There are many benefits to working at Anheuser-Busch—the world’s largest beer brewer—but one of the biggest benefits is becoming a member of the Anheuser- Busch Employees’ Credit Union (ABECU).
ABECU is a recognized leader in improving the financial capabilities of the members it serves. All it takes is an initial $5 deposit into a savings account, and members are members for life.
That doesn’t mean they’ll stay members for life. The rapid digitization of banking creates mounting pressure on the financial services industry to improve offerings and stay relevant. ABECU competes for customers who demand personalized, predictive and actionable banking services delivered at their convenience.
All financial institutions know digital transformation is necessary for their future success, but many are still building and executing plans. ABECU is way ahead of the pack.
According to Forrester’s 2018 State of Digital Banking Report, only 55 percent of banks are currently working on digital transformation, while another 26 percent plan to start soon. Despite digital transformation being one of the top banking trends for years, only 8 percent are finished, which means the vast majority of banks are still trying to navigate the execution of arguably the most important initiative of this decade.
There’s a reason they’re cautious. Digital transformation is complicated. Adopting an intelligent data management strategy is the first step.
“Intelligent data management begins with available data,” said David Gossett, Director of Technical Services at ABECU. “We deployed Veeam several years ago for availability, so we were well on our way.”
Next ABECU embarked on a project to move the corporate headquarters and data center to a new building. The goal was to create a first-class working environment for employees, provide for faster IT innovation and enhance the high service level that members have come to enjoy and expect.
“The challenge was migrating 130 virtual machines (40 TBs) to the new building with minimal downtime and data loss,” Gossett said. “Downtime and data loss can be devastating—preventing members from opening accounts, applying for loans, withdrawing money with their ATM cards, and paying for merchandise with their debit cards. They expect banking to be a seamless part of their lives, so downtime and data loss could have damaged our reputation and cost us members.”
Veeam Availability Suite supported ABECU through every step of the data center migration.
“We migrated on time and on budget—with zero downtime, zero data loss and zero impact on members,” Gossett said. “We couldn’t have done it without Veeam.”
There’s only one thing the IT team would have done differently.
“We would have used Veeam Availability Orchestrator,” Gossett said. “It would have made our migration even faster and easier.”
ABECU migrated its data center a month before the release of Veeam Availability Orchestrator, which complements any Veeam solution by automatically creating, documenting and testing DR plans so enterprises can avoid downtime and data loss, and comply with industry regulations. ABECU did its own DR testing.
“I can’t tell you how good it feels knowing I can tell senior management that our DR plan absolutely works,” Gossett said. “For most organizations, DR is theoretical. For us, it’s real because we lived it.”
ABECU is considering Veeam Availability Orchestrator for the future. In the meantime, the IT team is making good use of functionality in Veeam that wasn’t available in the legacy solution. SureBackup and SureReplica verify the recoverability of backups and replicas, which strengthens the DR strategy.
“Knowing your backups and replicas have completed successfully is a good thing, but knowing you can recover from them quickly is a great thing,” said Adam Cass, Systems Engineer at ABECU.
Mike Gorham, a fellow Systems Engineer at ABECU, said something else sets Veeam apart: technical support.
“Other companies put product first and support second, but not Veeam,” Gorham explained. “Veeam provides an excellent product and excellent support to go with it.”
Anheuser-Busch Employees’ Credit Union is a $1.75 billion asset, full-service financial institution offering a wide variety of banking products and convenience services to 130,000 members worldwide. It’s ranked as a Top 150 credit union in the United States and is a recognized leader in the development of interstate delivery of financial services. Founded in 1930 and based in St. Louis, Missouri, the Credit Union has 29 locations nationwide.
The digital revolution is making banking more personal. People expect a customized experience on par with the rest of the digital world, and they want banking to be a seamless part of their lives. Most financial institutions are still navigating the execution of their digital transformations, but many have surged ahead. The Credit Union is one of them.
Part of the Credit Union’s digital journey included migrating the primary data center to a new building to foster IT innovation for enhanced products and services. But first the IT team had to ensure the migration would be flawless, avoiding downtime and data loss that might impact member services.