Microsoft Gulf today announced that Oman Arab Bank, one of the leading financial institutions in the Sultanate has implemented a diverse array of Microsoft solutions to build an innovative and sophisticated IT infrastructure capable of supporting its retail and corporate customer base and real-time integration with B2B and B2G e-government systems.. This has helped the bank to enhance its operational system, maximize efficiencies and optimize its IT infrastructure to support a dynamic operating environment and various business requirements.
With the Internet becoming a key platform for the bank to enhance customer experience, Microsoft technologies like its application development platform .Net, WF, WCF and SQL database have become a critical element of its Internet banking self-service portal, allowing seamless integration with various existing core-banking systems. This has facilitated the development of a wider range of services for its retail customers like real time top ups in the case of mobile phone credit, utility bills payment, account transfers etc. Corporate customers are also increasingly utilizing Oman Arab Bank's services for activities like transaction processing, payroll processing including e-banking services around the clock.
According to Hassan AbdulAli Al-Lawati, Deputy General Manager – Head of Information Technology Group, Oman Arab Bank, "The current IT infrastructure that we have at Oman Arab Bank is truly world class and is unique since it is seamlessly integrated with infrastructure solutions and applications even at the networking and virtualisation level. Microsoft's strong support and portfolio of solutions has added great value to the business through state-of-the-art technology. Information Technology is giving us an e-business edge to roll out new innovative solutions and will continue to be a key driver in helping us become the bank of choice for discerning individuals, corporations, and government entities all the time."
"We are delighted to be working with Oman Arab Bank to provide a secure, reliable, and high-performing IT foundation. We understand the Bank's commitment to innovation and their quest for customer-centric services and are very happy to bring the latest Microsoft technologies tailored for the financial services industry in support of this vision," said Tareq Hijazi, Country Manager, Microsoft Bahrain & Oman. "By building a well-managed, and dynamic core IT infrastructure, Oman Arab bank are well on their way to reduce overall IT costs, make better use of resources, and build a value-based competitive advantage."
The bank's success in driving ePayments can be gauged from the fact that more than 2 billion omani riyals has been diverted from cash to cash less payments that was circulating inside the country. This has also helped to control money laundering and fraud. The technology is also facilitating the expansion of the business beyond Oman.
With IT systems redundancy being a key requirement for Business Continuity, Oman Arab Bank has been very successful in having a robust Disaster Recovery (DR) solution in place supported by a 64 bit Windows operating system. During Cyclone Gonu in 2007, operations of Oman Arab Bank remained unaffected thanks to its disaster recovery solution. The solution has been completely integrated with existing telecom and internet infrastructure and government departments to ensure uninterrupted operations. As a practice, Oman Arab Bank is experimenting with full live disaster recovery 3-4 times in a year.
In terms of the infrastructure solutions, Oman Arab Bank currently utilizes Microsoft solutions like Windows 2008 R2 operating system, Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange, Forefront, TMG, Project Server and System Centre. In the case of the application layer, the bank has been actively using MS Visual Studio 2010, SQL 2008 and .Net as development tools..
Elaborating on the innovative nature of solutions that the bank is working on, Mr. Al Lawati said, "We are in the process of adding a new set of services based on our existing middleware layer supported by Microsoft Windows 2008 64 bits platform which will give corporates and business partners real time integration to e-banking services like balance order, cheque book requests, cash management and many more directly from partner applications.