2015 Annual Report

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IT Development

During the reporting year, Sberbank continued to implement its Technological Development Strategy through 2018. The Group is making an effort to simplify its IT landscape, reduce time-to-market for banking products, ensure system reliability and performance, and streamline project implementation. New important tasks were added to this list, including quality assurance for implemented software, cutting IT support costs, and developing business growth platforms to facilitate the Group’s strategic advantage in the banking market.

In 2015, key systems were running under an increasingly large load; the transaction load on Sberbank’s systems increased almost twofold from the previous year, which is the result of developments of functional systems and a growing customer base. The goals related to system reliability were met on account of the 99.99 Programme that creates reserves and focuses on the proactive handling of operational risks. Sberbank managed to create at least a half-year reserve for critical system performance by year end, which allowed it to withstand the traditional transaction peak load without material failures in late 2015.

DDoS attacks on the Group’s resources are still high. They are becoming more intelligent and powerful. All attacks failed in 2015 thanks to 99.99 Programme protection efforts; for comparison: in 2014, DDoS attacks disrupted customer service in full for the total duration of about one hour. The Bank operates its own centre to counteract Internet attacks.

For the purpose of coming up with a technological breakthrough to underline the Sberbank’s Development Strategy through 2018, the Technology unit was set up on the foundation of the IT and Operational Units in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Strategic programmes results

In terms of its strategic programmes, Sberbank has achieved the following results:

  • Completion of the Programme for IT system centralisation, Centralisation 2.0, that is unprecedented in its scope and was carried out by 32,000 employees over the span of four years. The programme consolidated 15 regional bank systems and centralised databases. One of world’s largest centralised IT platforms has now been established. This unified information space reduced timelines for launching new bank products for customers.
  • Under the strategic Reliability 99.99 Programme, the aggregate downtime for over 60% of systems was less than 52 minutes per year. The programme employs a backup mode to serve customers and maintains limited functionality in case of failures or maintenance work, which prevented over 275 hours of downtime for the year.
  • Sberbank launched a new strategic programme called Creating a Support Platform for Business Development (18+) that involves global experts in architecture. Its purpose is to ensure a strategic advantage in the bank services market by creating a platform to meet prospective business needs in 2018–2023, reduce time-to-market for the launch of new products, cut IT infrastructure costs, and improve back office performance.
  • The Centralisation 3.0 programme took 118 noncore systems and one Data Processing Centre out of operation and includes plans to deactivate 410 more noncore systems and replace IT hardware to cut budget costs. The purpose here is to complete landscape centralisation by enhancing IT asset performance.
  • The Bank successfully completed the transformation of the IT support unit’s structure under the Everest Project created vertically intergrated support management services during 2015. The effect of these efforts totalled RUB 650 million.
  • The Big Data programme created the Big Data Lab Cluster and formed a portfolio of 55 initiatives for data monetisation, with four of them carried out as business decision prototypes.

Information technology is present in all lines of our business.

Below are the most meaningful IT-related events:

  • The Bank established an up-to-date benchmark customer base for all retail business segments by connecting the regional banks to a unified online customer profile system.
  • Customers receive text notifications about the issue and delivery status of their cards. Customers can receive cards in all regions where Sberbank is present, regardless of the location of their account.
  • Sberbank uses a unified SAP HR system to manage its personnel. This is the world’s largest project for implementing SAP HR covering all Bank employees working in 82 constituents of the Russian Federation in 11 different time zones. The Bank decommissioned 89 historical systems.
  • Employees in all regions are now able to plan 100% of operating expenses within a unified centralised system and substantially accelerate processing speeds.
  • The Bank has unified payments of government and municipal charges to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Federal Bailiff Service and Rosreyestr in real time across the country. For the prompt identification of persons involved in terrorism and extremist activities and in order to counter illegal financial transactions in compliance with laws No. 115-FZ dated 7 August, 2001, On Antimoney Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism, No. 134-FZ dated 28 June, 2013, On Making Amendments to Separate Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in terms of Countering Illegal Financial Transactions, and No. 152-FZ dated 27 July, 2006, On Personal Data, interactions between AS STOP-LIST and with the Bank’s own AS have started occurring in real time. This will quickly identify any suspicious customers when they make transfers to deposit and card accounts and combat terrorism financing and criminal money laundering.
  • The OptiCash/OptiNet system has been implemented across all regions: historical data related to cash balances and turnover at cash desks and ATMs is used to automatically generate reasonable recommendations for the addition or release of cash.
  • An industry fraud-monitoring system has been developed to provide remote banking services to retail customers. This system mitigates the risk of customer cash theft and reputation losses for Sberbank as a result of any fraudulent transactions.
  • There is a solution in place to reduce the period for launching changes in deposit interest rates to accelerate Sberbank’s response to economic conditions.
  • The Bank upgraded cooperation with SWIFT to enable the exchange of SWIFT documents with other banks should any disruption occur.
  • Credit Factory, a new technology for issuing mortgages, was launched making it possible to modify any selected product at any stage before a loan is issued. Customers apply for mortgages to any ISU without the participation of a mortgage manager, and there is no need to obtain another Bank’s consent for any further change in the type of real estate or transaction. This will reduce the number of customers who decline transactions.
  • An automated process for the assessment of credit history has been integrated into Credit Conveyor and Credit Factory for the Microbusiness and Small Business segments.
  • Wi-Fi for customers and employees has been introduced in 6,000 Sberbank business units countrywide. Over 10,000 employees from these units use corporate tablets to serve customers and connect them to the Bank’s products and services.
  • A new version of the corporate portal has brought together all regional banks that previously operated in 15 different portals within a single shared space.
  • A data processing centre for Sberbank Europe AG has been created at Sberbank’s data centre (Mega DC). This is Russia’s first project for the IT support of European banks and has saved its subsidiary banks over RUB 3,3 million in IT support costs.
  • We introduced more efficient payment settlement services for international fund transfers in the subsidiary banks of Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan which process time by 40% reduce international transfer processing time by 40%.
  • Sberbank Online launched the sale of Wealth Products. The Group’s insurance products are available for sale through the Internet.
  • Sberbank’s corporate website won the Bank Standard of Excellence Web Award and the Best Adaptive and Mobile Website in the Golden Website 2015 contest. Sberbank1.ru is also the prize winner for Retail Bank or Insurance Company Website.

These developments have helped maintain a growth rate that not only complies with the Bank’s strategic goals related to technological breakthroughs but also gains international recognition. According to Global Finance, Sberbank Online won awards in the 2015 Best Consumer Digital Banks in two categories, the Best Information Security Initiatives and the Best Bill Payment and Presentment in Central and Eastern Europe. Sberbank’s IT system centralisation programme is also a winner of the IPMA International Project Excellence Award 2015 for the category of Mega-Sized Projects.