More responsive IT: Crédit Agricole under pressure between Mainframe and Cloud

Crédit Agricole Group is facing major challenges during a period of increasing competition from new banks, Fintech and Insuretech. The banking and insurance group is concerned about the ability of its IT systems to meet its requirements for agility and innovation.

Significantly reduce the Mainframe footprint in 5 years

In particular, what will be the future of legacy IT at Crédit Agricole Mainframe? In the banking group’s roadmap, the goal is to significantly reduce the footprint of this Mainframe over the next 5 years. At the same time, the bank indicates that it will modernize this system to make it efficient and agile. In view of the latest attempts, the game seems far from winning.

The bank is leading initiatives to significantly reduce Mainframe usage

The Mainframe has been specifically presented as a key asset for a bank by the Crédit Agricole Group Infrastructure Platform (CA GIP), the subsidiary of Crédit Agricole that manages the proper functioning of IT. At the same time, the bank is taking initiatives to greatly reduce the use of the Mainframe, both due to its cost and lack of suitability for the digital world.

These initiatives come from the Regional Banks of Crédit Agricole and even the CA GIP. Expensive tests – worth several million euros – have been tried recently without success to reduce the importance of the Mainframe or adapt it to digital. At this technological crossroads, Crédit Agricole was still able to reduce its annual Mainframe rent from 120 million euros to 90 million euros after negotiations with IBM.

Cost reduction initiatives

The bank is always trying to reduce its IT costs, even if some measures seem to have little effect. The bank, for example, is attracted by the targeted outsourcing of the operation of certain functions such as smooth operation of Mainframe, Digital Workplace, Open, Network and Internet based in India, Singapore or Czech Republic. This type of outsourcing targets 10 million euros in savings per year.

CA GIP entity is weighing 1 billion euros in 2019 to ensure the smooth running of 80% of Crédit Agricole’s IT

This is just a decrease in the bucket compared to CA GIP’s budget of 1 billion euros in 2019. This entity employs 1,600 employees and 2,400 professionals in the service company. It is only part of the 8,000 IT specialists of the Crédit Agricole group. CA GIP is spread across 17 sites and operates 80% of the bank’s IT platforms. The entity manages the smooth operation of IT for the Regional Banks of Crédit Agricole, LCL, insurance, payments or investment subsidiaries, the digital bank BforBank, etc.

So far, Mainframe configuration has been announced as being carried out in an attempt to meet the immediate needs of end customers when opening or modifying a banking product. ” We can completely renovate the Mainframe and renovate some specific operations to meet digitalization expectations we say on the bank side, despite recent difficulties in setting up a Big Data gateway from Cloudera to the Mainframe.

Integrate the Mainframe into new IT applications

CA GIP announced that it is working on a Mainframe configuration. ” The goal is to combine the highly resilient, homogeneous, very stable platform, which Crédit Agricole has well mastered for a long time, with innovative products [NDLR : les nouvelles solutions informatiques disponibles sur le marché] to manage mobile applications and digital applications ”We describe on the side of Crédit Agricole. ” The Mainframe is the heart of the systems for Crédit Agricole “We will underline the bank. ” This platform ultimately contains most of our data and the data of our customers, it is very important. Very few are also attacked in terms of cyber security »Do we want to remember on the side of IT teams.

Teams need to gain agility and accelerate releases by embracing the cloud and DevOps

At the same time, the CA GIP should adopt new IT standards. Teams need to gain agility and accelerate IT program releases by embracing Cloud and DevOps, while reducing costs. In addition to the digital adaptation of the IBM Mainframe under Z/OS, CA GIP is therefore working on the emergence of a data platform called Native Data Cloud, which uses a “security as code” approach and hybridizes its private Cloud with the Cloud audience of major US service providers such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft as well as OVH.

Thus, the bank seeks to benefit from technological innovation from American suppliers while maintaining its security. ” We have a private approach to the cloud we insisted on the bank. The goal is to allow Crédit Agricole to use innovative products, developed for both public Cloud and private Cloud platforms. ” For example, we use technologies such as Kubernetes, GitLab, Kafka, MongoDB or Couchbase »Lists the bank.

Accelerate the transformation of banking group entities

In particular, the Native Data Cloud platform is used for developing new applications. ” Ultimately, this should make it possible to accelerate change [NDLR : des différentes entités du groupe bancaire] by being able to deliver more often and faster we are present at the bank. ” We should see the Native Data Cloud platform as an integration of very innovative products developed by many suppliers that creates value for our entities “.

Crédit Agricole has adopted security as a code to enforce compliance rules

Crédit Agricole’s private cloud has been hybridized with the major cloud providers in the market. Ultimately, it allows you to take advantage of all the innovations that these Cloud providers have to offer. To gain speed and regulatory compliance, the bank also chooses a strategy security as a code “.” To accelerate the digital transformation of the group, it is necessary to change the security rules by coding them we explain to the bank.

The group must follow a number of procedures that must be explained and reviewed regularly. ” Over the years, we have often verified these rules from procedural documents. They must be regularly audited to ensure that all assets we manage comply with these rules. we remind the bank. The advantage of “security as code” is that instead of examining these policies and procedures as posteriori, it is possible to examine them a priori.

Crédit Agricole bets on ‘security as code’

When we deliver developments in a test environment, we check simultaneously that all of these rules are respected. ‘Security as code’ is coding to defined rules. All written procedures are modified in code we are welcome to the bank. Every moment, the bank is living in an environment that is more and more open, but that means more and more being attacked. ” The Crédit Agricole group invests heavily in cyber security to have completely secure environments, products, and means of being. “We underlined the side of Crédit Agricole. In general, the bank wants to bring its management of IT risks to the state of the art.

There may be a difference between what we think when coding new applications, and what is actually happening.

Every effort is being made to allow for more frequent delivery of new features and feature enhancements, ” almost in real time because all rules are reviewed simultaneously. ” Checking the terms contained in the procedures takes time. Because there are also exchanges, and if we review these rules at regular intervals, we don’t review them every time. There may be a difference between what we think when coding new applications, and what is actually happening directed the bank.

Code delivery regardless of platform should be automated to be faster. This is the leitmotif of computing. ” It is an automation of the sum of what allows making an application to run “, We underlined in Crédit Agricole. Ultimately, the development of the Data component is crucial to the Native Data Cloud platform, as the bank wants to respond to challenges around artificial intelligence and Machine Learning. As for the development of the public Cloud, and hybridization towards the public Cloud, it is also a big challenge for the group. Challenges we see in Societe Generale.

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