2 page Case Study - Posted 9/9/2011
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Union Bank of Israel Ltd

Leading Israeli Bank Transforms Culture and Data Insight with the Microsoft Platform

Union Bank of Israel needed to improve efficiency and data insight, so it implemented a business intelligence solution based on the Microsoft platform. The solution includes a new portal and an updated data warehouse with 1 terabyte of data from mission-critical systems. As a result, the bank has transformed its culture, streamlined reporting, simplified decision making, facilitated innovation, and improved efficiency, customer service, and agility.

Business Needs

In 2010, Union Bank of Israel needed to give business decision makers greater insight into information. Employees relied on standardized reports that the bank’s IT and Information Center departments generated with numerous tools for mainframes and other disparate systems including Oracle databases. Employees also created some reports with a customer relationship management (CRM) solution. The first banking solution of its kind based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM, it includes a 1 terabyte, relational data warehouse based on Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Enterprise data management software.

* With the Microsoft BI solution, we have dramatically changed our culture. Managers can instantly analyze the same information in easy-to-use reports and dashboards, which help us see results faster.  *

Jonathan Bellisha
Chief Technology Officer
Union Bank of Israel

To make decisions about services, managers had to read and manually analyze numerous reports to extrapolate business intelligence (BI) about topics such as service levels, trends, accounts, and risk. The manual reporting and BI processes slowed efficiency and hindered agility. In addition, because reports were created with multiple tools at different times, employees spent significant time verifying that reports contained accurate and consistent data. The reporting solutions also required significant administrative effort by IT personnel, as did the bank’s custom portal that employees used to share information.

The bank sought an easy-to-manage BI solution that could work with existing systems, streamline workflows, establish consistency, and provide real-time data insight. The solution also needed to scale and speed report generation. “We sought a BI solution that could make it possible for users to explore data on their own and process information in a sophisticated way,” says Jonathan Bellisha, Chief Technology Officer at Union Bank of Israel.


To minimize complexity and take advantage of the existing data warehouse and CRM systems, Union Bank of Israel chose a reporting and data analysis solution based on the Microsoft platform. The bank also joined the Microsoft Report Generation and Distribution Workload Technology Adoption Program so that it could work with Microsoft Services consultants to design and deploy innovative BI processes with early release versions of Microsoft products. Bellisha explains, “By implementing a comprehensive BI solution with technologies from one vendor, we could focus on improving efficiency for all employees rather than spending time managing disparate, best-of-breed tools.”

In November 2010, the bank began working with Microsoft Services to implement the first phase of its new BI solution, which gives 900 users access to hundreds of reports from a new portal based on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. The reports include information from disparate systems that is stored in the data warehouse. To facilitate analysis, engineers restructured the data warehouse into OLAP cubes using Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Analysis Services and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Integration Services. Engineers also used PerformancePoint Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 to develop new data analysis and corporate performance management capabilities including dashboards, data filters, and page navigation tools. The new solution runs on the Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise operating system and five server computers, including HP ProLiant BL460c G6 and IBM System x3650 models.

By the end of 2011, the bank expects to have migrated its data warehouse to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, and give users new tools for self-service reporting and managing corporate performance and risk, especially with mortgages. Commenting on the ongoing collaboration with Microsoft Services consultants, Bellisha notes, “Our Microsoft consultants are very professional and skilled—and they are a great help to us.”


By implementing a BI solution on the Microsoft platform, Union Bank of Israel has transformed its culture; improved decision making; increased efficiency, customer service levels, and agility; sped reporting; and facilitated innovation.

Transforms Corporate Culture

Today, employees can access information in seconds, which has transformed how employees work, communicate, and support customers. “With the Microsoft BI solution, we have dramatically changed our culture,” Bellisha says. “Managers can instantly analyze the same information in easy-to-use reports and dashboards, which help us see results faster—and better meet business objectives.”

Simplifies Decision Making

From the portal, both nontechnical and power users can make decisions based on real-time information. Bellisha says, “Rather than reading through a stack of reports, a branch manager can sit down with a customer and instantly access the information needed to make decisions about services by clicking through a few screens on the Microsoft BI solution.”

Improves Efficiency, Service, and Agility

The increased insight and streamlined processes help the bank to improve agility, service levels, and comply with regulations. “Our Microsoft BI solution has made us more competitive—and it has changed how we service customers and contribute to the bank’s growth,” Bellisha explains.

In addition, the flexibility, availability, and scalability of the new solution mean that IT personnel spend less time managing the new portal and creating custom reports. “Because employees can drill down into information, the requests for custom reports have dropped significantly,” says Bellisha. “IT personnel and business analysts can also create reports in less time—and these reports now look better and facilitate superior business results.”

Facilitates Innovation

The bank is currently working with Microsoft Services to take advantage of emerging reporting and data analysis capabilities based on the next version of SQL Server, Microsoft SQL Server code-named “Denali,” and the data visualization tool known as Project “Crescent.” Bellisha says, “We will be using the next version of SQL Server and a new data visualization tool called Project ‘Crescent’ to implement the BI semantic model to deliver innovative, point-and-click tools for self-service reporting, dynamic data visualization, performance management, and risk management.”

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

Organization Size: 1200 employees

Organization Profile

Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, Union Bank of Israel provides banking services to private and commercial customers. In 2010, it operated 35 branches and earned NIS142 million (U.S.$42 million) in net profit.


  • HP ProLiant BL460c G6 and IBM System x3650 server computers

Software and Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
  • Microsoft Services
  • Microsoft Consulting Services
  • BMC - Business Intelligence
  • BMC - Mission Critical
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Analysis Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Integration Services
  • Microsoft SharePoint technologies

Vertical Industries


Business Need
  • Business Intelligence and Reporting
  • Business Critical
  • Data Management
  • Mission Critical

IT Issue
Data Warehousing


Microsoft Services