ANZ charts six-year IT strategy

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ANZ charts six-year IT strategy

IT budget to remain at $1.5 billion a year.

ANZ has unveiled a six-year systems architecture and upgrade strategy to support its ‘Super Regional’ business plan to 2017.

Details of the technology strategy were released to the stock exchange on Friday morning (pdf). The Super Regional plan was announced in 2008.

The new strategy involved a standard infrastructure design and single integration architecture, expected to allow services to be “built once” and reused by different areas of the business.

“Having the Super Regional strategy has shifted the group orientation to more of a shared, regional focus in the way we run our business,” deputy chief executive officer Graham Hodges said on Friday.

“Our models have really shifted to more shared or standardised products, services or platforms ... What we’re trying to do is do things once in the group and really become location-agnostic.”

During the next six years, ANZ planned to focus on:

  • virtualisation within data centres and a bank-wide virtual desktop capability;
  • video conferencing, with 20 Cisco TelePresence rooms in its Melbourne headquarters and others in Sydney and international offices;
  • implementing a single, global customer registry that integrated data feeds from its various, global systems;
  • migrating to a standard infrastructure design and security and authentication layer;
  • improving online and mobile banking offerings, including enabling BPay on its ‘GoMoney’ iPhone application, supporting other mobile platforms within the next two months and delivering a customisable online transaction portal;
  • allowing enterprise customers to integrate banking services into their enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems through a newly-launched, cross-regional ‘Transactive’ platform;
  • a phased, Ion trading system upgrade that would facilitate real-time information sharing, electronic (instead of audio) broking, and automated hedging.

ANZ chief information officer Anne Weatherston expressed a preference for industry-standard software that required minimum customisation.

Where custom systems were necessary, she said systems would “need to comply with the standards of our architecture particularly with respect to data and integration”.

Rather than a core banking overhaul like that of the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ planned to invest in technology that facilitated “new business propositions and customer service outcomes”.

Weatherston noted that ANZ would continue to have three cores, as “our business strategy does not currently require us to replace or consolidate them”.

“Our analysis of the strategic requirements of ANZ’s business has persuaded us that in the next immediate years, we are not constrained by the capability of our core business,” she said, adding that its Australian core-banking system was upgraded in the 1990s.

“This is not about a core banking replacement; it’s an architected approach designed to enable the next stage of the bank’s agenda by deploying technology that is fit for purpose, integrated and standardised.”

Current systems and end-user policies

Weatherston said the strategy was built on a “pretty busy 18 months”, during which the bank upgraded its mainframe platform, Tandem transaction processing platform, and customer-facing portals.

During that time, the bank also began consolidating its New Zealand core banking platform, Asian customer databases and networks, as well as building new data centres in those two regions.

Weatherston said the bank would continue to work with Oracle for internal ERP, IBM for integration and data architecture, and Fundtech for high-value payment processing.

It was still debating low-value payment processing options, including Mambo, and was mid-way through proof-of-concept portal and security and authentication systems trials with Oracle.

Weatherston said the bank had a “very detailed line of sight” of its 6,000 technology staff, and also had “a number of services centres” in Australia and Bangalore.

She and Hodges said its IT budget would “remain flat” at about $1.5 billion a year with funds allocated according to business priority.

The bank was nine months into replacing Active Directory infrastructure to facilitate a cross-region, virtual desktop environment, expected to facilitate collaboration and lower travel costs.

It allowed “a limited amount” of consumer devices on the network, but was holding off on a wider iPad deployment due to contractual issues with the way the tablets dealt with annotations.

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