Metro Bank outsources entire IT infrastructure to niu Solutions
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Metro Bank is outsourcing its entire IT infrastructure to integrator niu Solutions, in a move that is unique to the UK market.
Craig Donaldson, CEO of Metro Bank, said: “We were looking to re-create the US service model [of banking]. We wanted a provider who could do everything, so our people can focus on the customers.”
Niu Solutions manages Metro Bank’s WAN and LANs. All IT operations are run from the datacentre, meaning all are virtualised.
“Terminals and security are the only services which operate in-store,” said Gary Woodward, chief executive of niu Solutions.
Donaldson added that other organisations attempted to string together multi-vendor solutions during the tendering process. “But their flaws were obvious to us,” he concluded.
The niu Solutions project is unique in the UK and further distinguishes itself by its commercial model. The bank pays only a cost price for all hardware up front, but adds an incremental cost per user as the bank grows; in effect a pay-as-you-go service.
“We wanted to share the money if it’s a success, but limit our risk in case of failure,” said Donaldson.
The project has not been without its problems.
“Application integration was the biggest challenge,” said Woodward. “No one had ever used our software as a start-up before, and we quickly went from integrating four to 24 applications.”
Woodward explained that clear communication and daily meetings were the solution.
“The system works well now,” he said.
Niu has been created from the acquisition and integration of four IT and telecoms companies, so although new, it has ongoing business across its constituent parts. However, Metro Bank is the first customer project to employ all four divisions.
Niu Solutions is the result of a merger which took place in 2008. The companies involved were Telinet, which offers on-site telephony; EVD, offering on-site IT; Passporte – off-site hosted IT specialists; and Ipitomi, providing off-site IP telephony.