“We will continue to be proactive—anticipating, adapting to and addressing the ever-changing needs of our customers, always striving to stay one step ahead.”

– Hikmet Ersek, President and Chief Executive Officer

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Western Union helps loved ones near and far stay connected by moving money around the globe. The 160-year old company is evolving its business model, supported by a data strategy that enables expansion of digital products, growth of web and mobile channels, and a more personalized online customer experience.

Business need

  • Western Union has built significant scale in the money transfer business with 242 million consumer-to-consumer transactions and 459 million business payments in 2013 alone. The company operates in 200+ countries and territories, and conducts business in 120+ currencies.
  • The company faces increasing competitive pressure from emerging technology players.
  • Western Union is transforming and focusing on:
    • Developing an omni-channel approach that includes retail, web and mobile,
    • Expanding into new markets with e-commerce and other digital products, and
    • Reaching customers with a more tailored and personalized experience.


  • In 2013, Western Union processed more than 29 transactions per second, on average, which generated a significant amount of structured and unstructured data that must be integrated from diverse sources (legacy, mobile and online data).
  • The company needs to cost-effectively deal with this data complexity, while simultaneously scaling access, storage, and processing.
  • Data scientists must rely upon the data platform to conduct statistical modeling and predictive analysis, systematically noting trends in sending and receiving behaviors.

Solution and Results

  • Western Union built a data platform based on Hadoop (Cloudera) and Informatica Big Data Edition for Hadoop.
  • Western Union is one of a handful of very early adopters of Hadoop on such a global scale.