ATLANTA: The use of cloud-hosted and off-the-shelf software, together with tablets, has helped Metro Bank become an almost paper-free business. The company has also shunned desk phone to use Lync to host phone calls.
At Convergence 2015 in Atlanta, Bruce Rioch, head of business information and customer systems at Metro Bank, said the bank is using the technology in its drive to foster a "paperless culture".
"We're saving thousands and thousands of pieces of paper," he said. "If you walk into a Metro Bank store and open a bank account, we will actually get you to sign the account declaration on screen," he said.
"We'll get you to sign terms and conditions on the screen and then we will actually email that directly to you, rather than print 28 pages of terms and condition you quite frankly don't want to take out with you anyway."
Metro Bank makes heavy use of cloud-based services provided by Microsoft, including the Office 365 suite.
This means each branch of Metro Bank only needs a few systems, while the business as a whole only runs a couple of data centres.
While many financial organisations shun the cloud due to regulations over data storage, location and security, Metro Bank adopts a hybrid model to gain the benefits of the cloud without compromising the safety of its customers' financial data.
Rioch explained that the bank keeps sensitive customer data within an off-the-shelf banking system provided by Temenos, which sits within the bank's two private data centres.
"From a data centre cloud perspective we only sit in Holland or Dublin, so we're within the EU boundary," said Rioch.
He explained that while the rest of the bank's IT systems are cloud-based, current data regulations mean there is a need for customer transactional data to be stored in private data centres in specific locations.
"The aspect we would never be able to move into the cloud would be all of the transactional and financial history. Whilst you can hold a customer snapshot [in the cloud] we can't hold all of the customer financial history," he said.
Tools of the trade
The use of Microsoft's cloud-based services means Metro Bank has effectively outsourced much of its IT operations.
Rioch said the bank uses Microsoft Lync, soon to be switched over to Skype for Business, for its voice communication, which cuts out the need for the bank to have desk phones.
"We've managed to get rid of every desk phone in the building because of Lync," he said.
Metro Bank also makes use of Microsoft's Yammer social networking service for internal messaging, slashing email traffic in the process.
"We don't allow global emails; we're trying to use emails for email purposes, while we use Yammer to share knowledge, collaborate and communicate," said Rioch.
Metro Bank is one of several high-profile customers Microsoft can tout as using its cloud services, with Ford also revealing it is using Azure to host and update its in-car Sync systems.
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