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BBVA: Leading finance in digital workplace transformation and cybersecurity

About BBVA

With a strong leadership position in Spain, BBVA serves 78.9 million customers. It has been a Google Workspace customer since 2011 and was the first bank in Europe to use Chronicle.

Industries: Financial Services & Insurance
Location: Spain

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About partners

Accenture
One of Fortune's “World's Most Admired Companies” for 19 consecutive years.

Inetum
A leading regional player in value-added IT services and solutions around the world.

In Google, BBVA found a mentor with the insights and technical excellence to help transform it into a digital company that challenges the status quo of the financial sector and competes with digital-native fintechs.

Google Cloud results

  • Able to compete with digital-native companies
  • Ingrained sustainability as a core competency
  • Delivered new products to customers through digital-first channels
  • Able to better detect threats, classify and prioritize events, and respond faster
  • Reduced customer costs by optimizing backend systems

Reduced speed-to-market from two years to nine months

As a highly regulated industry and an attractive target for cybercriminals, banks must do all they can to earn their customers’ trust. When other industries chose to embrace the cost savings that cloud computing presents, banks instead chose to keep their IT infrastructures on-premises to feel confident they had complete control over data security and privacy.

However, when the Bank of Spain approved BBVA's migration to Google Cloud, it signaled that transformation was firmly on the bank’s agenda. And the interesting point about BBVA’s move is how it was driven by innovation. The bank saw the cloud as an opportunity to gain the agility needed to anticipate their customers’ future banking needs, while also reducing its carbon footprint to become an environmentally sustainable business.

With a history that dates back to 1857, BBVA combines a strong tradition with a pioneering ambition to think big and break the norm in order to amaze its customers. Its collaboration with Google Cloud began in 2012 and aims to advance two strategic capabilities: technology and culture.

Juan Calatrava, IT Strategy, Deployment and Regulations Head at BBVA, comments, “Our relationship with Google Cloud helps us to focus on the most important parts of a transformation—to put our clients at the core of the business, to use the best tools available, and to take our people on the journey too.”

“We don't see Google Cloud as a provider but rather as an ally. We work with the mindset to collaborate on the final solution and road maps.”

Ivan Gomez Gonzalez, Vendor Strategy Senior Manager, BBVA

A global reputation for technology excellence

Google Cloud enabled BBVA to acquire the core capabilities to deliver its strategic imperatives as well as send a powerful message to the market about how it would meet the needs of 21st-century banking. BBVA would also be able to better protect against increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity threats and enhance the employee experience with productivity tools that create a better working environment. In particular, Google Workspace proved invaluable during the pandemic. For example, Google Meet usage soared by 1,800 percent as remote workers looked for new ways to stay connected.

In Google, BBVA also found a mentor to emulate by embracing digital innovation to create new capabilities for its customers. As Ivan Gomez Gonzalez, Vendor Strategy Senior Manager at BBVA, comments, “We don't see Google Cloud as a provider but rather as an ally. We work with the mindset to collaborate on the final solution and road maps.”

Additionally, both companies have invested heavily in sustainability as a core competency. For BBVA, the collaboration and cloud migration meant it could take inspiration from how Google ingrained sustainability in its operations, as well as the smaller carbon footprint it achieved by replacing legacy machines.

Today, BBVA is working with Google Cloud and its partners, Inetum and Accenture, to meet the needs of its modern customers by adopting a new mindset: to transform from a digital bank to a digital company. This transformation involves understanding both tech-savvy multichannel consumers and the importance of cybersecurity.

The business case for modernization

Like many industries, the finance sector is in the process of digital transformation. As Calatrava explains, “We now live in a completely different age of technology where we need to offer services in the way customers are used to consuming their products.”

Rather than feel intimidated by the new fintechs, BBVA realizes it has something the challengers don’t: knowledge.

Closer interactions with its customers enables BBVA to keep the voice of the customer at the heart of its business. These interactions generate rich insights that are shared across the organization, so the bank knows how to adapt. For example, its Bconomy self-service app is the first of its kind in Spain. It enables customers to measure income and expenses over time to calculate their financial health and obtain personalized recommendations for improvements.

Calatrava reflects, “Cloud migration is a journey, and not a particularly easy one for a bank. You will make mistakes, but it’s fine as long as you learn from them before you move on.”

