Two people wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera
Read Time, 4 min.

Financial services company Belfius will transfer all of its banking services to the cloud over the next seven years. This initiative is an important pillar in the company’s strategy to adapt to the changing needs of its customers – making its processes more cost-effective, safe and sustainable.

This is a pioneering step for Belfius. In the next seven years, all of the bank’s services will operate in the cloud and no longer on its own servers and hardware. Patrick Devis, CIO at Belfius, describes this decision as bold and innovative. “This is unprecedented for a financial institution of our size. Especially since the decision concerns a large part of our services. By following this path of growth, we are working on our core business.”

Belfius has chosen to lay the foundations for its transition to the cloud in collaboration with Microsoft. They made this decision for many reasons, chief amongst them was Microsoft’s vast experience developing cloud technology for the financial sector.

By 2021, Belfius’ personal and business loans service will be operating entirely from Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure. That will be followed by the gradual deployment of other services.

A secure platform

By switching their underlying IT systems to Azure, Belfius will soon be able to serve its customers even faster and more efficiently. The cloud also guarantees data security and confidentiality. All data in the cloud is de facto encrypted, access control is strictly regulated and the separation of data between companies using cloud services is guaranteed right from the get-go.

“We are adjusting our technology to 21st century standards to support our service offering,” says Bram Somers, Head of IT Strategy, Architecture & Innovation at Belfius. “Customer expectations are significantly different today than they have been in the past. For example, people want to be able to access, control and manage their financial data online via computers and mobile applications anywhere, anytime. In recent years, we have given our customers a banking application that is among the best and most exhaustive on the European market. We are now ready to take the next step.”

Less on-site infrastructure

Switching to Azure also improves the profitability of Belfius’ online processes and operations. Online memory storage and server operations are more cost effective, more flexible and more  adaptable when based in the cloud.

“Everyone who needed more capacity and storage had to invest in additional servers and storage solutions, each with their own maintenance costs,” explains Bram Somers. “With cloud technology, most of the hardware is located in data centres run by Microsoft.”

In fact, Microsoft offers this infrastructure via a subscription package – and therefore handles all the necessary expansion and maintenance.

Perfectly prepared for peaks

Scalability is also important. Every day, for example, more than 1.4 million Belfius customers consult their banking transactions via the bank’s app. And they do this mainly at peak times.

“On the morning of the first day of each month, many check their accounts to make sure their wages have been paid,” says Patrick Devis. “At night, it is much quieter of course. In other words, our systems must be able to cope with multiple loads or peaks in a smooth and stable manner. Operationally, these peaks determine the power and IT systems we need.”

So, by moving to Azure, Belfius will no longer need to maintain IT capacity that it uses only for short periods – saving both energy and costs.

An efficiency boost

“Cost is the fourth advantage of cloud technology. The cloud allows a better distribution of servers and hardware. During quieter periods at Belfius, Microsoft shares server capacity with other companies for their online applications. As a consequence, these machines run almost continuously,” explains Bram Somers.

A future-ready platform

In the future, Azure will allow dynamic and flexible implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning applications. “Some AI developers hire out their services as part of a software-as-a-service (SAAS) platform or model”, explains Bram Somers. “This means the cloud gives us access to new applications, with which we can set up experiments very easily and quickly, or which we can integrate directly into our processes.”

Plus, AI applications tend to require more complex and specialised computer processors which Belfius will now have access to via Azure. “This is a potentially interesting prospect”, says Patrick Devis.

“We are now firmly grounded in the 21st century and we are strengthening our services by moving entirely to the cloud.”

Bram Somers, Head of IT Strategy, Architecture & Innovation AT Belfius

Find out why financial service providers are migrating to the public cloud

With this eBook businesses will learn how to implement a compliant, secure and scalable cloud infrastructure.

Discover more related articles per industry:

Education

  • a group of people sitting at a table using a laptop computer

    4 reasons Citrix and Windows Virtual Desktop are better together for education

    Educational institutions all over the world experience a huge transformation. We are all familiar with the impact of COVID-19 on digitization in education, but there are more challenges. The digitization challenges faced by educational institutions   Because of the measures against the COVID-19 pandemic, like lockdowns and social distancing, the trend of online or blended […]

  • Girl studying

    Secondary school Kirchdorf: Reimagining hybrid learning with Surface and Teams

    “What we really wanted to achieve was simplicity for both our students and our educators. Through our digitalization efforts, we’ve seen that using technology to complement traditional teaching and learning is an investment for the future, not just for children, but for everyone.” Martin Schnetzer, teacher and IT admin at Mittelschule Kirchdorf, Austria, reflects on […]

Finance & Insurance

  • How to transform banking with Personetics’ revolutionary app

    How to transform banking with Personetics’ revolutionary app

    A new generation of customers now expects much more from banking. The customer journey, not the product, needs to be the focus for financial services. And the key to enhancing it is data.   Personetics is responding to this demand with its white label solution that allows any bank to start to maximize the benefits of […]

  • External shot of Fire Group offices building

    The Fire Group: how data-driven processes are reshaping sustainable credit management

    “We want to change the way credit management is perceived, because we play an important social role in this sector. Data and technology allow us to show the critical role that we play in a more direct way.” Sonia Di Nuzzo, Corporate Communication Leader at Fire is outlining the ambitious goal the company is setting for the industry it operates in with data. As Italy’s largest independent credit management solutions provider, Fire plays a pivotal role […]

Government

  • a close up of a mans face

    AI is driving value across businesses in Europe – so why is only 4% of the public sector seeing real impact?

    In April 2018, the European Commission adopted its first AI strategy, laying out a vision for how AI could transform the public sector. The strategy revealed how new machine-learning technologies and data tools can improve public services, reduce costs, provide staff with new skillsets and drive efficiencies. And yet, for the vast majority of public […]

  • Two people inside using Surface Go in office

    How technology is transforming the work of governments

    Governments have the ultimate responsibility to their citizens. People depend on the services they provide like no other institution. Whether in healthcare, education, business, roads, railways, water – it’s essential that government institutions are always at the forefront of social and digital trends. Cloud-powered technologies are playing a critical role in helping government agencies to […]

Healthcare

Manufacturing

Retail

Discover more related articles per dossier:

Customer Stories

  • A man sitting down and smiling at the camera

    dacadoo: opening the digital door to a healthier future and a better world

    “530 years ago, Leonardo Da Vinci attempted to define the quality of human life. Fast forward half a millennium and we are doing the same thing – just with different technology.” Much like Da Vinci, Peter Ohnemus has grand ambitions for the role he can play in shaping human history. The CEO of global health […]

Digital Transformation

  • a man and a woman sitting in a room

    Smarter data that works together

    In a world where so many new tools are aimed at the individual, those that emphasise the collective are increasingly valuable. Togetherness and unity are what define the most successful organisations, the businesses that are able to thrive and adapt in an ever-changing landscape of digital transformation and disruptive technology. By unifying relationships, processes and […]

Security & Privacy

Tips

  • Group of two female and one male office workers brainstorming in informal office setting. Both women are using laptops while the man is writing. Large screen shown in background.

    2019 Modern Selling Trends in 5 webinars

    The relationship between buyers and sellers grows more complicated each day. Every potential partnership requires finding the right buyer, fully understanding their business, tracking progress through the buying cycle, and engaging them with the right content—when and how they want it. These shifting dynamics underscore the artistry of modern selling. When the time is right, […]