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Banco Davivienda Adopts Hybrid Workplace Model Using Amazon WorkSpaces


Colombian banking company Banco Davivienda (Davivienda), faithful to its Human Talent Policy that seeks to develop the maximum potential of its workers and provide opportunities for growth, wanted to support its remote workforce by providing the tools its employees need to complete their daily tasks from home. Although some of its staff had already started working remotely, they had to configure a virtual private network (VPN) to set up new workstations and securely connect to Davivienda’s banking systems. This process could take up to 3 days to complete, and in many cases, it required the bank to transport supporting hardware and other assets off-site. 

Davivienda began looking for a scalable desktop-as-a-service solution that would provide its employees with reliable access to its business applications and banking system. During its search, the company engaged Amazon Web Services (AWS), and within 1 month, Davivienda deployed Amazon WorkSpaces, which provides secure, reliable, and scalable access to persistent desktops from virtually any location. Working on AWS, Davivienda provisioned more than 500 remote workstations in 1 month and achieved 99.9 percent availability on its networking connection, helping it move toward a sustainable hybrid workplace model and increase staff productivity and employee satisfaction.

Davivienda Team

Working on AWS, we can use cutting-edge technology that gives us a competitive advantage in the marketplace and provides a better experience for our employees.” 

William J Escobar Montenegro  
Director of IT services and collaborative tools, Davivienda

Searching for a Scalable, Cost-Effective Desktop Virtualization Service

Founded in 1972, Banco Davivienda strives to offer simple, dependable, and friendly banking services to its customers, more than 17 thousand people from Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama and Miami represent the best talent of this organization. The bank operates across 660 branch locations in six countries, offering a suite of both traditional and digital banking solutions to its 19 million customers. Before migrating to AWS, Davivienda had to set up remote workstations using the same manual process that it uses to configure new on-site workstations. Each employee’s workstation included a desktop computer that connected to Davivienda’s banking system and business applications through a VPN. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more of its staff started to work from home, and Davivienda wanted to provide the tools in a secure and cost-effective way that they needed to work remotely. “Most of our workers had to use two workstations—one at the office and another one at home,” says Miguel E Romero Martinez, microinformatics leader at Davivienda. “We didn’t want to transfer all of our physical assets off-site, and maintaining and configuring double the number of VPNs was difficult and uneconomical.” 

The bank looked for a solution that would optimize resources and that it could use while maintaining its standards of security and compliance. Davivienda explored several desktop virtualization services and, in April 2021, engaged AWS. With technical support from the AWS team, Davivienda developed a proof of concept for securely running its applications on Amazon WorkSpaces. Upon completing this proof of concept, Davivienda decided to adopt this desktop-as-a-service solution in production. “We had contacted different cloud providers,” says William J Escobar Montenero, director of IT services and collaborative tools at Davivienda. “AWS provided the best solution to facilitate security and compliance.”

Delivering Business Tools at a Massive Scale Using Amazon WorkSpaces

By May 2021, Davivienda had completed its adoption of Amazon WorkSpaces, which it used to set up more than 500 workstations—a sharp increase from the 150 workstations that it had before. “We went from having nothing in place to production in only 1 month,” says Juan Ospino, professional microinformatic services at Davivienda. Since implementing this new solution, Davivienda has received positive comments from its staff about the ease of use of Amazon WorkSpaces, which has contributed to increases in staff productivity and employee satisfaction. In fact, the organization obtained a 93% participation in the measurement of organizational commitment, with a result of 4.2 out of 5 at the end of 2021.

The bank also simplified the process for setting up assigned workstations. Previously, configuring a new workstation would take its teams up to 3 days. Now, Davivienda can provision workstations 100 percent faster, and it doesn’t have to transport supporting hardware off-site for its employees who work from home. Instead, employees can access the banking system from a web browser using their personal devices. “We can deliver our business tools at a massive scale,” says Romero Martinez. “When our employees request remote workstations, we can make those available to them the next day.” As of February 2022, Davivienda has been able to rapidly provision over 2,100 remote workstations. By streamlining its workstation setup, the bank has also increased cost savings. With more employees working remotely using Amazon WorkSpaces, the company has been able to close 7,000 square meters of office space. Meanwhile, the average lifespan of employees’ devices increased from 5 years to 7 years because the requirements for running its workloads on Amazon WorkSpaces are lower than if applications are run locally. 

