Evolving a major company means not only keeping the service level high during the transition, but also developing the right practices to keep long-established needs served in the future. Asia Commercial Bank , Vietnam’s largest privately owned bank, brought its legacy system into the new millennium and turned lean, efficient and stronger. It became an award-winning financial institution with world-class system uptime and a near-frictionless collaborative environment.
ACB called the transformation an ‘Infrastructure Refresh Project’. And with it, ACB became one of the first Vietnamese banks to implement this project for workplace collaboration.
The new operating platform came with three key features. First, the bank implemented an ‘active directory’ to acquire a centralised control and authority over user access. Second, the bank had to migrate all emails to a unified communication solution. Lastly, the platform was implemented using a private cloud with encrypted data for better security.
The biggest roadblocks weren’t cultural, but technological: The country has relatively limited bandwidth; Microsoft’s plug-and-play Office 365 suite wouldn’t fit into the area’s local and international compliance; and there was little to no cloud support available. It was no surprise that the previous incarnation had a 95% uptime rate. If you accessed the bank 20 times, odds are that you’d fail the last attempt — a bad ratio when you’re talking about people’s money.
Worse, the work environment wasn’t conducive to collaborative solutions. Staff was disconnected relative to other institutions, which meant that the customers themselves could not be served as well. Mobile and other modern technologies were not supported or encouraged at the bank.
It took several major steps to revitalise the company. First, Asia Commercial Bank turned its legacy assets into a hybrid cloud, embracing the limitations of Vietnam’s bandwidth and respecting the local tech opportunities available. The 95% uptime rate jumped to a near-perfect 99.9%. Customers could now truly begin to rely on the legacy institution.
Second, the bank embraced the unified platform and immediately created a single sign-on for 9,000 of its customers. The previous system would traverse a series of weakly linked platforms to serve the customer. Now, the process is streamlined, making it a more efficient experience for both the user and the provider.
Third, ACB taught, encouraged and enabled its employees to embrace newer communications. Again, legacy operations meant no real-time communication, strained collaboration, stunted productivity and potentially subpar customer service. Today, 20% of the staff uses social media and half use mobile platforms to access email and other work data. It gave an immediate, quantifiable reduction in response time.
Finally, Asia Commercial Bank has created a platform ready to scale. It migrated to the Microsoft Unified Communications and Collaboration Suite to securely go to a hybrid cloud system. The team also hammered out a three-year strategy to cover any growth down the road. The ambitious transformation has essentially future-proofed the institution.
ACB selected Microsoft’s active cloud implementation partner in Asia, Dimension Data, as its technological vendor for the project based on three criteria: ability to provide end-to-end deployment; proven experience on similar execution across Asia Pacific; and multiple subject matter expertise to provide best practice and project validation.
Dimension Data refreshed the bank’s legacy infrastructure and implemented the enterprise platform to deliver the following:
- Microsoft Unified Communication Command (UCC) Suite (Exchange, Lync, SharePoint, Office Pro Plus, Yammer, and One Drive)
- Active Directory
- Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)
- System Centre Configuration Manager (SCCM)
The project started in October 2014 and took 14 months to complete. The bank encountered some challenges when it started cleaning and migrating huge amounts of data to the shared storage. Twelve thousand mailboxes of 6,000 users of the old systems were also archived using the new Microsoft platform.
ACB won the best cloud-based project in Vietnam  from the 10th Asian Banker Technology Innovation Awards. It is an honor that would seem distant, if not impossible, for ACB months prior.
Through smart leadership, Asia Commercial Bank turned from a company sinking under the weight of classic hardware and methodology into a modern hybrid cloud and communication powerhouse securing its role as a leader in Vietnam.