NAB deploys customer data aggregator

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NAB deploys customer data aggregator

Multiple data sources to feed hosted CRM.

The National Australia Bank will shortly deploy a customer relationship management (CRM) system that provides a single view of customers’ business, personal and wealth management accounts.

The system will be hosted by Oracle in Sydney and provided to NAB on a pay-as-you-go basis.

It will reach all NAB business bankers early next year, replacing parts of NAB’s existing Banker Work Bench, which is built on Siebel CRM technology.

NAB’s executive general manager of working capital services, David Gall, expected the new CRM system to improve cross-sell opportunities across the bank.

Gall said the bank had done a lot of work to create a user-friendly interface that provided “actionable insights” to its staff.

“What it enables us to do for the first time is for all of our bankers to see the total relationship that NAB has with that customer,” Gall said.

“We’re seeing [an opportunity] to do more with [business customers] on a personal level, around their wealth strategy and obviously the MLC suite of products, and also around their wholesale banking and markets activity – how they manage their foreign exchange and risk management products as well.”

Gall acknowledged that sharing customer data across divisions – including NAB Business Banking, NAB Wholesale and superannuation brand MLC – was initially a challenge due to the various privacy issues and regulatory bodies involved.

Bank staff previously had access to a "good chunk" of the data but relied on spreadsheets to glean further insights about customers' relationships with the bank, he said.

NAB’s executive general manager of enterprise transformation Adam Bennett noted that a similar capability had already been deployed within NAB’s Private Bank.

“There’s some good precedence because our private bank, which is part of our wealth business, already has a view across each part of our business,” Bennett said.

“We are all the same corporate entity and we have been able to sort our way through presenting that data from different systems.”

Single-tenant IT as a service

NAB assured journalists that the new Banker Work Bench CRM would be housed on single-tenant infrastructure from an Oracle data centre in Sydney.

The bank has been moving to consume infrastructure and services on a pay-as-you-go basis as part of a multi-year ‘Total Environment Transformation’ program.

Chief technology officer Denis McGee said the bank had struck “consumption-based” managed services contracts with key suppliers IBM and Telstra.

He told iTnews that the vendors typically already had excess capacity – such as bandwidth on existing fibre links or additional servers – installed specifically to suit NAB requirements.

“At the network layer, [Telstra] typically provide you with a certain amount of bandwidth and there’s a golden screwdriver to ramp that up and then scale it down again,” he explained.

“[For IBM], you’ll find typically in a mainframe, there is already capacity sitting there. It’s more cost effective for a vendor to deliver something that’s pretty much already configured for use, or to what we say we’ll grow to in a certain period of time.

“They build that into their pricing because they’re going to have to recover their depreciation and amortisation. What we need is the ability to ramp up – internet banking peaks are a classic [example].

“That’s not something that is familiar to some of the service suppliers but I think it’s the way that we’ll see business done in future.”

McGee acknowledged that public cloud services like those offered by Rackspace or Amazon Web Services might also allow it to scale up and down rapidly but said the bank had data privacy concerns.

Rival Commonwealth Bank last week revealed that it had shifted a dozen applications onto Amazon, leading to a 40 percent reduction in infrastructure costs.

CommBank uses a ServiceMesh Agility orchestration platform to move workloads between Fujitsu, Datacom, Amazon Web Services and in-house infrastructure.

McGee said NAB had “experimented” with public cloud services for marketing campaigns but would retain its data in a private cloud.

For the past two years, NAB has been promoting the establishment of cloud standards and application programming interfaces (APIs) as a member of the Open Data Centre Alliance.

The bank is also taking steps towards allowing workloads to be moved between in-house and external systems by deploying software to facilitate use of remote storage systems.

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