraeus Bank Egypt deployed a Microsoft data warehouse and business intelligence system based on the SQL Server 2012 and SharePoint Server 2013.

  • Allows end-users to produce reports themselves
  • Fully automates Central Bank of Egypt reporting
  • Migrates data from legacy core system to the warehouse
  • Applies data cleansing and builds a single version of the truth
  • Builds a solid foundation for predictive analysis

  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Netapp Storage

Software and Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013

Vertical Industries