How CommBank designed IT-as-a-service

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How CommBank designed IT-as-a-service

Slashes IT infrastructure costs in favour of 'higher value activity'.

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The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has spent the past four years developing a cloud operating model to deliver IT platforms, infrastructure, software and data as a service, across the group.

The move, championed by chief information officer Michael Harte, was not initially popular, sparking a number of technology executive departures in early years.

But it has allowed the bank to slash its IT infrastructure spend, which now accounts for 26 percent of a $1.6 billion annual IT budget.

Harte told reporters last week that infrastructure previously cost $860 million a year, accounting for 75 percent of a $1.1 billion budget.

He said the bank looked to free up capital from IT infrastructure to invest in business logic, data and new customer-facing technologies.

“The hosting of is with Amazon and we will continue to look for cloud service providers to host anything we can because we’ve got better things to do with our money,” he said.

“In some cases, some of the services we get are one-tenth the cost of trying to do that work internally.

“We’d like to invest in rich content for our customers … and rich data for customers, because that’s how we can confer value.”


Harte said CommBank sought to deliver “everything-as-a-service”, with his Enterprise Services team now delivering the likes of human resources and customer relationship management (CRM) software to business units on demand.

CommBank’s “everything-as-a-service” model is built on six core tenets: pay-as-you-go; contestability; on-demand; automation; standardisation; and workload portability.

The IT team offers a set of standard services to the business through a self-service catalogue. Business units approach multiple internal or external vendors for their IT requirements and pay for products and services on a metered, chargeback basis.

“We started at infrastructure and platform as a service,” Harte said.

“The most obvious examples are where we have virtualised services and now work to mobilise services, which means taking them out of machines, standardising the machines around x86 and then being able to move from internal servers to external servers.

“We have human resource, we have financial planning, we have cash management, we have content management, we have CRM all available as application-as-a-service both for the corporation and for our customers.

“Some of them are provided by us, from our cloud, and some of them are provided for us, by other parties, from the cloud.”

Continue to page two to find out how CommBank influenced the development of its vendor-supplied orchestration platform and how the cloud model is defining its commercial relationships.

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