Aktia Bank Plc offers its customers personalised banking, asset management, insurance and estate agency services. The group of companies operates along the Finnish coast, in the Greater Helsinki area and in inland growth centres.

Aktia Group has approximately 350,000 customers who are served by an internet bank and 57 branch offices. Aktia has set itself the objective of being Finland's number one in financial advice in both of the country's languages: Finnish and Swedish.

Taking the reins

Aktia Bank Plc recently switched to using a single networking solution instead of the two shared networks that it had previously used.

IT Operations Manager Marcus Lemström says that the Group wanted to simplify its network infrastructure and streamline network management, taking the reins into its own hands. Aktia is in the process of changing its core banking system and this also influenced the decision.

"Previously, the IT solutions at the head offices in Helsinki and Turku ran on our own network and the branch offices used systems that operated on an external service provider's network. DNA Business transferred the branch offices onto our own network."

"DNA Business was already responsible for the head offices' connections and it was also the operator of choice for the external service provider's network. We have been working with DNA Business for years and we have been very satisfied."

Weekends together

Transferring almost sixty offices from one network to the other was a big operation. Additionally, it needed to be done during weekends  in order to avoid disrupting the bank's normal activities. Every one of the bank's branches had to be open as normal on Monday morning.

"The project was thoroughly planned. The first pilot branches were transferred from one network to another in August and September last year. This experience enabled us to

fine-tune things a little. Then we proceeded one step at a time, transferring a few branches from one network to the other every other weekend."

"DNA Business could have transferred all of the branches in one go. However, switching lines created so much work for our branches that we thought it best to take it one step at a time."

The entire project was finished by the end of March. According to Lemström, everything went as planned. The transfer operation did not necessitate a single roll-back, so there was no need to return to the old system.

"A key success factor was the close co-operation between the personnel. It was not a case of simply adding things to a work order; the experts at DNA Business and Aktia worked together to discuss how things could be done optimally. This way of working also minimises the chance of misunderstandings."