Rabobank was founded as a cooperative bank by Dutch farmers and horticulturalists in the late 19th-century. They were not stockholders but members working together to find structural solutions for the challenges of their time. Since then, the bank has continued to create a “future-proof society that can overcome important social challenges.” Today, the multinational bank has headquarters in Rotterdam and London and over 7 million customers, and 43,000 employees in 38 countries. In the Netherlands, the bank offers private and commercial customers a wide variety of financial products.
Speeding Up the Process
Rabobank’s EDL (Enterprise Data Lake) division delivers the connections necessary to move vast and complex networks of data and services. The division has roughly three kinds of users: producers responsible for loading data into the EDL, customers who turn data into business value, and data labs for special cases. One of the biggest challenges of EDL is the time it takes to onboard consumers and producers. It’s a long, laborious process that can take weeks and often involves manual steps that leave room for human error and make it hard to monitor, especially because of the large number of private messages and emails.
Using Automation to Work More Effectively
Xebia data engineer Tim van Cann was instrumental in finding a solution to Rabobank’s EDS challenges. He proposed automating the process. After successfully pitching Xebia’s strategy to the international bank, and agreeing on a design, Xebia started implementation with a small team of experts. Once everything was up and running, Rabobank saw that the onboarding of new data sources went down from 6 months to one or two data sprints. The bank was happy with the results. More consumers can now use data from a wider variety of producers, which creates value for Rabobank and its customers.
Xebia registered data catalogs and set up Airflow accounts, storage layers, and Azure environments to allow producers/customers to onboard more efficiently. Because some of these steps were handled by Rabobank’s teams, Xebia designed and implemented APIs to automate certain components. Producers and consumers can now simply fill in a form. Fully monitored and logged, these forms can be traced if there are any errors. To give new and existing producers a head-start, Xebia also designed templates and an automated roll-out process. Because the templates do 80-90% of the development work, they significantly decrease the efforts needed by producers to input data and side-step the steep learning curve that was previously required for Azure and Apache Airflow.