Moniepoint banks on accelerated growth with Confluent Cloud
The fast-growing fintech is using the cloud-based technology to provide real-time data processing capabilities for the businesses it serves.
Global business payments and banking platform Moniepoint has turned to Kafka and Confluent Cloud to create a scalable foundation for business growth.
Moniepoint, which serves 600,000 companies and is Nigeria's largest business payments platform, needed to find a way to help its clients process their transactions more effectively and to support the handling of payment and credit services.
Solomon Amadi, VP of Processing Infrastructure at Moniepoint, explained to diginomica at Kafka Summit in London, how the fintech found the solution to its business challenges in Confluent Cloud, which is a cloud-native service for the open-source, stream-processing platform Apache Kafka:
Confiuent Cloud has helped our business prepare for the future. Instead of our engineers focusing on technologies that have already been built, they can concentrate on growing the business. It’s helped us to grow and is supporting our long-term vision, which is to provide financial happiness to all our customers.
Moniepoint was formed in 2015 and has scaled quickly. Today, the business processes about 15 million transactions every day. To meet that increasing demand, the company needed a platform to help ensure it could provide a reliable data-led service for its ever-growing roster of clients, says Amadi:
We were processing a lot of transactions for customers and the main pain point for the company was reliability. Transactions have to happen seamlessly and customers need to get their money immediately.
While Moniepoint wanted to process transactions quickly, the firm was being held back by its existing technology. Its relational databases provided a solid basis for transactional systems, but took too long to run data analytics – and that lethargy was affecting the business’ ability to provide real-time transaction processing:
That’s why Apache Kafka came into the mix. The decision to go with Kafka was made because it’s one of the best stream-processing technologies in the industry. After several reviews by the engineering team, we liked what we saw.
As well as a desire to support rapid business growth, the team had to scale its operations in response to a move earlier this year by the Central Bank of Nigeria to limit cash-based transactions. This shift towards cashless transactions led to a big increase in demand for digital transactions on a reliable platform. Amadi says it was decided that Confluent Cloud would help Moniepoint to manage its range of requirements:
With the way the business was growing, which was by ten times in two years, then it was tough to get hold of the expertise quickly to scale the business in a short space of time. We knew it was the best idea to give the experts the opportunity to help us manage our business. Moving to Confluent Cloud meant that they could manage the systems for us and we could get access to real-time support.
Delivering real-time benefits
Moniepoint started using Confluent Cloud last November. The company’s engineers can now focus on tasks that produce more value to the business, says Chukwudum Ekwueme VP of Engineering at Moniepoint:
They can focus on developing the product. We don’t need to think about databases anymore. Instead, we can get creative on how to use the things we have, rather than fixing things when we scale up. Confluent is a solution that works and is flexible. And we can scale up or down according to our needs, and that's very important.
Amadi cites one of the big benefits of Confluent Cloud as being the ease with which its services can be integrated with other technology systems. It’s also proven easy to spin up new database instances, such as a micro-service for a form of financial settlement or for a new data analytics process, without affecting real-time transactional processing:
We've been able to architect our system around Kafka now because of the fault-tolerance it brings to the business. So, we can easily think of an idea that we could not do before now, and within five minutes, we've spun up a micro-service that is already connected to a new database instance.
Ekwueme says this ability to spin up new instances quickly gives the banking provider a lot of power when it comes to its day-today business processes:
So, maybe we need to aggregate data to do some sort of credit score on an individual. Now, it’s so much easier to do and I can just stream the data. The business also asks for complex reports, such as real-time information on a particular issue. It’s so much easier to architect to meet business demands. With a traditional reporting system, you might get a report once a week. Now, we can have real-time dashboards.
Amani says one of the best use cases for Confluent Cloud is for monitoring the processes associated to Moniepoint’s site-reliability engineering team:
Before now, we’d query our databases to see the success rate of transactions from each partner or the average response time. However, our relational database became so slow that the data it provided was no longer in real time and might have been five or even 10 minutes old. Bringing in Kafka allowed us to stream transactions, so we have much more real-time visibility into what is happening. We can make informed decisions and keep our customers happy, which is the fundamental concern.
Moniepoint is also planning to use Confluent Cloud to support its moves into fresh business areas, including new lending processes and real-time credit scoring, according to Amadi:
We're trying to help small and medium-sized businesses handle their bookkeeping. Now, for every transaction, you'd like to show these firms analytics on their expenses, profits, losses and types of transactions. So, are they doing more card transactions, more web transactions, or more cash transactions? Kafka helps us do the data streaming and can feed the analytics with real-time transactions.
What it comes to lessons for other digital leaders who are looking at Confluent Cloud, Ekwueme says companies should use the technology if they want to scale services up or down quickly on-demand:
Going to the cloud might look expensive at the beginning but it’s far better in the long run. Instead of having downtime and having to train up engineers, you can rely on external experts to help your business grow.