The implementation of JLupin Next Server in the credit engine system in Alior Bank was revolutionary in terms of technology and organization. This new application platform has allowed us to provide independence of the banking processes and products on the level of IT technology, in this way we have become more effective and flexible towards business needs.

The challenge – the need for a change

It all started with wording a clear and precise business requirement: the bank’s credit engine must enable an independent and simultaneous development of services for various groups of credit products and in various sales channels. Such a requirement was justifiable and resulted from a need to develop the bank’s loan offer dynamically, thus building its competitive domination on the market. It was, however, a real challenge from the IT perspective, since it required thorough programming and organizational changes. Up to then, changes to the engine had been implemented within defined version cycles and required all credit services to be tested, which was labour-intensive and resulted in long implementation times. We aimed at shortening this time and minimizing (eliminating, to be exact) the risk that changes would have an impact on services within various product groups. We wanted to be more agile and effective, yet, without any increase in operational costs and having to make no significant infrastructure investments.

 

The change – the solution

An analysis of programming changes and preliminaries related to the division of the credit engine hinted out that the objective would be very difficult to achieve without a significant technological support and, what was even worse, it may enforce compromise. At that time, we were using a well known opensource middleware-class application server and, more and more often, we were facing the limitations of such a solution which did not allow individual applications to be fully independent. Even if we managed to separate elements of the engine within the scope of logical architecture, the problem of shared application server resources remained. On the other hand, locating individual logical components in separate application server instances would lead to a complete paralysis of retention processes and operational costs would have increased – a situation we wanted to avoid. Facing a stalemate, we started to seek alternative technological solutions within the scope of application platforms. JLupin Next Server met our needs perfectly and solved the problems we had come across. Additionally, it provided above-standard efficiency, high-availability mechanisms, and was simple to retain. Our goals turned out to be possible to reach only with a new application platform – JLupin Next Server.

 

The solution – the benefits

Implementation of the new divided version of the engine was a very complex, time-consuming process, critical from the perspective of operation of the entire organization. By using the JLNS platform, we achieved all our goals without the need to compromise and provided the business with a flexible and highly efficient platform ready for further dynamic development of services. The new version of the credit engine, operating based on JLupin Next Server, started with ten independent applications and was operated by a single retention team. At present, several dozen applications operate on the platform which … is still retained by the very same team and uses the same hardware infrastructure. It thus appears that, along with an increase in the number of applications, JLNS does not require additional maintenance activities, while the platform’s architecture allows better utilization of hardware resources. Thanks to this, both operational costs and investments are limited and remain under full control. This is confirmed by the statement from the Director IT Maintenance Department – Bernard Grzywna:

Keeping many applications on one platform has proved to be simple and intuitive; it did not generate higher operational costs, nor infrastructure expenses. In technical terms, thanks to JLNS, we have gained high efficiency and performance stability as well as the possibility of fully online changes in applications. Recently, I asked the administrator about the condition of JLNS platform. After a moment of reflection, he replied – ‘Erm…I haven’t checked it for a long time, because IT’S JUST WORKING!’

 

The benefits – the chance we used well

At present, the Bank is developing their credit product offer independently for individual and institutional customers in several independent distribution channels, while the resulting changes are sometimes implemented over the course of a day with no impact on availability (thanks to online updates).The platform’s capacity and stability allowed us to launch another bank with a completely new and independent credit offer on the same system. Not much changed from the perspective of maintenance… only several new applications were set up on the very same familiar application platform.

Introduction of such a flexible and efficient application platform allowed us to expand its functional portfolio to include not only further credit processes but also non-credit ones, as well as processes related to customer service within a distribution network, the first of which was customer service for T-Mobile’s customers rendered at our strategic Partner’s stores. Thanks to this decision, our platform evolved from a credit engine into a universal, station process bus (BLP – Business Logic Platform). By supplementing it with the existing non-station service bus (Middleware), we achieved outstanding IT ecosystem’s maturity, making it ready for a quick deployment without the need to make investments in IT infrastructure.

The infrastructure of the BLP system, which operates under the control of JLupin Next Server, had not been expanded by the time it was implemented for the central credit engine, even though we more than tripled the number of processes operating as independent applications (including JVM processes) within the system. The platform, which is the heart of the Bank’s profitability, operates on as few as six class x86_64 servers, each of which is equipped with twelve cores and 96 GB RAM. The portfolio of supported processes may be divided into five basic groups:

  • Credit processes for consumers (loan, card, overdraft etc.)
  • Credit processes for B2B – KB
  • Consumer Finance processes (e.g. RTV Euro AGD, Allegro)
  • Non-credit product processes for consumers (account, deposit, etc.)
  • Customer service processes
  • Backoffice and technical processes (back office, administration, reporting panels, support of periodic, dictionary management, etc.)

 

Each of these groups includes both applications to Alior Bank S.A., as well as T-Mobile Banking Services provided by Alior Bank S.A. – all in all, 32 applications in simultaneous operation, multiplied into over two hundred processes at the level of the infrastructure. A single platform supporting two banks – it would not have been possible without JLupin Next Server.

Efficiency of JLupin Next Server application platform is best exhibited by tangible business indexes we have achieved:

  • implementation times have been shortened from 3 months to 3 weeks (78%)
  • high availability of IT service (more than 99,9%)
  • the cost of microservices IT environment has been reduced by more than 70%
  • high efficiency of business processes (e.g. almost 85% of Consumer Finance processes are being processed up to decision-making point under 60 seconds).

 

 

The presence of JLupin Next Server in Alior Bank S.A. is more than just a business process bus. Having most positive experience with this application platform, we have decided to expand its implementation in further service areas, where high-efficiency levels and reliability is crucial and where JLNS works best.

In 2013, we identified a need to change the card payment authorisation system and decided that the new one would be created through internal development. We chose JLupin technology, because it offered all the functions and features that guarantee stability and safety to such a critical process as payment card transaction support. The project, within the context of the assumed success factors, turned out to be hugely successful. It:

  • reduced the total cost of retention over the period of 3 years by 88%
  • multiplied the system capacity (from 40 transactions / second to no less than 1000)
  • reduced the cost of change implementation by 40% (thanks to utilization of microservice architecture)
  • increased the system’s reliability significantly (total unavailability in 2016 amounted to 5 minutes compared to 550 minutes in 2015).

 

Direction – JLupin Next Server

Utilization of JLupin Next Server is a great booster for the IT application infrastructure and creates a huge potential for organizational and architectural changes that allow us to build competitive advantage. The model of cooperation with the application platform provider, JLupin Software Studio, helps us to sculpt the final functional shape of their product, so that it is adapted to our needs even better. On the other hand, the manufacture’s ability to maintain a tripartite cooperation with external suppliers (e.g. Comarch) in order to provide their products within a microservice architecture makes the strategic approach restructuring IT environment into to an agility- business efficiency-oriented one, that is, into microservices, possible in terms of organization and technology.

 

 

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