Digital Transformation News

Ashur International Bank Partners with Nutanix to Lead Digital Banking Revolution in Iraq

Ashur

Ashur International Bank has deployed robust, reliable, high-performance IT infrastructure from Nutanix that sets the foundation for digital banking innovation in the country.

Iraq’s finance sector is on the cusp of a digital banking revolution, and Ashur International Bank is at the vanguard. 24×7 self-service, robo-advisors, AI-powered kiosks, and voice biometrics have all been earmarked as milestones along the Bank’s 5-year digital transformation journey. Nutanix’s technology will underpin all these applications.

“With their jointly validated design, Nutanix and Red Hat were able to demonstrate the value of Openshift as an enterprise-grade Kubernetes platform for mission-critical applications. This gave us the level of confidence needed as a bank to proceed with this design.”

Bashar Al-otaibi, Head of Digital Transformation at Ashur International Bank

With the demand for digital banking skyrocketing in Iraq, Ashur International Bank was committed to its mission of leveraging the latest global technological developments to serve the best interests of its customers. However, the Bank’s legacy infrastructure – with its complex network of point-to-point integrations between systems – was a barrier to these ambitions. Keen to shift towards the more efficient, effective, and secure approach of using microservices, APIs and containerized applications, the bank sought to revamp its underlying infrastructure.

Guided by the expertise of its local technology partner, Ashur International Bank’s IT team identified Red Hat OpenShift as the enterprise Kubernetes container platform of choice. Due to regulatory constraints, the bank could not leverage the public cloud hosted version of this solution and so decided to build its own private cloud, which led it to Red hat OpenShift on Nutanix.

“When you talk private cloud, there’s really only one company you should partner with. Nutanix is simply brilliant and with incredibly strong references from our peers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan for not just their technology, but the associated local expertise and support we knew they were the right choice,” said Bashar Al-otaibi, Head of Digital Transformation at Ashur International Bank. “With their jointly-validated design, Nutanix and Red Hat were able to demonstrate the value of Openshift as an enterprise-grade Kubernetes platform for mission-critical applications. This gave us the level of confidence needed as a bank to proceed with this design.”

Following just a three week-long deployment process, Ashur International Bank had its Nutanix Enterprise Private Cloud set up and running. The stability and performance of the solution have given Al-otaibi and his team the confidence to rapidly carry out the digitalization of processes across the enterprise, thereby increasing efficiencies, enhancing customer experiences, and advancing the Bank’s paperless strategy. “We even have plans to now deploy a comprehensive workflow automation solution on our Nutanix cloud,” said Al-otaibi.

Further to the deployment, the Bank’s IT team has seen its operational overheads decline sharply, and Al-otaibi estimates that full return on investment (ROI) on the project will be achieved within just months. With little to no time spent on infrastructure management, Al-otaibi’s team has been quick to refocus its efforts on innovation. “With our ability to build powerful, stable and secure containerized applications in our private cloud, we are able to pioneer innovations that are truly transformative in the Iraqi market,” he said.

The IT team is currently in the process of developing a new Smart Payments module – the first of its kind in Iraq. Combining voice biometrics and Natural Language Processing (NLP) chatbots, the bank will empower customers to be rapidly authenticated and then intuitively make transactions by simply conversing with an automated virtual teller. “These sorts of AI-powered applications are tremendously compute intensive, but with Nutanix, we know we have the platform that can support such innovations,” said Al-otaibi.

Testament to its satisfaction with the deployment, the company’s parent concern, the Al Handal International Group is now set to replicate the Nutanix Private Cloud infrastructure in Turkey when it launches its new banking institution, Century Bank, in the country.

“At Ashur International Bank, we aren’t just creating impactful new digital services for our customers, we are actively setting new benchmarks for the BFSI segment in Iraq. By standardizing on technologies from market-leading vendors such as Nutanix and Red Hat, we are setting high standards that our peers in the country are sure to aspire towards,” he concluded.

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