BBVA is now excited to delve further into Google Cloud’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities. Deeper insights will lead to the creation of new apps that better support customers’ overall financial wellness. Products like BigQuery will help BBVA generate unique market visions by analyzing large datasets that establish the real impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on consumer behavior across different geographies. And Cloud SQL allows BBVA to give project owners, solution architects, and other groups a way to create resources in a highly secure, controlled, and approved way, while giving them the freedom and flexibility to spin up resources easily.

“Our strategy is to use Chronicle as our main engine to better detect threats, classify and prioritize events depending on their impact or criticality, and be able to respond faster.”

Jorge Blanco, Global Head of Security Solutions, BBVA

Staying ahead of cybercriminals

Explaining BBVA’s threat landscape, Jorge Blanco, Global Head of Security Solutions at BBVA, says, “There are three factors working against us in banking. First, as a financial institution, we're a very attractive target because we have two things the bad actors want: money and customer data. Second, our transformation has changed the way we do things technologically, which has increased our attack surface. And third, the environment has changed as cyberattacks have become more sophisticated.”

BBVA needed a cloud-native security platform with the capacity to support its global activity. Initially, it looked to build these capabilities in house to transform its cybersecurity strategy. But the plan changed when the bank heard about Chronicle, a cybersecurity analytics platform from Google Cloud. “Our strategy is to use Chronicle as our main engine to better detect threats, classify and prioritize events depending on their impact or criticality, and be able to respond faster,” says Blanco.

As the first bank in Europe to deploy Chronicle, BBVA looked to Google Cloud as a trusted advisor to help navigate a complex regulatory environment. “Google helped us to rethink risk management so we could implement shared responsibility for protecting our business,” says Blanco.

BBVA and Chronicle are in the process of transforming the way each operates its cyber operations. For BBVA, the big benefit lies in the expertise it gains from Google engineers. For its part, Google acquires valuable feedback from a mature bank on cybersecurity.

“When we moved to the cloud, our people loved it and saw it as a refreshing change to the way they worked.”

Santiago Alarcón, Global Head of Google Cloud, BBVA

Optimize margins

Digital channels pose an interesting challenge for organizations. As Santiago Alarcón, Global Head of Google Cloud in BBVA, explains, “Every time a customer clicks on an app, it creates more cost. It’s a big problem in our industry because it squeezes margins.”

Its vision to be a digital company means BBVA views technology as core to its operations. In Google, it saw a kindred spirit that could help it optimize its backend operations and deliver on its digital strategy. “If you think about Google with Gmail, the cost is nothing,” says Alarcón. “It’s the same idea for us. We have to change the way we do things and lower the cost to have customers so we can scale.”

As an innovator, BBVA’s adoption of Google Cloud meant the bank acquired a more agile and collaborative way for employees to work globally. “When we moved to the cloud, our people loved it and saw it as a refreshing change to the way they worked,” says Alarcón.

Now, BBVA can emulate Google’s software reliability engineering to deliver products to customers quickly. The industry average to get an idea into a customer’s hands exceeds two years, but BBVA now achieves this goal in just nine months. One new product, GloMo, acts as a mobile-based personal finance hub. It links all of a customer’s bank accounts into one platform, regardless of whether they’re BBVA accounts. For the fifth year running, it was selected as the top banking mobile app, based on functionality and ease of use.

From digital bank to digital company

Customers will always have financial needs beyond banking, and by purposefully tapping into these peripheral areas, BBVA can continue to fulfill these needs well into the 21st century. The bank has already delivered on this strategy with the acquisition of fintech provider Madiva Soluciones and the subsequent development of BBVA Valora. The home-buying mobile app allows customers to point their phone at a property and learn whether it is for sale or rent, along with pricing data and information about the neighborhood.

As it looks forward, BBVA knows that locked within 12 billion interactions across its channels are the secrets of how to excel in four key areas: automation, personalization, human-machine interactions, and security. Through Google Cloud’s AI and ML solutions, BBVA now seeks to take advantage of that untapped data, complete its transition to being a digital company, and gain the edge to win its competition with digital-native companies.

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About BBVA

With a strong leadership position in Spain, BBVA serves 78.9 million customers. It has been a Google Workspace customer since 2011 and was the first bank in Europe to use Chronicle.

Industries: Financial Services & Insurance
Location: Spain

About partners

Accenture
One of Fortune's “World's Most Admired Companies” for 19 consecutive years.

Inetum
A leading regional player in value-added IT services and solutions around the world.