Even as Davivienda scaled its remote workforce, it hasn’t compromised its security posture. To monitor the health of its environment, the bank uses Amazon CloudWatch, which provides observability of its AWS resources and applications on AWS and on premises. “On Amazon CloudWatch, we can monitor, provision, and choose the best pricing model for Amazon WorkSpaces,” says Romero Martinez. Davivienda has set up flow logs using Amazon CloudWatch and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC), which helps companies define and launch their AWS resources in a logically isolated virtual network, to observe traffic patterns, detect anomalies, prevent data leakage, and troubleshoot network configuration issues. By working in the cloud, the bank has achieved 99.9 percent availability on its network connection, and its staff can reliably access its banking system without worrying about service interruptions or downtime. 

Davivienda also implemented multifactor authentication for its log in process using AWS Directory Service, a managed Microsoft active directory in AWS. The company set up this feature using Active Directory Connector—a directory gateway with which companies can redirect directory requests to their on-premises Microsoft Active Directory without caching any information in the cloud. Now, anytime employees attempt to sign in to its system, they must input an authentication code that they receive on another device. “We needed a strong verification of our employees’ identities,” says Romero Martinez. “We’ve centralized our identity verification, so we can prevent information from being copied or stored elsewhere.”

Adopting a Hybrid Workplace Model with Cutting-Edge Technology

Davivienda has stood out for having an organizational innovation skill with a strong focus on digital banking, disruptive and intuitive experiences that make life easier for its customers. Internally, its value proposition focuses on providing spaces and tools, as in this case, where its capabilities are fully developed, a safe environment that fosters innovation and thus positively impacts society. 

Now that Davivienda has moved toward a sustainable hybrid workplace model, it’s exploring additional services on AWS. It hopes to use AWS Systems Manager—a secure, complete management solution for hybrid cloud environments. By using AWS Systems Manager, the company looks to achieve automatic updates across its business applications to further optimize its operational efficiency. 

The company also plans to close its disaster recovery office because employees can simply continue their work unimpeded on Amazon WorkSpaces without needing a temporary physical workspace during an emergency. “Working on AWS, we can use cutting-edge technology that gives us a competitive advantage in the marketplace and provides a better experience for our employees,” says Escobar Montenero. 

About Banco Davivienda

Banco Davivienda offers simple, dependable, and friendly banking services to individuals and businesses alike. Headquartered in Colombia, Davivienda serves over 19 million customers, providing both traditional and digital banking solutions.

Benefits of AWS

  • Created more than 500 remote workstations in 1 month
  • Configured over 2,100 remote workstations
  • Provisions new workstations 100% faster compared to previous setup
  • Achieved 99.9% availability for its network connection
  • Eliminated transportation of hardware and assets off-site
  • Implemented multifactor authentication
  • Increased the average lifespan of employees’ devices from 5 to 7 years
  • Closed 7,000 square meters of unneeded office space

AWS Services Used

Amazon WorkSpaces

Amazon WorkSpaces is a managed, secure Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution. You can use Amazon WorkSpaces to provision either Windows or Linux desktops in just a few minutes and quickly scale to provide thousands of desktops to workers across the globe.

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Amazon CloudWatch

Amazon CloudWatch is a monitoring and observability service built for DevOps engineers, developers, site reliability engineers (SREs), and IT managers.

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Amazon Virtual Private Cloud

Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) gives you full control over your virtual networking environment, including resource placement, connectivity, and security. 

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AWS Directory Service

AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory, also known as AWS Managed Microsoft Active Directory (AD), enables your directory-aware workloads and AWS resources to use managed Active Directory (AD) in AWS.

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