Standard Chartered Bank

Standard Chartered Bank Accelerates Secure Internet Banking Applications by up to 100% Using Akamai and Grows Online Transactions by Approximately 20%

“Akamai gives us the agility to quickly enter markets such as China or Africa without incurring huge capital investment in local data centers.”

Aman Narain , Head of Remote Banking, Consumer Banking , Standard Chartered Bank

The Situation

With a banking heritage spanning more than 150 years, Standard Chartered Bank PLC (LSE: STAN; HKEx: STANCHART) is a leader in global banking, offering comprehensive wholesale, retail, private and Islamic banking services to corporations and individuals across the globe. While headquartered in London, Standard Chartered Bank operates in some of the world’s most dynamic markets, leading the way in Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. As a global company with a significant customer base in each continent, the firm’s mission is to be the world’s best international bank. Web sites localized for each market help Standard Chartered Bank promote its brand and demonstrate its commitment to customers globally.

The Challenge

While the bank was hosting 55 sites and 14 domains from many local data centers, it wanted to make a strategic shift to a centralized infrastructure to deliver superior banking services more cost effectively by leveraging economies of scale. At the same time, Standard Chartered sought to provide better Internet banking services than the local competition.

To do that, the bank needed to figure out a way to effectively deliver secure Internet banking applications worldwide from a single data center in Asia, without compromising performance, reliability, or customer experience.

The Goal

  • Enhance customer experience – In order to satisfy customers, Standard Chartered needed to deliver performance comparable to local banks in markets around the globe. 
  • Enhance stability of online banking – Standard Chartered needed to mitigate the risk that Internet network congestions, outages, and natural disasters – such as earthquakes and typhoons causing submarine cable cuts – would threaten the availability of online applications delivered from remote centralized infrastructure. 
  • Manage operational risk – The bank needed to ensure its Web delivery strategy met strict security management guidelines to protect customers’ financial information.

Why Akamai

Realizing Dramatic Performance Improvements

Aware that a competing global bank was already using Akamai’s services, Standard Chartered decided to conduct a benchmark of its Web site performance with and without Akamai. The analysis showed that centralized web hosting complemented by Akamai’s globally distributed platform provided significantly better performance than hosting sites regionally. With Akamai, web pages were delivered five times faster on average to cities around the globe.

“Akamai’s acceleration solution was a natural choice for us given both the performance and cost benefits,” says Aman Narain, Head of Remote Banking, Consumer Banking for Standard Chartered Bank. “Its capabilities and massive global computing platform have lived up to our demanding performance and availability requirements. We now host our corporate Web site content on Akamai’s platform for superior availability – and fast delivery – globally.”

Reducing the Cost of Doing Business

The bank previously struggled to plan and manage multiple web hosting facilities, requiring it to overprovision each regional data-center with excess capacity and redundancy. By leveraging Akamai’s platform to deliver its corporate Web site, Standard Chartered was able to significantly reduce its annual operating costs for hardware, bandwidth, maintenance, disaster recovery, and IT staff.

Accelerating Secure Online Banking Transactions

Impressed with the results, Standard Chartered turned to the acceleration of its secure, transactional banking applications. The bank’s Straight2Bank application – named the best corporate online banking application by Global Finance magazine – provides wholesale banking customers around the world with online cash management, trade finance, foreign exchange, and securities trading services through a single sign-on portal. For cost-effectiveness and ease of management, Straight2Bank was designed to be hosted centrally from Hong Kong. However customers around the world experienced performance that was significantly slower than that experienced by customers in Hong Kong. Rather than building regional data centers to deliver the application at great expense, Standard Chartered Bank evaluated Akamai’s Web Application Accelerator solution designed to accelerate secure online transactions. According to Naresh Vyas, Head of Technology Solutions Delivery for Standard Chartered Bank, “Akamai automatically chooses the optimal route between our data center and users based on real-time Internet conditions. The general public Internet uses the cheapest route, while Akamai’s private Internet routing is designed to use faster routes. This ensures the best online experience for our end-users.”

The solution reduced the time it took customers in Europe and the Americas to complete an SSL-protected, multi-step transaction from over 90 seconds to less than 45 seconds – approximately a 100% performance improvement. At the same time, customers in Asia enjoyed a 25% performance improvement on average. This performance improvement contributed to dramatic growth in the adoption of its Straight2Bank application across all regions, and an approximately 20% increase in online wholesale banking transaction volume.

Rolling Out Consumer Online Banking Worldwide

When the bank decided to roll out consumer online banking services to its customers worldwide, it decided again to use a centralized data- center approach and leverage Akamai. “To ensure strict protection of customer data, we undertook a rigorous evaluation of the security of Akamai’s platform, and found it met our stringent standards,” explains Vyas. Akamai reduced the time for customers in the UAE to complete a five-step secure banking transaction from 171 seconds to below 25 seconds, and from 70 seconds to approximately 20 seconds for customers in India, ensuring a successful rollout to these countries.

Forging a Partnership Focused on Success

Standard Chartered views Akamai as a trusted partner that is strategic to realizing its goal of being the best international bank. The bank now has the confidence to quickly enter new markets worldwide at lower cost. For example, with Akamai in place, it is rolling out consumer online banking to Africa and the Middle East, and preparing to deliver new systems to private banking and brokerage customers. With increased confidence and reduced time to market, Standard Charted has a distinct competitive advantage as it expands around the globe.

Standard Chartered views Akamai as a trusted partner that is strategic to realizing its goal of being the best international bank. The bank now has the confidence to quickly enter new markets worldwide at lower cost. For example, with Akamai in place, it is rolling out consumer online banking to Africa and the Middle East, and preparing to deliver new systems to private banking and brokerage customers. With increased confidence and reduced time to market, Standard Charted has a distinct competitive advantage as it expands around the globe.

About Standard Chartered Bank®

Standard Chartered PLC, listed on both London and Hong Kong stock exchanges, ranks among the top 25 companies in the FTSE-100 by market capitalisation. The London-head- quartered Group has operated for over 150 years in some of the world’s most dynamic markets, leading the way in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Standard Chartered aspires to be the best international bank for its customers across its markets. Leading by example, the Group is committed to building a sustainable business over the long term and is trusted worldwide for upholding high standards of corporate governance, social responsibility, environmental protection and employee diversity. For more information, please visit https://www.sc.com/en.