Banco BAI, the largest bank in Angola, has made significant investments in updating its IT systems in order to better serve the digital needs of its expanding customer base.

By adopting a cloud-first, digital-centric strategy and modernizing its IT infrastructure with VMware NSX Data Center and VMware vRealize, Banco BAI is better able to serve its customers with cutting-edge banking applications.

Unpredictability in power and communications, a sluggish global supply chain, and lengthy lead times to acquire and secure new technologies are just a few of the obstacles that businesses in Angola must overcome. The goal of BAI was to prevent companies from extending the useful life of their technologies beyond their design life, which can lead to a decline in customer service and stifle innovation within an IT department.

Paulo Domingos, information systems architect, BAI, says, “Our challenges don’t just relate to legacy infrastructure or technology. We want to continue as a world-class bank, so we need a foundation that can support the pace of innovation that we have set ourselves and remove our reliance on third-party resources like power and communications.”

Even though BAI was years ahead of its African competitors in adopting a VMware virtual environment, aging hardware has now rendered the system incapable of providing adequate disaster recovery. In addition, there would be significant downtime during a failover to a secondary site. This was getting in the way of the team’s efforts to modernize its systems, become self-sufficient, and embrace digital transformation.

After spending money on an in-depth analysis of the quality of the bank’s internal systems, the IT department devised an infrastructure strategy to meet the bank’s current and future business needs, reclaim control of its technology budgeting procedures, and pave the way for the development of cutting-edge digital banking products.

BAI was able to take advantage of the abstraction features of a software-defined data center (SDDC) thanks to the system it built. An SDDC is able to provide elasticity, flexibility, reliability, stability, and automation. Ultimately, VMware NSX Data Center was chosen as the foundation for the company’s software-defined data center (SDDC) and fully virtualized network for storage and servers, with VMware vRealize Suite providing visibility and management.

While introducing new systems and applications for the company, “we are more comfortable as a team and can focus our efforts on operational areas where we have the most impact, implementing clear goals supported by realistic KPIs.” It’s a setup that doesn’t just help us out in the here and now, but also allows us to plan ahead for the future and visualize how we can use technology to set ourselves apart from competitors and create ground-breaking new offerings. Domingos affirms that this will occur in the cloud via custom application development.

To paraphrase VMware’s regional director in Sub-Saharan Africa, Lorna Hardie: “BAI has been an incredible customer to work with. The IT team is forward-thinking and takes a bold approach. Nothing could stop them when they set out to embrace a digital-centric view of innovation. The result is that they now have an environment that supports the business and delivers on its desire to stay at the top of the banking sector in Angola. And it’s one they have full control over.”

BAI has over 1,550,000 individual and business clients in the United States.


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