Interac, like so many other financial institutions, had legacy systems and a core hardware platform that was about to run out of support. However, as a global payments leader handling billions of dollars in transactions per year, they required more than just a system upgrade. Interac needed a partner who could help them evolve their next generation platform through an alignment of cloud capabilities. With the trust that comes from a successful 15-year relationship, they were confident CGI would help make that transformation happen.

Finding opportunities in emerging technology

CGI’s first step in the project was to evaluate Interac’s existing platform. Our assessment was that the legacy technology was causing increasing problems, and there was a lot of inconsistency across different environments. By identifying these gaps, as well as areas for improvement, in the environment’s infrastructure and applications, we felt there was a significant opportunity to take a cloud-centered approach that would support application modernization at speed.

Interac had already identified that a public cloud solution would not be suitable, so CGI evaluated available private cloud services. We were looking for a solution that would allow us to use and leverage standard, cloud-agnostic, automation tools, and settled on Microsoft Azure Stack Hub to fully automate the client’s environment provisioning and run tasks.

Part of our work was illustrating the benefits of creating two new delivery models. One within the account team now provides proactive support and real-time moderation. The other is dedicated solely to customers, providing key resources from people to tools to infrastructure. Both were designed to drive operational excellence and improve productivity and resiliency, and both have proven their success.

By implementing Microsoft’s Azure Stack Hub along with Hashicorp’s Terraform, Interac has now paved the way for public cloud adoption and scale. Their funds transfer system has been completely re-platformed, providing the ability to implement, test and run new features to solve customer issues more quickly. Overall, CGI has delivered a modern, secure and automated platform.

Beyond simply evaluating Interac’s platform, we integrated their existing business needs, application stance, roadmap and infrastructure challenges to help transform how the organization operates and scales. In our analysis, we identified a large backlog of gaps and opportunities, which were prioritized and addressed in this engagement. And we continue to partner with Interac to ensure their application and support platforms meet their growing and changing business needs.

Ensuring high availability through resiliency

One of the chief concerns in the highly regulated payment-processing environment is that of availability. For the system our client runs, they have a goal of “five nines” or 99.999% uptime (such a standard allows just five minutes and 15 seconds of downtime per year).

In order to meet this goal, improving resiliency was of key importance. By automating the environment and implementing modern architecture, we achieved consistency and speed to delivery. We also increased resiliency by creating software-defined environments that are more easily recovered in the event of a failure. As a result of all the improvements implemented by CGI, the time needed to provision and build a new environment has been reduced from six (or more) months to minutes.

As resiliency is achieved through a combination of application, software-defined infrastructure, and configuration and physical architecture, CGI provided guidance around integrating future roadmaps and immediate problems, allowing for the client to accelerate their continued modernization and scale.

Providing thought leadership on environment automation

Rather than continuing with inconsistent processes that needed constant customization, Interac relied on CGI to provide the leadership needed to transform their platform. We knew that the value of the cloud is broader than just modernization. It comes with resiliency, stability and security from the standardizations implemented. We also knew that we don’t have to rule out using legacy apps in the cloud. Complete rewrites aren’t necessary when cloud components are available to add value. Finally, we found that by focusing on standardization through code, rather than through operational processes, we were able to achieve transparency, visibility and trust in the environment.