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Rick Vanover, ‎Director of Technical Product Marketing, Veeam Software

Digital transformation is driving change in all forms of industry and sectors. Mobile banking is a prime example. What often goes unnoticed is how central the data centre is to this change.

One of the biggest facets around mobile banking is the Always-On expectation from customers. There is no such thing as banker’s hours in the connected world. And thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, mobile devices are seen as the primary delivery mechanism for this. In the UK, banking across mobile and tablet devices overtook in-branch or standard internet banking for the first time, according to the BBA, the leading trade association for the UK banking sector.

It wasn’t too long ago that banking was a browser-driven exercise, but this has changed irrevocably. Even though the mobile landscape makes for increased convenience, caution needs to be placed around aspects such as authorisation and authentication. This needs to happen not only on the customer side, but also on the infrastructure side whether banking is driven by the cloud or the data centre.

Banking customers expect, and rightly so, that banking has no downtime. They want to access their accounts and conduct transactions when and where it suits them. This expectation translates into the enterprise as well. Infrastructure teams are under pressure to ensure that there is an Always-On experience from the handset right the way through to the modern data centre.

This focus on ensuring that the right infrastructure is in place is significant. In addition, the pressure will not decrease any time soon as it is envisaged that the next five years will bring even more growth and heavier expectations around an Always-On experience.

The back-end processes have to change to accommodate the mobile banking phenomenon. With banking being (primarily) a mobile experience, traffic is driven largely by handsets and tablets. Not needing a browser for banking means people can now afford to access their banking from home, sitting in their cars waiting in traffic, and the like. This influx of traffic needs to be accommodated in the modern data centre or have it risk crashing.

This means that all the back-end processes now have a similar expectation of Always-On Availability.

The demand on the data centre to keep services available and support mobile apps will continue to increase. However, one of the benefits to be had is the incredible amount of business intelligence to come from these applications. For example, a bank can determine that customers only access the app at certain times to check their balances. Similarly, they can allocate more resources to their systems during month end to gear up for increases in traffic as people log on to pay their accounts.

Importantly, mobile banking is just one example of how the systems need to change for an Always-On Enterprise. Other industries will repeat the process in similar ways.

Some aspects of this will also increase – for example the demand on the data centre. This will lead to a spill-over in other sectors that will be able to identify best practices for availability and authentication.