Case Study

Bank al Etihad

Bank al Etihad is a Jordanian bank that takes pride in being built on family values. They offer financial services such as checking and savings accounts, credit cards, and home and business loans to individuals, entrepreneurs, local and global businesses, and the next generation of female leaders.

Empowerment Through Simplified Banking

Bank al Etihad seeks to empower its customers by simplifying everyday banking. They recently contracted with Backendless to modernize their mobile banking app, with stellar results.

  • View Account Analytics
  • Make Payments
  • Manage Multiple Cards
  • View Card Details

Backendless: Before you started the initiative that led you to Backendless, what was the bank’s mobile presence like? Did you do anything in the mobile space?

Rami Saleem, Director of Digital Channels: That’s a good question, actually, because there’s a huge difference between how it was before – two years ago – and how it is right now. Without mentioning the name of the product and application [we used before], it was not that modern of technology, the user experience was not in very good shape, and we just had many issues. That was the main reason why we needed this “revolution”, let’s call it, to start building a new application that will work perfectly for our customers to fit all their business needs and customer needs. [We wanted to provide] the best user experience, best performance, and to make everyone happy, especially our customers.

We’re sure it was quite a challenge to create a completely new channel for all bank functions.

You are right definitely, especially when you are removing the development approach to be in-house. Before around two years ago, all the applications and products were built outside the bank. The stakeholders in the bank just provided some requirements and high-level needs and leave everything else for the vendors. But life definitely changed. We are building everything here in-house for the mobile, website, all the products.

Going a couple of years back, you get this challenge to create a kick-butt web frontend and mobile apps. Something led you to start looking for a solution like ours. Could you describe what happened?

Yes, actually we spent no less than three months in the exercise of looking to select a good, solid technology and application that would serve all of our needs. We contacted many big companies actually, went through demos for all these products and applications, and finally made the decision to use Backendless and it’s very clear it was a very wise decision when you look at the results we have today. So thank you guys.

Thank you! So you’re running Backendless on-premises, so it’s your own private installation and your own servers.

Exactly. When you’re talking about such a critical industry – the banking industry – with these strict regulations and rules, you have to build everything on-premises to guarantee the security of the data for your customers. It’s the most important thing, regardless of anything else.

With the Backendless development team, we did not face any gap or issues with the team. They are very very advanced developers with a high level of training, high level of professionality to work with any environment. Not just in terms of the technical experience, but also soft skills and technical skills at the same time.

- Rami Saleem, Director of Digital Channels

What’s the primary reason that you decided to look into mobile backend as a service? You could have just created your own database and written a bunch of code, right?

Yes, and we have the ability to do it to be honest, but really you don’t want to spend a huge amount of time to build such a solid backend. Even if you have the best development team, the best architecture, designer, the perfect guys here in the environment to build it for you, it will still take no less than two years. I’m talking from our previous experiences. To get something really solid, something really scalable, something that will work with pretty high performance for you and your customers. So we were seeking a scalable, solid, secure backend as a service and a very smart API engine and that’s what Backendless does.

You also hired Backendless’ Consulting Services Team to help you out.

Exactly. We are working with a team of six guys today. The development process is very active here with new releases almost every day. It’s not a simple task to show some data, there are very complicated tasks involving really complicated and very advanced algorithms and functionality. With the Backendless development team, we did not face any gap or issues with the team. They are very very advanced developers with a high level of training, high level of professionality to work with any environment. Not just in terms of the technical experience, but also soft skills and technical skills at the same time.

Backendless provides the function of handling all of the API requests and is really functioning as an API engine, as you said, but there is also a development console or administrative console. Do you work with the Backendless Console personally? Do you do any functions with it as an end-user?

Yes, that’s what I’m doing on a daily basis actually. We have a very beautiful console, very clear, I can just work with it as an interface. I just define the tables and the relation between those tables and then from the console, we start implementing the business logic we need using many of the approaches that Backendless provides. Sometimes we write code using more than one development language, or sometimes we use the codeless feature in the cases where we don’t want to spend the time to hire people to write code. Back to your original question, we are using the console on a daily basis to debug things, to test things, to check everything.

Any plans for the future? Anything that you can share?

Yes, actually, our road map is very huge. Life in the banking industry has many challenges, and we have many things to be implemented, many features and functionality to be added. Our customers require new things every day and you need to be up to speed. You need to be number one in the market, comparing with the banks and competitors in the industry.