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Case Study SBV Services

Ascent Technology helps SBV Services cash in on Database High Availability

26 Jan 2012

Despite the financial services sector processing many transactions electronically today, cash continues to play a major role in business dealings. Furthermore, cash has to be delivered, processed and recycled and it needs to be in the right place at the right time. This is where SBV Services (SBV) comes into play, as it is the leading provider of innovative, secure and cost efficient solutions and services for the processing, moving and managing of cash assets and other items of high intrinsic value.

Of course, in order to maintain its position as the leader in this field, SBV has to be able to process and manage huge amounts of data relating to its business operations. Mike Shipton, Executive Head: Cash in Transit says that the company has recently experienced enormous growth in the amount of data that needs to be processed.

“In order for SBV to keep pace, the company requires a data management partner that can provide both expert management of its existing database environment and also assistance in growth planning for the future. With these needs in mind, SBV turned to Ascent Technology,” he says.

“Since we have a mixed database technology environment, we require a partner with heterogeneous database skills, as well as one that is able to assist in standardising our environment while at the same time ensuring continuity and availability.”

Heinrich Kaps, Systems Development Manager at SBV adds that high availability has become crucial for SBV’s effective operation. “To illustrate how difficult life has become for us, when SBV started in 1986 it was a simple matter to shut the database systems down for a weekend to affect any necessary maintenance – today that would be totally out of the question” he says.

Kaps says that since engaging with a reputable and consistent partner like Ascent, the company has been able to obtain high availability while at the same time improving the performance and scalability of its database environment.

“One of the key roles played by Ascent has been in assisting SBV in standardising its database environment; standardisation is vital, as the environment is nationally distributed. Furthermore, Ascent has also been advising the company in respect of disaster recovery.”

“Ascent’s skilled personnel and strong technical focus has enabled it to comfortably offer solutions to the growing volumes of data in our database environment. The exponential growth we are experiencing certainly requires a trusted expert advisor, and Ascent fits the bill perfectly,” states Kaps.

According to Ascent’s MD, Johan Lamberts, this rapid data growth meant that SBV’s technical support team required additional skills of their own. He adds that Ascent is well aware that there is no substitute for on-site skills.

“Ascent worked with SBV’s people, upskilling them where necessary and providing a level of mentorship that perfectly complemented their existing expertise. Our goal was to ensure that not only did we provide SBV with an optimal database environment, but also the skills close at hand to keep it that way,” he says.

Kaps is quick to point out that with an organisation of around 4 500 employees, reporting and business intelligence (BI) requirements are equally crucial to SBV. “With this in mind, Ascent is now also adding value to our organisation in the BI space, enabling us to obtain crucial decision making information more quickly and thus, to work smarter.”

Shipton concludes that it was important for SBV to find a partner like Ascent, with the credibility and skills to meet the company’s critical requirements.

“Not only does Ascent provide us with expert skills, the company has also been able to deliver economies of scale, as well as consistency, continuity and flexibility. There is certainly no doubt from our side that we are looking forward to building on the existing relationship we have with Ascent well into the future,” states Shipton.

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