“By developing a deep partnership with Onica and AWS, we are able to innovate faster, saving time and money, while avoiding costly mistakes.”
VP of Enterprise Technology Solutions
52 branches & 572,000+ members
Coast Capital Savings, based in Surrey, British Columbia is Canada’s largest credit union by membership, with 52 branches serving 572,000+ members. An Imagine Canada Caring Company and a Certified B Corporation, Coast Capital Savings has invested $5.6 million into local communities in 2017 and is focused on empowering and engaging youth.
Establishing a foundation for growth
In November 2018, Coast Capital Savings was approved by the financial regulators to become a federal credit union. To expand nationally, the executive team recognized that technology would play a key role in driving speed, agility, and flexibility in developing, expanding, and creating new member focused products and services. They wanted to leverage AWS to do this, but needed a partner to help get them there.
How leveraging the cloud brought agility, speed
& innovation to Coast Capital Savings
Securing the Right Foundation for Cloud Enablement on AWS
As Coast Capital Savings continues to expand nationally, the company recognized the need to improve the flexibility and agility of its existing technology platform. As a financial institution, it was clear that some of the company’s infrastructure would have to remain on-premises due to application constraints, meaning considerations would have to be made for supporting a hybrid cloud infrastructure.
Coast Capital Savings began by reviewing ‘the big three’ cloud providers: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. They felt AWS’ partnership, innovation, and consulting partner program really tipped the scale. “We saw AWS as a market leader, not only in terms of market share and capabilities, but also innovation,” said Jason Hikida, Director of Infrastructure & IT Operations at Coast Capital Savings. “We strongly believe that we need to be up-to-speed on the latest technology and saw investment and innovation coming out of AWS.”
Coast Capital Savings knew they would need to engage a partner to augment their team’s knowledge, build their cloud capabilities in the necessary timeframe, and avoid pitfalls. The company was looking for a partner relationship, instead of just a vendor relationship and wanted to work with someone who could share in their success, rather than just delivering their solution. After consulting with AWS, they chose Onica, an AWS Partner Network (APN) Premier Consulting Partner.
Creating a hybrid environment to promote “cloud first”
Aside from the need to keep portions of their infrastructure on-premises, another challenge the Coast Capital Savings team faced was educating the company on the cloud. The technology team was eager to embrace the cloud, but found the need to clear misconceptions around security, particularly when it came to data and compliance.
The Onica team worked closely with the Coast Capital Savings team to help clear these misconceptions and educate key stakeholders, including completing an extensive knowledge transfer and training of team members to promote cloud enablement. A Coast Capital Savings Cloud “SWAT” team was created with members from various disciplines and backgrounds including infrastructure, network, security, enterprise architecture and application development to work with the Onica team on the engagement.
In order to ensure that the team could establish a strong cloud foundation, while also meeting important and high priority deadlines, the project was implemented in phases to bring workloads to the cloud as needed.
The first thing tackled was bringing their Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) solution to the cloud. This required AWS tenancy coupled with a multi-VPC environment structure to meet Coast Capital Savings’ workload needs, along with an integrated user access control and network security setup, as well as infrastructure provisioning using AWS CloudFormation and Ansible scripts to set up base resources. The ESB solution served not only as an integrated platform used as a messaging layer between applications and other services in the infrastructure, but also served as a foundation point for continuing web projects, such as a five-minute digital membership opening.
Leveraging newfound agility in AWS
The remaining infrastructure components were successfully brought online to the point where Coast Capital Savings now operates under a cloud native mindset, with 90% of net new systems being cloud based. This has enabled the Coast Capital Savings team to work quickly without worrying about over buying, over provisioning, or a lack of capacity. Through automation, the company is now able to fire up new environments easily and keep capacity without having to call on vendors for equipment or worry about systems overloading.
The new-found IT platform agility has also allowed Coast Capital Savings to vastly improve time to market for new digital systems and services.
Coast Capital Savings has seen these innovation efforts as a means of providing digital services to customers that were difficult to offer under their old model. “Our move to the cloud enables us to offer more value and functionality to our members,” said Joe Wong, VP of Enterprise Technology Solutions at Coast Capital Savings. “The ability to make long-term technology investments, drive more aggressively in the marketplace, and partner with FinTech companies has really allowed us to bring more innovative services to our members faster and drive deeper member engagement.”
The move to a cloud-native DevOps model driven by automation and agility has not only allowed Coast Capital Savings to take full advantage of the cloud, but has also created an organizational change that drives stronger operational outcomes at a lower cost. “By developing a deep partnership with Onica and AWS, we are able to innovate faster, saving time and money, while avoiding costly mistakes,” said Wong.
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