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March 01, 2018
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How Santander UK Generates Business Value Through Data

We had a very successful DataWorks Summit Berlin, highlighted by a number of impressive keynote and breakout speakers. One of these speakers was Nicolette Bullivant, Head of Data Engineering at Santander within the Big Compute and Storage track.

Santander UK is one of the UK’s leading personal financial services companies and one of the largest providers of mortgages and savings in the UK. The bank has circa 20,000 employees, 14 million active customers, with over 1,000 branches and 50 corporate business centers.

Trends in Financial Services

In the financial services industry, the focus is on minimizing risk and maximizing business opportunity. Banks, insurance companies, fintech financial services, and securities firms that store and process huge amounts of data in Apache Hadoop have better insight into both their risks and opportunities. The ability to trace, track and manage data globally is essential for delivering a superior customer experience, cost optimization, and proper risk control. Various use cases include screening new applicants for risk of default, monetizing anonymous banking data in secondary markets, and detecting money laundering activities.

Santander’s Big Data Journey

Santander UK’s Big Data journey began in 2014, using Hadoop to make the most of its data and generate value for customers. Within 9 months it had created a highly available real-time customer facing application for customer analytics. The company currently has 500 different people doing their own analysis and projects with this data, spanning a total of 50 different use cases. This data, (consisting of over 40 million customer records with billions of transactions), provides the business new insights that were inaccessible before.

Its business moves quickly, with several products and 20 use cases currently in production. The company currently has a customer data lake and a technical data lake. Having a platform with very different workloads has proven to be challenging.

The company’s success in generating value created such growth in terms of data, use cases, analysts and usage patterns that 3 years later it found issues with scalability and challenges with highly available architectures. Santander’s growth strategy going forward is to explore alternative solutions to its current data management structure.

View the slides from this DataWorks Summit Berlin session: Reaching scale limits on a Hadoop Platform – issues and errors created by speed and agility

Be sure to check out Santander’s presentation to learn about what technologies are in place and how the business continues to grow its Big Data journey. The goal of the session was to assist others in the early part of their journey to building a solid foundation. It was a breakout session you’ll definitely want to check out!
To access the rest of the breakout sessions, visit:
For more customer use cases, visit:


Anticipating DataWorks Summit

When asked about what they were looking forward to most about attending DataWorks Summit, Santander said:

“What we look forward to most about DataWorks Summit is getting the opportunity to hear many different perspectives. Learning about other’s experience in production, how their teams are structured, and opening our eyes to what’s happening across the industry. It also helps us grow closer to the Apache community and connect with other businesses.”

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