Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) plans to complete its IT infrastructure shift from an on-premises environment to Amazon Web Services (AWS) by 2022, with the organisation set to run close to 400 mission-critical applications on the cloud giant’s infrastructure.
The migration is intended to accelerate the bank’s digital transformation efforts, improve customers’ digital banking experiences and strengthen financial inclusion in the Philippines by bringing financial services to remote parts of the country.
It is hoped that UnionBank will also realise a cloud-only IT transformation strategy, claiming the move will see it become the first major bank in the Philippines to be fully hosted in the cloud.
“UnionBank is using AWS to bring banking to the millions of people in the Philippines who need access to financial services to help uplift their lives,” said Dennis Omila, UnionBank executive vice president and chief information and operations officer.
“The breadth and depth of the world’s leading cloud provider enables us to more quickly launch new financial services, including a mobile bank on wheels to scale financial inclusion in remote areas and help Filipinos everywhere to bank digitally.
“Now, more consumers, farmers, fishers and local businesses will have access to the tools to help better manage cash flow, making it easier to send and receive payments,” he added.
If all goes to plan, when UnionBank completes its migration in 2022 it will run almost 400 mission-critical applications on AWS, including Finacle Core Banking and SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. At the same time, the bank is also set to migrate over 900 virtual machines to VMware Cloud on AWS.
Meanwhile, UnionBank uses Amazon API Gateway and Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) to build new mobile banking products with microservices that support application architecture, regardless of scale, load, or complexity.
To accelerate its digital transformation, the bank is also investing in a cloud training program for staff, providing training courses designed by AWS Training and Certification to more than 500 employees, including both in-depth technical training for information technology staff and cloud fundamentals training for business stakeholders.
For Conor McNamara, AWS ASEAN managing director, the mass migration comes as banks across Southeast Asia adopt cloud to meet customers’ expectations, pursue new opportunities opened by evolving regulations and address challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic.
“These firms ultimately recognise cloud as a business and technology enabler,” McNamara said. “By moving its infrastructure to AWS, UnionBank gains access to an unmatched portfolio of cloud services to deliver new financial solutions and experiences and solve meaningful customer problems quickly and at scale while reducing operational costs.
“We’re excited to work with UnionBank to create an end-to-end digital banking experience in the cloud that will help support access to more financial services in the Philippines and enable fundamental banking services from anywhere,” he added.
UnionBank has worked with AWS and its partners for some time. For example, the bank previously turned to ConsenSys, an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Technology Partner, to build a blockchain solution offering rural banks a new way of doing business to drive growth, sustainability and increase banking access for its customers.
ConsenSys, a blockchain software vendor, specialises in making blockchain technology accessible to companies and individuals around the globe and drive social change and inclusion using Ethereum, an open-source blockchain-based protocol.
“We engaged with UnionBank for many months to identify potential solutions to the financial inclusivity pain points they sought to address using blockchain technology,” said Aiai Garcia, solutions lead for Asia and the Pacific at ConsenSys.
“Through our blockchain expertise, consulting services, and the use of Kaleido, ConsenSys’s new all-in-one blockchain platform running on AWS, we want to help UnionBank bring the unbanked to the global marketplace and bring rural banks and their clients more financial services options.”
Just days ago, the Thai maker of food delivery app Robinhood revealed it had tapped AWS to underpin its offering, designed to provide food vendors with a low-cost alternative to existing food delivery platform operators.