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iDirect: Case Study - BT

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  • 1. Case studyIndustry sector:financial services Shaping new markets in the digital networked economy BT has transformed Visa’s CEMEA network infrastructure with a judicious celestial and terrestrial mix, providing unprecedented levels of speed and availability Executive summary Visa International is a service association BT’s solution comprises terrestrial and owned by and comprised of 21,000 satellite technologies across over 265“The new BT infrastructure member banks. Well over a billion Visa sites in 51 countries. It has radically cards have been issued worldwide on reduced network management costs andoffers the scalability and which some US$3 trillion is transacted complexity and delivered an impressive every year in over 150 countries. 40 per cent reduction in transactionflexibility required to meet the times, as well as guaranteeing In 2003, Visa’s CEMEA (Central and availability – currently running at anchallenge of Visa’s growth in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and impressive 99.98 per cent – and securityemerging markets, as well as Africa) business recognised that the through rigid service level agreements. legacy networks it relied on to process A spirit of partnership and shared riskproviding a platform for Visa card transactions on behalf of members and responsibility between the two were failing to keep pace with business companies underpins the solution.to develop and deliver growth and desired response times. In addition their management was incurringinnovative products in the large overheads. The company came toCEMEA region.” BT for a solution.Brian HuckettCFO & CIOVisa CEMEA
  • 2. Case study Shaping new markets in the digital networked economyMarketplace But the CEMEA marketplace also has transactions to be authorised and monies some unique geographical transferred from cardholder to merchant)Visa International is a service association characteristics. Remote areas provide had expanded organically. Individualowned by and comprised of 21,000 serious logistical and environmental solutions – the best at that time for eachmember banks for which it provides challenges for Visa in maintaining individual market – had beenpayment solutions, enabling them to network service levels. implemented country by country.issue cards and process merchants’ cardtransactions. Well over a billion Visa Business opportunity By 2002 Visa CEMEA found itself with ancards have been issued worldwide on ever-increasing number of contracts towhich some US$3 trillion is transacted In CEMEA, driving the cultural shift manage. As a result it was often difficultevery year in over 150 countries. toward cashless payment began with to identify which supplier owned a specific Visa Electron debit cards and today these connectivity issue. Visa’s solid butIn Visa’s CEMEA (Central and Eastern cards represent 85 per cent of all Visa inflexible network was introduced 27 yearsEurope, the Middle East and Africa) cards in the area. Many of these cards earlier and the costs of running it wereregion most economies are based on have been issued as ‘salary cards’ where increasing steadily.cash, but this is changing as the social an employer works with a bank to issueand economic benefits of cashless cards to all its employees enabling it to Visa recognised that a switch to apayment become more widely switch from paying salaries in cash to consolidated network, combined withunderstood and as consumers and electronic payment. rationalising its supplier contracts,retailers increasingly appreciate the was the best solution.safety and convenience of payment Brian Huckett, CFO & CIO for Visacards. Visa products help bring people in CEMEA, says: “Over the last ten years Visa began negotiations with 250CEMEA into the banking system, so Visa’s member banks have begun to different suppliers with a view toincreasing available funds – the lifeblood offer cashless payment facilities targeted procuring a new network for the CEMEAof a growing economy. Cashless and designed for ever-widening region. From initial responses from 200payment methods provide a clear audit segments of society. We’ve also brought service providers Visa came down to atrail and broaden economic electronic payment to big businesses and short list of three, including BT. Theseparticipation, which brings tax revenue government – including purchasing cards three potential networked IT servicesand overall financial benefit to the and other facilities fit for purpose in partners were benchmarked against acountries of this vast and diverse region. each market.” comprehensive statement of business- driven needs containing desired service But to offer these types of service to the level agreements (SLAs), performance widest possible audience in CEMEA penalties and latency requirements. required the right infrastructure. With Visa’s rapid business growth – there were three million cards when Visa CEMEA was BT solution formed in 1995 and there are over 60 Visa chose BT because both parties million today – the network that recognise the value in partnership, and connected the banks to VisaNet (Visa’s put into action steps to ensure that a processing system that enables true and open relationship was formed.