Banking on Snow Automation Platform for Success
As a leading bank in its home markets of Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Swedbank has more than seven million retail and 600,000 corporate customers with 275 branches in Sweden and 144 branches in the Baltic countries.
With 20,000 users across the business demanding software and services, Swedbank needed a solution that could scale and provide an efficient experience to all users.
Using Snow Automation Platform, the bank was able to successfully create and manage a self-service portal where it could implement, streamline and automate the processes for software.
- Users can search, make requests & get fast access to 1300 applications and services
- Automatic fulfilment of more than 1000 requests per week
- High user adoption – 7500 unique users in just three months
Pool of VMware Virtual Machines (VMs) provisioned to users for limited time periods, providing strong ROI and cost avoidance
Control and management – service and software owners can configure which applications are to be made available in the self-service portal
With users spread across hundreds of locations in Sweden, the Baltics and beyond, Swedbank had a strong business case for a mechanism by which its users could be empowered to download and use software quickly without having to resort time and again to the helpdesk. It chose to deploy Snow Automation Platform to create a self-service portal with approval processes built in to alleviate pressures on the helpdesk, improving the speed that users can access software and services while maintaining control of the approval and fulfilment processes.
“Our principle is that you are not allowed to install an application manually,” says Berto Machado from Workplace & Common Infrastructure team at Swedbank. “Therefore if you are an application owner or the service owner of applications, you need to create a package for the application. We work together with our partner Atea which has a portal that’s called Application Manager, and that’s where the journey starts.”
In this portal application owners can upload the source files and test how the application runs first before creating the package. Once ready, all the source files are sent to an automation factory in Riga where they are packaged and uploaded to Swedbank’s self-service portal powered by Snow Automation Platform; at this point the application owner is notified so they can manage the service or software.
Here the application owner decides whether the application should be made available to all users or not, and who the owner is as well as their substitute (for request approvals) and how many levels of approval are necessary.
Therefore when a user comes to order software, the approval workflow kicks in along with all the relevant information associated with that user (such as the computer name and AD group) so that Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) can identify to which computer it will distribute the software. Once the application request has passed all the approvals, the application is then distributed to the user’s computer automatically. The whole process from ordering to being installed can take as little as a half an hour.
Snow Automation Platform supports different levels of approval which is great for the bank as depending on the application there can be none (generally for free software), one or two approvals that have to be made before the software reaches the end user. The solution also supports the ability to list software with a price tag. This price isn’t necessarily the actual cost of the software but an internal cost, says Berto. “We hope that users give a little more consideration to what they are selecting if they are aware of how much it’s costing the organization.”
SERVICES, SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE
The portal allows users not only to order software, they can order Virtual Machines (VMs) too. Berto explains, “Today we have a pool of VMs and want to ensure good lifecycle management and cost optimization. Our developers use these VMs to test applications and only need a VM temporarily. With Snow Automation Platform we enable them to order the VM in the self-service portal, all they have to do is select the number of days they need it for (from five to 30) from a drop-down list.” This way the bank reduces its virtual sprawl and keeps a tight grip on the number of VMs that are operational at any point in time.
Users can also use Snow Automation Platform to order phones. Today, the bank receives product and price files from Telia every day, and there is a daily import job that updates all the Telia products on the systems – phones, chargers, earpieces etc., and the right price and the right description is added into the self-service portal. Berto says, “Users follow a similar process to ordering software, except in this case the hardware is delivered directly to them.”
“With around 1300 applications and about a thousand requests per week it would be hopeless trying to manage that volume manually,” comments Berto. “Within just a few months of launching, over a third of our total workforce – more than 7500 unique users – had accessed the portal to request software or services.”
Another element to cost optimization is that users may uninstall applications that they no longer need. This saves the bank having to continually buy new licenses and instead pool them and re-issue software to those that need it. If a user has uninstalled an application but needs it again, it’s a simple process to go back to the portal, request and reinstall it.
“Snow Automation Platform has helped the bank reduce the time it takes to deal with requests, users are more satisfied with IT and can quickly access the software and services they need to be productive. Importantly there’s been significant cost savings as we have been able to reduce the size of the service desk.” Berto concludes, “Now we have the self-service portal up and running that supports the whole bank without having to add the need for additional IT support functions, users find it very intuitive to use, and we are delivering software and services much more efficiently at the point of need while ensuring that the right approvals are made along the way.”
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