Vipps uses Microsoft Azure to scale and innovate its mobile app

Vipps uses Microsoft Azure to scale and innovate its mobile app

More than 2.7 million Norwegians pay for just about everything with the Vipps mobile payment app. In fact, they don’t just send you money in Norway anymore; now they Vippse it to you. With that kind of success, the company — also called Vipps — had to be ready to scale and innovate, so it uses Microsoft Azure to power and scale its app into a globally competitive offering. With Azure, Vipps can scale for success, innovation and value, while it transforms payments in Norway.

People everywhere have to pay for everything. They order things online, make purchases in stores and split lunch cheques with friends. They move all that money around in a number of ways.

In Norway, more than 2.7 million people do it with the Vipps mobile payment app, but that’s not how they talk about it. Norwegians refer to transferring money as ‘Vippsing’ money.

Six out of every ten Norwegians Vippse more than 400,000 times in an average day. Vipps holds 98% brand awareness in Norway and almost every bank in the country supports the app. And Vipps only launched in mid-2015.

When your brand becomes a verb — in any language — you’re winning the market. But you also better be ready to scale and innovate. That’s why Vipps uses Microsoft Azure services to power the mobile payment app and help grow it into a flexible, scalable, globally competitive offering.

A strong partnership and accelerated innovation

The Vipps app was originally developed and launched by DNB, one of the leading savings banks in Norway. DNB initially ran Vipps with a monolithic architecture in its own on-premises infrastructure.

By the end of 2015, the app had more than a million users and by 2017, it had left all of its regional competitors far behind. To maintain pace with its own success and compete with global mobile-payment players, DNB partnered with 106 other Norwegian banks to launch Vipps as an independent enterprise. The new company immediately began to rebuild the Vipps mobile app for a microservice-based cloud architecture using Azure.

“We turned to Azure to scale Vipps for users and transactions, accelerate innovation and expand our product,” said Thomas Wold Johansen, Chief Technology Officer at Vipps.

An advanced cloud platform and new customer services

Vipps initially migrated its application infrastructure directly to virtual machines in Azure. To upgrade its data structure and get the most out of Azure services, it also migrated from Oracle to Azure SQL Database. It then began using Azure API Management to publish Vipps microservices to internal developers along with partners and merchants.

“It was essential for us to maintain business momentum while we scaled up,” said Johansen. “We were able to do both by working with the expert Microsoft cloud team in Norway and the mature, flexible and powerful Azure platform.”

The company uses Azure Notification Hubs for push alerts, Azure Cosmos DB to support Vipps chat and Azure Active Directory for authentication and access control. By November 2017, the company hosted all core Vipps services on DC/OS clusters in Azure Container Service.

Consumers expect free peer-to-peer (p2p) payment, so to drive revenue, Vipps is using Azure to help launch new paid services for merchants and e-commerce vendors, such as bank-agnostic instant payment, online payment, account payment, Vipps invoice service and reporting tools based on Microsoft Power BI. “Last year, Vipps p2p transactions increased by 75%, but paid transactions grew more than 300%,” said Johansen. “As merchants continue to see more sales with Vipps, we will use Azure and Power BI analytics and reporting to help them generate more business insights.”

Scale, success, innovation and value

By using Azure, Vipps has structured its mobile app to accommodate its expected growth. It’s building a digitally-native company positioned to compete and win on a global scale. Vipps developers can easily build and share new APIs and get new services to merchants and consumers quickly. With unlimited scalability and a global Azure presence, Vipps can meet almost any demand in Norway or anywhere else.

“With Azure, we can scale Vipps as it grows and streamline future development, upgrades and innovation,” said Johansen. “That allows us to focus less on operations and more on building new services, creating value and competing effectively.”

A new verb, for a new way to pay

With the power of the cloud, Vipps might just replace credit cards, debit cards and cash in Norway. Already, Norwegian diners can Vippse their order, eat, pay and get a digital receipt without ever bothering a waiter. Team Norway fans can Vippse their hockey tickets instantly. Shoppers at pop-up stores can Vippse if they don’t have cash and if Norwegian online shoppers don’t like card numbers, expiration dates, or security codes, they can Vippse their purchases instead.

“We think mobile payment will be the new normal in Norway within one or two years,” said Rune Garborg, Chief Executive Officer at Vipps. “Azure is helping us make it possible.”

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