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Customer Story

Improves Client Experience with Industry Leading Innovation Using Cloud

  • Challenge

    The legacy systems and operations in multiple countries made it difficult realize the speed and agility advantage benefits of cloud.

  • Objective

    Lead the Central/Eastern Europe market as the most recommended financial services group by leveraging AWS cloud for innovation, agility, and lower costs.

  • Solution

    App Modernization standardized and automated operations utilizing Terraform Grid, infrastructure as code and CICD pipelines while accommodating each bank’s requirements.

  • Outcomes

    Streamlined operations speeds time-to-market and lowers costs in introducing the client centric services needed to elevate the client experience.


Operating in 12 countries and serving more than 18,6 million clients, Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) aims to be the most recommended financial services group among consumers in Central and Eastern Europe by 2025. But their potential in size and multi-country market presence created a level of complexity that made it difficult to act quickly in the fast-changing banking sector. But achieving this objective would place them in a market leadership position. Making it more important than ever.

David Zeller, Chief Technology Officer at RBI explains: “Many new banks and fintech’s are entering the market in our region, especially in the retail banking space. Even though we have a strong reputation, consumers are quick to look elsewhere if we don’t deliver a first-class experience every time. To build lasting success, we are always looking to innovate and offer more value to clients.”

To develop and run new banking services, RBI previously relied on an on-premises infrastructure housed at 20+ data centers to accommodate the various operational legacy and practices across seven different countries. Over time, though, the bank realized that this traditional IT delivery model was restricting its agility and speed-to-market. For example, deploying server or storage resources to support new workloads typically involved timely and error-prone procedures between product development and infrastructure teams.

To avoid falling behind more nimble competitors, RBI planned a more agile technology strategy, founded upon a multi-cloud model. The advantage of this new cloud approach was the speed and agility that came from automating and standardizing applications utilizing CICD pipelines, Terrafrom Grids and infrastructure as code. Within three years, the bank aimed to move 50 percent of its application infrastructure onto Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure cloud environments. “Moving to cloud” is a change in approach, not a change in location.  This new approach allowed RBI to restructure internal processes, placing more control in the hands of developers to access the resources they needed to move fast and innovate. In other words, to accelerate RBIs business goals.

Daniel Bachan, Technical Lead, Cloud Migration Acceleration Program, RBI, adds: “Another important driver was growing competition for talent. We are now competing against fintechs and other organizations that offer the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art cloud technologies. To ensure we attract the best young talent, we wanted to create a more dynamic and exciting working environment.”

Moving the operations of 12 network banks to the cloud at the same time represented an ambitious plan, as David Zeller notes: “We wanted to be bold and take a substantial leap forward. If we do not migrate a significant number of applications to the cloud, we feel we would not achieve the full benefits of the cloud. But to ensure a successful migration while maintaining business-as-usual for our clients, we needed the support and knowhow of an expert partner.”


To identify the right partner to support the cloud modernization journey, RBI defined project requirements and issued a formal tender. After assessing the experience, expertise, and capabilities of various providers, RBI selected Hitachi Digital Services to help plan, manage, and execute cloud migration.

David Zeller explains: “Hitachi Digital Services hit all our essential selection criteria: they partner with major cloud providers and are experts on large-scale cloud migrations. Their strong governance and compliance framework was important to us as a highly regulated bank. Finally, their global footprint was key, with resources available to support all our locations.”

Initially, RBI worked with Hitachi Digital Services to gather information on the current application landscape, including cloud readiness and dependencies. Then, Hitachi teams helped the bank to develop a target architecture and technical guidelines and migration plans, incorporating best practices. Once ready, Hitachi supported the migration process in each of the bank’s 12 network banks, before helping to configure ongoing management, monitoring and reporting processes for the new AWS and Microsoft Azure environments.

Oleksandr Bilash, Delivery and Transformation Manager at RBI, comments: “Hitachi Digital Services delivered excellent support throughout the project. Whenever we faced a complex issue during a migration, Hitachi quickly provided specialists and resources to ensure things ran smoothly.”

Wherever possible, RBI took the opportunity to modernize and refactor applications, rather than simply following a standard lift-and-shift migration strategy. During the initial assessment phase, the bank worked closely with Hitachi Digital Services to identify application workloads that were well-suited for rearchitecting using cloud-native functionality to optimize performance, scalability, and flexibility, and end-user experiences.

Daniel Bachan adds: “The ability to rearchitect many applications has been one of the highlights of the project. We wanted to take advantage of everything that the cloud offers to enhance our critical applications—and Hitachi Digital Services helped us to achieve this.”

During the migration, RBI defined and implemented baseline security settings for all applications, while giving individual product and delivery teams the flexibility to enforce more robust protection where required to mitigate risk. “Cloud has enabled us to take a big step forward in terms of governance and risk management, and we are able to demonstrate to regulators our compliance status,” notes David Zeller.