“As a direct result of the BT The network would need to be highly available and fully resilient, and Visa wasimplementation, Visa CEMEA confident that BT acting as prime supplier would guarantee it thosehas measured a 40 per cent attributes. Visa was also confident that BT would support the development ofimprovement in response new products and share its own besttimes for card processing, practice local and technical knowledge.providing a better experience Raj Haider, Head of VisaNet Service Management, says: “We created afor members and their strategic partnership with a clear direction. The concept of ‘in-sourcing’cardholders across 25 per cent was agreed between the two parties,of the world’s land mass.” with BT people working inside the Visa organisation. This has helped BT gain aRaj Haider deep understanding of the business andHead of VisaNet Service Management made for an efficient partnership.”Visa CEMEA A five-year $66 million contract was offered to BT encompassing a 265-site, 51-country migration path. The network architecture developed by BT is highly complex, with 27 varieties of access technology used within the overall
  • 3. network topology. Risk was sharedequitably between the two parties, with Why BT?the service level agreement for VisaNet • BT’s global reach meant that it was able to provide and support securesecured effectively between BT and and highly available connectivity in some of the most underdevelopedVisa’s members. Executive sponsorship parts of the worldin both companies ensured governance • BT was able to offer one accountable point of management for the wholeand maintained momentum. CEMEA region, while peer-to-peer commitment demonstrated good governance and commitment to the relationship at executive level“The partnership model is highly valued,bringing shared risk and responsibility as • The BT team were flexible in their approach, and BT met Visa’s cost,well as the assurance that if things ever technology and commercial needs together with a continuous focusgo wrong there is the will to put it right on improving service to the Visa membershipimmediately. This spirit of collaborationextends to the development of new • Visa valued the longevity of the relationship with BT.solutions and services looking forward,” BT had already demonstrated excellence in technologyadds Raj Haider. implementation through its networked IT services to support Visa across EuropeNinety per cent of all 265 terrestrial andsatellite sites were live by July 2004 andthe last site was migrated in February2005. During the implementation, BT several protocols and standards but it improved network visibility, managementjoined Visa and local members in also needed to be scaleable, allowing and control capabilities. The newnegotiating with each government, as Visa to introduce new applications and architecture is also meeting Visa’swell as participating in joint marketing to services. Security also had to be stringent security requirements whichdrive new Visa member take up. There embedded into its DNA, thus ensuring are of fundamental importance to thewere numerous challenges in delivering the safe handling of confidential network. In fact, BT is giving Visa thethe project on time: from obtaining transaction data. The BT VSAT solution same commitment that Visa gives to itspower supplies to shipping the was created to be inherently secure – own customers – its member banks.equipment, as well as cultural and the data runs on virtual private circuitspolitical obstacles. but is also sent at randomly selected “The new BT infrastructure offers the frequencies making it almost impossible scalability and flexibility required to meet“Many challenges were unique to the to intercept. the challenge of Visa’s growth inareas and countries in which the projects emerging markets, as well as providing awere being carried out,” says Raj Haider.“BT had to ensure its solutions worked Results platform for Visa to develop and deliver innovative products in the CEMEAfrom the sands of the Sahara Desert to The new solution comfortably exceeds region. BT has enabled us to provide athe tundra of Siberia.” Visa’s promise to its member banks of much better service to our members 99.5 per cent availability. Average while reducing costs and simplifyingThe terrestrial network is built upon a transaction times have dropped by over supplier and network management,”combination of BT’s International Frame half a second. Visa is also benefiting says Brian Huckett.Relay network and International Private from the reduced headache of a singleLeased Circuits (IPLCs), but in areas service provider with a managed The partnership