Customers Limited


A Secure and Available ATM Environment

Customers Limited operates the largest independent ATM network in Australia, providing end-to-end ATM solutions to retail outlets and financial institutions. More than one in five Australian ATMs are owned by Customers Limited, securely processing payments for millions of cardholders each month.

The IBM VIBE project grew out of a very immediate need – Customers Limited had purchased a new transaction payment switch and needed a new site to host it. The company was also looking to set up a second site to host their Disaster Recovery, test and QA environments, and run much of their security software.

“The ATM industry is highly competitive,” said Clint Walker, CIO for Customers Limited. Our customers and their customers expect nothing less than a secure and available environment.”

“And users are demanding a greater range of services – that means companies like Customers Limited need the flexibility to have new functionality into market quickly, with no impact on the ATM fleet.“


IBM VIBE Comes Out On Top

When it came to selecting the new system, Customers Limited sat down with its infrastructure partner, The Missing Link, to identify a set of requirements and evaluate three solutions.

“We rated each of the three offerings,” explained Walker, “and the reason the IBM VIBE solution came out on top? It would allow us to move rapidly and keep our costs under control, the total cost of ownership (TCO) was at least 25% lower than the competition, and IBM was the industry leader.”

The Missing Link then built the system – based on IBM Bladecenter H, with HS22 Blade Servers, storage, security and management components. IBM Virtual Security for VMware provides consistent security across the farm and ensures the client can maintain their PCI-DSS compliance status.

Walker continued, “This project reminded us of why we had such a long term relationship with The Missing Link. Throughout, we always found their people to be knowledgeable and easy to access.”


A Best Practice Transaction Processing Environment

The IBM VIBE solution has been running for 18 months, allowing Customers Limited to deliver a level of service normally reserved for larger operators. Here are some of the benefits they have already realised:

  • Responding to customer demands for new products faster than ever before
  • Increased reliability and security across the ATM fleet
  • Consistently delivering a superior level of service performance – comparable with any of the large banks
  • Customers Limited can be more agile and responsive and stay ahead of the competition
  • IBM VIBE supports a best practice style transaction processing environment.
  • The system can scale out over the long term – with little additional expense

Johnston cites a specific example of how the IBM VIBE solution has boosted their competitive position. Previously, they were unsuccessful In winning this piece of business.

“A service outage by a banking partner to a Melbourne casino presented an opportunity to win a new piece of business. Due to the performance and capabilities of the new IBM VIBE system, we delivered a secure and compliant system within a very aggressive timeframe.”


IBM Blade Servers Move into Other Business Areas

The next phase of this project is to consolidate on IBM Blade servers across the business. Having just acquired a Blade Centre server for its office network, Customers Limited is now planning for the replacement of the production transaction processing server as well.

Walker highlights one of the real advantages of the IBM VIBE solution: “When Customers Limited chose this solution, our intention was to reuse it over and over again, to really maximise the return on our investment. Not only can the IBM VIBE system grow easily, with little incremental outlay, but with each addition, we don’t need to hire a whole new team of people to run it.”

“And that places us in an enviable competitive position.”


Postscript: In 2011, The Missing Link’s Customers Limited project received the IBM Smarter Planet Dynamic Infrastructure Award.