In addition, Hitachi Digital Services helped to train and upskill internal teams within RBI on how to use cloud services, as Daniel Bachan explains: “Training forms one of the key pillars of our agile transformation. So far, we have trained hundreds of employees, which will help us to maximize the value that we generate from the cloud in the long term. It’s not just specialist teams either; we are educating people across the bank.”



Months to Develop New Mobile App

Cloud enables RBI to innovate and reduce time-to-market to new client services.


Cost Reductions

End-of-day risk analysis tasks now run more cost-efficiently and 3x faster.

“Thanks to the skills and expertise of Hitachi Digital Services, we have built a more agile technology model that is helping us to deliver stronger client experiences and become more competitive in the financial services space.”

- David Zeller, Chief Technology Officer , Raiffeisen Bank International


The cloud move has enabled RBI to innovate fast and launch new client services, especially in the retail banking space. During the pandemic, Raiffeisen Bank Albania created a mobile application that enables clients to pay for groceries without having to stand in line for a cashier. The bank completed development, including integration with the systems of a local retailer, and launched the application in just two months.

With Hitachi Digital Services, RBI is making strong progress on the cloud transformation journey, with more than 50 percent of all technology assets now moved onto AWS and Microsoft Azure. The bank’s development teams can now access cloud resources in as little as minutes rather than having to wait weeks for operations teams to provision on-premises infrastructure.

David Zeller confirms: “We have successfully implemented more agile ways of working, giving more control to our developers and utilizing more automation in our testing and delivery processes. As a result, we are releasing new software updates more frequently to solve security issues or enhance our services. And we have reduced our time-to-market for new products and client experiences.”

Furthermore, RBI has unlocked major performance and efficiency gains with cloud. The bank can now run end-of-day risk analysis jobs, for instance, much faster. To handle these demanding workloads, the bank previously maintained several on-premises servers, which were underutilized for much of the day. Now, RBI can simply provision cloud resources when required, cutting costs by 60 percent and completing tasks three times faster.

RBI has also gained greater transparency into its infrastructure costs. Working with Hitachi Digital Services, the bank established clearly defined chargeback processes, with costs assigned to the specific business unit, department, product, and application that consumes the cloud services.

Daniel Bachan continues: “Granular insights into costs is appreciated at every level—from top management to product teams. Clarity over spending also led our business and IT managers to reassess the value of individual services, and to cut out things not worth the expense. Naturally, this enables cost savings in many areas.”

Ultimately, RBI believes the financial impact of the cloud migration is best assessed by looking at the bigger picture, as David Zeller explains: “Analyzing before-and-after costs for individual use cases becomes very complex: sometimes we unlock big savings, at other times the impact is more neutral. That’s why we prefer to look at the costs of migrating and running the entire application portfolio for each location. Wherever we have been able to scale down our on-premises operations, we are seeing significantly lower costs.”

The cloud migration is also helping RBI achieve its environmental sustainability objectives. The bank benefits from full transparency into the carbon emissions of workloads running on the cloud, which will simplify reporting. And many of the bank’s services now run in AWS data centers powered entirely by renewable energy sources.

“Over the next 12 months, we will collect more data on emissions from our remaining on-premises infrastructure and our cloud environment to enable a detailed comparison,” adds David Zeller. “We are confident that the cloud migration will help us to reduce our impact on the environment.”

Finally, the success of the cloud modernization program means that RBI now has access to advanced, leading-edge technologies, which will help to attract the best young digital talent now and in future.

David Zeller concludes: “We didn’t simply hand everything over to Hitachi Digital Services and expect them to perform miracles; instead, we worked in a very collaborative way, which yielded excellent results. Thanks to the skills and expertise of Hitachi Digital Services, we have built a more agile technology model that is helping us to deliver stronger client experiences and become more competitive in the financial services space.”


“Hitachi Digital Services delivered excellent support throughout the project. Whenever we faced a complex issue during a migration, Hitachi quickly provided specialists and resources to ensure things ran smoothly.”

- Oleksandr Bilash, Delivery and Transformation Manager , Raiffeisen Bank International


Raiffeisen Bank International

A leading corporate and investment bank, Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) regards Austria and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as its home markets. 12 markets of the region are covered by network banks including Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Ukraine. The bank services around 18.6 million retail and private banking customers through 1,500 outlets.


Partner: Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud services, offering over 200 fully featured services from data centers globally. Millions of customers – including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises and leading government agencies – are using AWS to lower costs, become more agile and innovate faster. AWS has the most extensive global cloud infrastructure. The AWS Region and Availability Zone model has been recognized by Gartner as the recommended approach for running enterprise applications that require high availability.


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