Exclusive interview with Bernard Gavgani, Group Chief Information Officer of BNP Paribas

21 september 2020

BNP Paribas Joins as first Client in Europe to the Public Cloud of IBM.

IBM announces that BNP Paribas is joining IBM’s financial ecosystem. In addition, the company announces that it is launching a strategic partnership with Adobe and Red Hat to accelerate the digital transformation of banks and health organizations, among others.

At Belgium cloud we have noticed that 2020 will be the year that the Public Cloud is becoming mainstream for many smaller and bigger businesses, amongst them are Banking and insurance companies.  See also the article Banks are accelerating the migration to the Cloud.

We went on a virtual trip to France to have an exclusive interview with the Group Chief Information Officer of BNP Paribas, Bernard Gavgani and with Dominique Lacassagne, IBM France CTO for cloud at BNP Paribas.

Bernard Gavgani, Group Chief Information Officer of BNP Paribas

BELGIUM CLOUD: BNP Paribas Bank is going to the Public Cloud?

BERNARD GAVGANI:  “We call our approach a Dedicated Cloud, a combination of public and private cloud in a hybrid Sslution with IBM as supplier. Today we are running our IT Services for 33.000 people across 48 countries worldwide within a high security environment. We were investigating several cloud solutions to improve time to market”.

“Our challenge was how to develop our legacy systems and still have the benefit from going on the cloud. We found the solution by bringing the public IBM cloud to the BNP datacenters. Partly outsourced to IBM cloud for the operations & hosting of the BNP Paribas environment with the delivery of new cloud services or updates within 24 hours”.

DOMINIQUE LACASSAGNE:  “For BNP Paribas we have built a Public cloud region but what makes it special is that it’s privatized for BNP Paribas. So only BNP can have access to this cloud region, so it’s a dedicated environment separated from the other customers of IBM. We are running this Public cloud region from within the datacenters of BNP Paribas as part of their request to meet their security and compliant targets. With this setup it’s easier to explain to the Financial regulators how to become compliant”.

BELGIUM CLOUD: How about the connectivity? No connectivity, no cloud.

BERNARD GAVGANI: “We have grown very fast from 12.000 to more than 200.000 connections because our people who are forced to work from home due to Covid-19. We have set-up a shared connectivity with different telecom providers. Our main partner is Orange, with Cisco for the equipment to connect to our backbone directly”.

DOMINIQUE LACASSAGNE:  “Because BNP Paribas is running their Cloud region from within their own datacenters, they can make usage of local connectivity with low network delays which makes it easier to control the latency between the cloud services and the BNP Paribas offices”.

BELGIUM CLOUD: How about the risk of vendor lock-in choosing one provider?

BERNARD GAVGANI:  “We made the decision to look at a minimum of two or three providers first to find an overall solution. We have a transparent solution, based on open source such as Kubernetes and market-based technology such as VMware so we are able to switch to or add another cloud service provider”. 

Dominique Lacassagne, IBM France CTO for cloud at BNP Paribas.

DOMINIQUE LACASSAGNE: “BNP Paribas was comfortable with this key aspect of the usage of our Cloud solution for two main reasons: “

“First, our technology is based on open source (Red Hat and other software) so If they want to get rid of IBM for their cloud services, they can port their applications to another vendor more easily. In addition, for containers, by leveraging Red Hat OpenShift, the industry’s leading enterprise open source platform, IBM offers clients the flexibility to host, access and leverage data in the environment of their choice”.

“Secondly, BNP Paribas has control of who operates their privatized public cloud region which will also ease a transition should BNPP decide to not pursue with IBM Cloud”. 

BELGIUM CLOUD: How did you calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO)?

BERNARD GAVGANI: “Two key points. First, as a big financial institution you have to put cyber security in place before you can go on the cloud. Secondly, once this was put in place together with IBM, we looked at a financial platform as a service (PaaS). The idea was to provide the created platform as a PaaS solution for other financial companies. At BNP Paribas, we have already invested significantly in our datacenters and we could benefit from the cooperation with IBM to sell our datacenter infrastructure to host cloud workloads. BNP Paribas is committed to joining the IBM Cloud for Financial Services as a key client in Europe to support its first dedicated cloud in Europe to be GDPR compliant, acknowledging that a public cloud informed by IBM’s deep financial industry expertise and leading data-protection capabilities, meets our exacting standards”.

DOMINIQUE LACASSAGNE: “IBM has built a very special set up to make sure that financial institutes have value by reaching their security and compliance target. As an example, we built the framework of the controls needed and provide tools to automate the compliance reporting as much as possible”.

BELGIUM CLOUD: Did you create an eco-system together with Adobe and IBM for banking and healthcare?

BERNARD GAVGANI:  “Yes, we rely on their knowledge to provide our dedicated cloud solutions. BNP Paribas could plan to onboard additional banking partners to the ecosystem across Europe in the future. As we continue to expand our collaboration with IBM, we are driving innovation in the financial services industry and are able to partner with a growing ecosystem of technology providers, from small startups to leaders in the industry”.

DOMINIQUE LACASSAGNE: “We are working with the ISV’s to become compliant for the regulators because they are running on top of the framework we have built. The whole stack becomes compliant with everything on top of it what will be hosted by the ISV’s. This will create an eco-system for other companies to buy the solutions they need”.

“BNP Paribas and ISVs with workloads on the IBM Cloud for Financial Services, will be able to define their compliance profiles and manage controls, maintain an extensive data trail for audit, and, in continuous real time, monitor compliance across their organization”.

In the following video Bernard Gavgani elaborates on the cooperation of BNP Paribas and IBM when it comes to Cloud.

Peter Witsenburg

Information Security Implementation Lead Manager/Auditor & Data Protection Trainer in how to become GDPR compliant

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