Solaris: Tracking its Growth and Journey With Snowflake

FinTech Magazine speaks to Roy Ben David, Group Director of Data & Analytics at Solaris, about the company's growth and digital journey

Today, Solaris is one of Europe’s burgeoning embedded finance providers, offering a wide range of financial services ranging from bank accounts, card payments, credit solutions, KYC services and APIs. 

Since its founding in 2015, Solaris has worked to bridge the gap between finance and technology. 

In this deep-dive, Solaris’ Group Director of Data & Analytics, Roy Ben David, discusses the embedded finance provider’s digital journey since its inception and its partnerships with technology giant Snowflake

Solaris: A digital transformation journey

“The entire business has operated in the cloud since day one,” says David. “We migrated all of our core banking systems to AWS in 2020, making Solaris the first bank in Germany to migrate completely to the cloud. 

“The next logical step for the company was to make the rest of the organisation cloud-compatible to enhance the data infrastructure further. 

“By doing so, we could see better and more efficient data processing enabling faster development of new products, accelerated scalability of innovations and existing business models, cost savings and improved regulatory reporting and risk management.”

To achieve this, Solaris partnered with Snowflake to fully migrate to the cloud so the company could efficiently manage large volumes of data.

This wasn’t an easy journey though, as David explains: “Migrating to the cloud posed significant demands for the company. While our previous provider offered amazing solutions, we found challenges in how we had to manage data access and lineage, which in turn, created a lot of risks and had a significant impact on IT operations.

“Instead of focusing on innovation, we had to pay full attention to just keeping the operation process going. We wanted to move away from being a bottleneck and become a trusted enabler for the business.”

Why Snowflake?

So, of all the cloud service providers on the market, why did Solaris choose Snowflake? 

“We placed particular emphasis on robust and reliable data management when picking our partner,” notes David. 

“As an embedded finance platform, which must strictly adhere to regulatory requirements, the provider needs to fulfill the highest security standards. It also had to easily integrate with our existing solutions, deliver the full set of data capabilities out-of-the-box and offer a consumption-based model.

“We chose to integrate our existing data systems with Snowflake’s Data Cloud. We use Snowflake as the single source of truth to power regulatory reporting, and to send data to other systems to build and train machine learning models used in fraud detection and Know Your Customer checks. 

“The Data Cloud meets all our data principles and requirements, and the team at Snowflake is closely aligned with our philosophy: solving problems quickly today while keeping an eye on the problems you need to solve tomorrow.”

What’s more, Snowflake could complete Solaris’ integration within a request time frame. As David notes: “The best case scenario was that all data functions would be available immediately after implementation so that everyone involved could access the data they needed without delays. 

“With 70 data sources, hundreds of reports and thousands of lines of code to move, we anticipated the migration process to be complex. However, thanks to a flexible training and support offering, we were up and running on Snowflake in just nine months. 

“Working closely with Snowflake’s Professional Services team, we were able to sort out the basics ourselves, then bring their experts in to help us optimise the platform at a deeper level as the project progressed.”

Reaping the benefits of Snowflake’s Data Cloud

Now the migration is complete, for David and co., it is time for Solaris to reap the benefits of a new growing partnership. 

“The migration enabled our teams to store and analyse larger amounts of data, as well as simplify data mining and analytical functions,” he adds. “This speeds up the development of new products and data-driven decision-making.

“Another significant advantage of the migration is the democratisation of data access within the company,” David continues. “Previously only around 10% of employees had access to all data, making us reliant on the data team for reporting. 

“With Snowflake’s data decentralisation approach, data access is facilitated through fine-grained technical access controls, meeting high regulatory requirements and pushing us towards being a truly data-driven company. 

“Half of our staff are now already able to directly use the data platform, automating internal processes and freeing up resources in the data team to think about how we can further optimise performance and balance costs. 

“Our delivery time has also changed dramatically. We are no longer a bottleneck and we have closed our backlog. Data gets to whoever needs it when they need it, and we’re now open for innovation.”

Solaris: Looking to the future 

With its key cloud-native technology in place thanks to its Snowflake partnership, for key for Solaris now is to continue innovation – particularly new tools that can help build data apps. 

David concludes: “With the accelerated speed of development, data delivery, integration and innovation, we are looking to get even more out of Snowflake by integrating tools such as Streamlit to build new data apps. 

“The primary plan is to expand Solaris’ data core built on Snowflake and benefit all users on the new data ecosystem over time. The next step is helping share this insight with our partners so they can get the benefits—and then share those benefits with their customers as well. 

“Overall, through our collaboration with Snowflake, we have strengthened our position in the field of data-driven financial services and are well-positioned for future innovations and growth.”

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