Fortis Bank Nederland, which was nationalized in 2008 by the Dutch government, needed to rebuild its IT infrastructure after separating its operations from its former parent company. The bank decided to upgrade its 12,000 computers to the Windows 7 Enterprise operating system. As a result of the upgrade, Fortis Bank Nederland enhanced security, improved system performance, and increased employee productivity and satisfaction.
Based in the Netherlands, Fortis Bank Nederland provides a comprehensive portfolio of banking services to its customers, including retail banking, commercial banking, and corporate financial services. In October 2008, the bank was nationalized by the Dutch government and split from its parent company, the Fortis Group.
The Dutch-owned bank has 200 locations across the Netherlands, including its corporate offices and bank branch locations, and has 8,855 full-time employees. Fortis Bank Nederland supports its operations with more than 1,000 servers running the Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 operating systems; the bank virtualizes much of its server environment. The bank has 12,000 client computers—approximately 70 percent of its computers are desktop workstations, the other 30 percent are portable computers that are issued to mobile employees.
Fortis Bank Nederland primarily ran the Windows XP operating system; however, prior to its nationalization and separation from the Fortis Group, the bank started preparing for an upgrade to the Windows Vista operating system, including replacing its client computer hardware.
In addition to separating its business operations from the Fortis Group, the bank also needed to rebuild its entire IT infrastructure after being nationalized. Though it had prepared to upgrade to Windows Vista, the bank decided to reevaluate its upgrade options after being faced with the major undertaking—and opportunity—to redesign its IT infrastructure. Fortis Bank Nederland wanted a modern operating system that was compatible with its extensive portfolio of 843 software applications, many of which are financial applications that are widely used across the banking and financial industries. Solution
In December 2009, Fortis Bank Nederland decided to upgrade to the Windows 7 Enterprise operating system, Windows Internet Explorer 8 Internet browser, and Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007. The bank started with a pilot deployment of the operating system to 97 employees, representing various departments and user roles across the organization.
||Windows 7 helps employees work more efficiently.
IT Manager, Fortis Bank Nederland
Fortis Bank Nederland had previously spent significant time preparing for its upgrade to Windows Vista, including thoroughly testing its software application portfolio and resolving several compatibility issues. Because of the high compatibility between Windows Vista and Windows 7, and because the bank has found that software vendors are quick to update applications for Windows 7, Fortis Bank Nederland has not experienced any compatibility issues. Helping with the positive application compatibility experience, Fortis Bank Nederland implemented Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V), part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance, and virtualized 92 percent of its 843 applications.
For enhanced security, the bank will continue to use Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption as it had planned for its upgrade to Windows Vista. To further safeguard confidential company data and sensitive financial information, Fortis Bank Nederland will use the BitLocker To Go feature in Windows 7—extending its encryption solution to removable media devices.
Fortis Bank Nederland is also evaluating BranchCache, a feature in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, that enables content from file and Web servers on the bank’s wide area network to be cached on computers at its branch offices—helping to speed application response time and reduce network bandwidth.
For automated deployment of the operating system to both its staging and production environments, Fortis Bank Nederland uses Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2. After a successful pilot deployment, Fortis Bank Nederland will continue to roll out Windows 7 across the organization and will implement the operating system to all 12,000 computers by the end of 2010. Benefits
Still early in its deployment process, Fortis Bank Nederland already sees the benefits of implementing Windows 7. As a result of the upgrade, it has enhanced IT security, improved system performance, increased employee productivity, and improved employee satisfaction.Enhanced Security
With information security a critical component of the IT infrastructure at Fortis Bank Nederland, the organization implemented BitLocker for full-volume drive encryption—helping to protect sensitive data in the event of a lost or stolen computer. With BitLocker To Go, the bank extends that protection to removable storage devices, such as USB thumb drives. “Security is always important to us,” says René Lansink, IT Manager at Fortis Bank Nederland. “With Windows 7, we can continue our tradition of protecting confidential data.”Improved System Performance
Employees at Fortis Bank Nederland have reported noticeable improvements to system performance with the upgrade to Windows 7. Specifically, the start-up and resume sequences are faster and the overall operating system response time is also faster. Increased Employee Productivity
With Windows 7, Fortis Bank Nederland has seen incremental improvements in employee productivity. In addition to the improved system performance, which reduces downtime between tasks and enables employees to remain productive, employees appreciate the easy-to-navigate user interface in Windows 7. “Combined with Microsoft Office 2007, Windows 7 helps employees work more efficiently,” explains Lansink. “The ramp-up time for employees to learn the new interface and start being productive is only about 10 minutes.”Greater Employee Satisfaction
Employees at Fortis Bank Nederland have had a favorable reaction to Windows 7 as evidenced by employees and entire departments requesting to join the pilot group. “One of the greatest things about Windows 7 is that employees are clamoring for the upgrade,” says Lansink. “The employees are our customers—and it thrills us to make our customers happy.”