BBVA Microfinance Foundation

The BBVA Microfinance Foundation used Google Cloud Platform to share its business intelligence solution with its microfinance institutions in Latin America easily and with greater efficiency and control.

Google Cloud results:

  • Enables a swift transition with minimal disruption thanks to the migration features offered by Google Cloud Platform.
  • Reduces costs and provides efficient scaling with a cloud-based architecture.
  • Provides increased control over the infrastructure compared to the previous hosted solution without the need for detailed knowledge of DevOps.

The BBVA Microfinance Foundation (the Foundation) provides financial and non-financial services to vulnerable entrepreneurs, helping them to develop their productive activities and contributing to a sustainable and inclusive economy. Set up by the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria in 2007, the Foundation is legally independent from the bank and operates as a non-profit organisation, reinvesting its profits into its operations. Working in association with several entities in situ, the Foundation wanted to share some of its analytical tools with its microfinance institutions in Latin America but its existing infrastructure made that impossible. The Foundation needed a cloud-based solution, so it turned to Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

“As a non-profit organisation, we’ve got limited resources, meaning we’re always looking to improve efficiency and innovation. We want to digitise our work and BPC seemed the best wat to achieve that”.

–Joao Costa, Technology Director at the Foundation

Minimal disruption, maximum efficiency

As a microfinance foundation, the Foundation pays special attention to the concession of loans in order to guarantee maximum social benefits. Using a third-party analytics tool, the Foundation’s headquarters in Madrid has developed a highly sophisticated business intelligence (BI) solution that competes with any tools available to traditional banks. Operating servers hosted in Spanish data centres was sufficient during the early years of the BI solution but by 2017 this infrastructure was becoming expensive and hard to maintain.

As a non-profit organisation, the Foundation had to reduce costs and boost efficiency as much as possible. At the same time, it wanted to provide its microfinance institutions in Latin America with access to the BI tool and doing so with its hosted servers would have taken too long and been too expensive. The Foundation needed to migrate its infrastructure to the Cloud.

”I can turn the servers on or off, write firewall rules myself and set up new VPNs. The GCP console makes configuring the infrastructure much easier without the need for any in-depth technical knowledge”.

–Miguel Ángel Frutos, Senior IT Manager at the Foundation

The Foundation asked Nubalia, Google Cloud Premier Partner, to find the perfect solution. Nubalia was already familiar with the Foundation and how it worked, having previously helped it migrate to the G Suite productivity platform. In September 2017, Nubalia carried out a Proof of Concept (PoC) for the Foundation in order to show them what the BI solution would look like on Google Cloud Platform. Impressed with what they saw, the Foundation went ahead and migrated successfully in just one month, with minimal disruption to its operations thanks to the Google VM migration service  offered in collaboration with CloudEndure.

“Nubalia worked very closely with us”, says Miguel Ángel Frutos, the Foundation’s IT Director. “They were always there to help us out whenever we needed it”. By moving their architecture to Google Compute Engine, the Foundation can now add as many servers as it needs with the easy-to-use console. Meanwhile, it can use Google Stackdriver and Google Virtual Private Cloud to monitor and manage the platform with minimal effort.

“I can activate or disactivate servers, write firewall rules myself and set up new VPNs”, says Miguel Angel. “The GCP console makes configuring the infrastructure much easier without the need or any in-depth technical knowledge”.

“With GCP, there are no hardware limitations to bandwidth. It allows us to develop new tools and get them online much faster than before”.

-Joao Costa, the Foundation’s Technology Director

Boost performance, cut costs

Google Cloud Platform has allowed the BBVA Microfinance Foundation to share their BI tools easily with their Latin American microfinance institutions, helping to widen its coverage and boost efficiency in situ. With a cloud-based infrastructure, the Foundation has been able to cut its BI costs by 50% compared with the previous host. 

The straightforward nature of GCP means that if the Foundation needs to add further servers to cope with additional users or a particularly heavy load, it can do so easily straight from the console. Beyond the savings and ease of scalability, Google has also given the Foundation much faster ways to develop new tools and products without having to hire any specialised DevOps personnel or invest in new hardware. 

“With GCP, there are no hardware limitations to bandwidth”, says Joao. “It allows us to develop new tools and get them online much faster than before”. Following the successful migration of the BI tool, the Foundation is now planning to transfer all its products and services to the cloud. The development of new tools is currently hindered by a lack of test environments. The simplicity and flexibility of the pricing offered by GCP make it the perfect solution for the Foundation. “GCP has the flexibility to create new environments, execute the tests exactly how we want and then close the machine down when we’ve finished”, explains Joao. “It’s simple and the costs will be far lower”.

About the Foundation

BBVA Microfinances

Established in 2007, the BBVA Microfinance Foundation promotes the sustainable and inclusive economic and social development of vulnerable entrepreneurs in Latin America.

Industries: Non-profit

Location: Spain

28 February 2019