with BT provideswhere terrestrial networks were hard to services contract. And critically, Visa is significantly higher SLA targets thandeploy, Visa decided upon a Very Small paying less in network management were in place for the patchwork ofAperture (VSAT) satellite communications costs than before. previous suppliers, and BT is under strictsystem provided by BT’s Media and contracts which enforce penalties forBroadcast team. The challenge for BT Raj Haider scopes the hard business missed SLAs. All of the BT ground staffwas to provide high and consistent levels benefits: “It is imperative that the new at remote locations act continually toof service in countries such as Azerbaijan, network is totally dependable. We have support BT’s commitment to Visa’sCameroon, Estonia, Ivory Coast, recorded 99.98 per cent availability in service level agreements. Even inMauritius and Palestine where ordinary our first few months of using the new isolated areas of Africa, BT offers aterrestrial solutions were not possible. network, which has surpassed our remarkable four-hour break fix support. expectations. As a direct result of theRaj Haider comments: “The satellite BT implementation, Visa CEMEA has Brian Huckett concludes: “Mostsolution is an integral part of the new measured a 40 per cent improvement in importantly, the BT network gives thenetwork, provided by BT to 63 sites in response times for card processing, cardholder a much better experience in28 countries utilising on-site satellite providing a better experience for all 51 countries where VisaNet operatesantennas. It is based on the innovative members and their cardholders across – elevating the individual’s experience ofiDirect solution, a two-way 25 per cent of the world’s land mass.” Visa’s card payment services. Membercommunications platform designed to banks are happier with the day-to-dayoptimise IP traffic delivery over satellite.” Visa is also benefiting from double the experience of doing business with Visa.” available bandwidth capacity togetherThe solution also needed to be future with backup technologies for all Visaproofed. Not only had it to support members. The VisaNet team has vastly
  • 4. Case study Shaping new markets in the digital networked economy Technology blueprint VisaNet connects all the banks that issue The BT satellite solution is an integral Visa cards, enabling transactions to be part of the new network provided by BT authorised within seconds, and cleared and connecting to VisaNet. In a star and settled overnight. It comprises 25 topology, VSAT terminals connect back mainframe computers and more than to key hubs that transmit data to BT’s 230 mid-range systems, running some earth station in Goonhilly, Cornwall. 300 applications. Processing up to 5,000 Failsafe redundancy is provided through authorisation transactions per second mirrored data transmission to a second and settling as much as US$5 billion and BT earth station in Herefordshire, as well 100 million transactions in a single day, as through terrestrial backups including it is the world’s leading financial ISDN and PSTN via BT sites in and transaction processing system. VisaNet around South East England. has only experienced five minutes of downtime in the last 25 years. The VSAT solution is based on the innovative iDirect platform, a two-way Primary access is provided by BT’s communications platform that has been International Frame Relay network where designed to optimise IP traffic delivery it is available and BT partner Frame Relay over satellite. At the remote member services or IPLCs where it is not. Where locations an iDirect NetModem II is the terrestrial network is insufficiently employed with a 5-10 Watt BUC and well developed or considered unreliable, 2.4 – 3.8 M antennas. Dedicated Visa a state-of-the-art BT IP-based satellite satellite hub stations provide far more solution has been deployed. robust and less interference-prone ‘C’ band satellite technology instead of ‘KU’ band. Visa has rented its own satellite space segment from BT Media and Broadcast which provides excellent coverage across the CEMEA region. Backup (secondary) access is provided through ISDN, PSTN or in some locations where PSTN is considered unreliable, through the INMARSAT 4Main BT products Regional Broadband Area Network (R-BGAN) service.& services• BT International Frame Relay network• International Private Leased Circuits• BT VSAT satellite communications system with iDirect two-way communications platform Offices worldwide The telecommunications services described in this publication are subject to availability and may be modified from time to time. Services and equipment are provided subject to British Telecommunications plc’s respective standard conditions of contract. Nothing in this publication forms any sort of any contract. © British Telecommunications plc 2005 Registered Office: 81 Newgate Street, London EC1A 7AJ. Registered in England and Wales no. 1800000. Designed by Ecoutez Limited. PHME 000000000