IT Innovation

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CIO of the Year | Europe, Middle East, and Africa
2014 Oracle Excellence Awards

CaixaBank is unifying big data and counting on Oracle.

By David A. Kelly

March/April 2015

To answer business challenges and customer experience demands, Spain’s CaixaBank is investing in big data and Oracle solutions.

“In order to meet today’s business needs and better serve our customers and improve their experience, it is important to embrace big data to enable new analytic capabilities and manage more information,” says Jordi Fontanals, chief operations officer (and former CIO) of CaixaBank in Barcelona, Spain, and winner of the Oracle Excellence Award for CIO of the Year—Europe, Middle East, and Africa. “The use of Oracle products has grown within CaixaBank,” Fontanals says, “because Oracle products address our needs, especially in the database management and big data areas.”


CaixaBank is Spain’s leading banking and insurance financial services company, with more than 13 million customers and 5,600 branches. It’s the country’s largest retail bank, delivering innovative services that make it easy for customers to conduct financial transactions at any time and from anywhere.

Over the years, the bank has used Oracle Database to support core financial systems, Oracle Fusion Middleware to support internet banking, Oracle Applications to enable business processes, and Oracle engineered systems to provide robust and scalable platforms for its applications and data services.

CaixaBank is converging Oracle technologies and services to quickly deliver new solutions that manage more data and provide a better understanding of the bank’s customers.

“Our latest and biggest project, called the Data Pool, uses Oracle technologies to help reduce project development time frames as well as make it possible to manage data much faster than we could on our legacy mainframe,” Fontanals says. “That will enable us to efficiently analyze much more data while keeping it secure at the same time. The end result is that by using Oracle technologies we’ll be able to better know and serve our customers.”

Oracle is no longer a simple technology provider, but is a strategic partner with us. ”–Jordi Fontanals,
Chief Operations Officer, CaixaBank

CaixaBank’s Data Pool, based on Oracle software and Oracle engineered systems—including Oracle Exadata Database Machines and Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machines—creates a unified corporate data model for the bank and new analytical capabilities that will reduce costs and improve business agility and time to market. The bank’s existing data marts are also being consolidated into the Data Pool, which will maximize the business value of all kinds of data and provide a 360-degree view of customer activities. The solution will instantly integrate data across different channels—bank branches, ATMs, the internet, and more.

CaixaBank’s new IT architecture is composed of three main components: a data factory that offloads data processes from the mainframe using Oracle Data Integrator and Oracle GoldenGate, a data reservoir that’s a hybrid repository (combining Oracle Database, NoSQL, and Apache Hadoop) for data analysis, and an analytics component that can be leveraged by Oracle and other analytics tools.

As you’d expect from a financially oriented institution, the CaixaBank team keeps an eye on the payoff that the company is receiving from its Oracle investments.

“We found that Oracle engineered systems are the key to improved performance,” says Fontanals. “They deliver scalability while reducing the time it takes to make new solutions operational, so we can focus more on providing value to the business. Overall, Oracle plays a role in helping us improve efficiency and profitability, increase structural flexibility, manage talent, and communicate.”

CaixaBank’s continued adoption of new Oracle technologies has also changed the nature of the bank’s relationship with Oracle.

“Oracle is no longer a simple technology provider, but is a strategic partner with us,” says Fontanals. “We have the opportunity to interact and get advice directly from Oracle’s product management team. Maintaining a close relationship with Oracle helps us to prevent problems, speed solutions, and solve issues when they arise.”

Into the Future with CaixaBank

Whether your organization is a bank or a film studio, it’s critical to keep evaluating how new technologies might generate new opportunities. Here’s some insight into how Jordi Fontanals, chief operations officer (and former CIO) of CaixaBank, is evaluating new solutions and technologies for Spain’s leading banking and insurance financial services company:

  • The role of mobile computing. “Mobile computing is not only about providing ways for our customers to use their mobile devices to do financial transactions; it’s also about enabling our employees to have full access to our enterprise resources while they’re mobile, so they can be closer to our customers.”
  • The role of social networking. “Social is another channel to take care of, and it has become part of our business. Internally, we’ve successfully launched collaborative projects to boost our employee productivity and enhance our employees’ skill. But we’ve also provided social spaces to selected customer groups, such as seniors, teenagers, subject matter experts, private banking, and more.”
  • The role of the Internet of Things (IoT). “The IoT is already here, although it will continue to increase in the future. For us, the IoT is not just about magnetic cards, but also chips, RFID devices, contactless sensors, smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. We believe that eventually everything will get connected, and all of it has the potential for business applications and the opportunity for new financial services products.”
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