A basic banking service is no longer enough. Customers expect more—whether they’re an everyday consumer, a high-net-worth individual or a corporate client. To rise to the challenge, banks are using technology to elevate the customer experience, helping them stand out in a crowded field.
Digital transformation is a key component of Cairo Amman Bank’s (CAB) strategy for the upcoming years. This initiative aims to enhance the experience of existing customers and increase the bank’s market share by targeting new segments. Recognizing that competition in its industry is fierce, CAB aimed to expand its client base and focus on niche segments. Previously, the bank launched services aimed at increasing financial inclusion in Jordan, where the median age is just 24.
Rami Ma’ayah, Head of Technology at Cairo Amman Bank, explains, “We’re always looking to respond to the emerging needs of Jordan’s citizens. For example, we launched LINC—Jordan’s first youth bank, which offers a hybrid banking experience combining digital technology with our retail banking expertise.”
Alongside LINC, which is aimed at Jordan’s youth (ages 18-40), CAB also created “Signature”, a trademark service specifically developed to serve high net-worth individuals and corporate customers in Jordan.
“We put together a digital transformation strategy for each of our three priority segments,” says Ma’ayah. “First, our traditional customer base, who mostly visit branches to withdraw their salaries. There, we decided to use behavioral analytics to work out how to cut delays in branches and improve satisfaction. For LINC and Signature, we knew that a compelling digital channel would be essential to our success.”
To underpin new and future services, Cairo Amman Bank looked for a powerful IT infrastructure that could support dynamic development. Ma’ayah adds, “Operating in a competitive marketplace, short time-to-market is critical. We wanted to adopt an agile DevOps approach, which would only be possible with the right technology foundations. We looked for the right solutions to help Cairo Amman Bank make a new mark on the banking sector.”
Getting the fundamentals right
To help achieve its digital transformation goals, Cairo Amman Bank decided to deploy a new high-performance infrastructure based on IBM® Power® E980 servers and IBM FlashSystem® 7200 storage. The project coincided with an upgrade to the bank’s core banking application.
“For many years, IBM Power and IBM Storage have been at the heart of Cairo Amman Bank’s technology strategy,” comments Ma’ayah. “I’ve also used IBM technology in a previous role, and for me it stands for performance, flexibility, reliability, stability and security, making it the natural choice to support our digital transformation. IBM Power is certified and benchmarked for the latest version of our core banking platform Temenos Transact, so we knew it could provide the shortest response times for even the most demanding workloads.”
Cairo Amman Bank engaged IBM Business Partner Jordan Business Systems (JBS) to help with the solution design, configuration and implementation. Ma’ayah adds, “JBS represent true quality on the ground. Their team is highly professional, responsive and knowledgeable. They provide the resources to help us extract the full potential from IBM technology.”
With help from JBS, Cairo Amman Bank deployed the new IBM Power servers and IBM FlashSystem storage in a high-availability active-active configuration. The bank became the first company in the Levant region to use the IBM HyperSwap® function (part of the IBM Spectrum® Virtualize software embedded in IBM FlashSystem storage), which enables automatic failover of storage access across sites to avoid planned and unplanned downtime.
“When I joined the bank, one of my aims was to eliminate unplanned downtime,” says Ma’ayah. “With cyber-resilience a growing priority for us, we want to take every measure possible to protect our critical systems, and built-in IBM high availability features play a key role in that effort. Now, we’re in the process of finalizing our cloud strategy, which may include replicating data to the cloud. The fact that IBM Power and IBM FlashSystem technology is designed to integrate with the cloud is a significant advantage for us.”