NAB pushes fast alpha of its new CRM hard to move off Siebel, Oracle

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NAB pushes fast alpha of its new CRM hard to move off Siebel, Oracle

Shift to Salesforce, AWS accelerates.

NAB has rolled out an initial bare-bones version of its new Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) platform to staff in its small business acquisition team.

Head of NAB's CRM business solution Amilia Hird told Salesforce’s World Tour in Sydney on Wednesday that the retail bank had finished migrating the team to the financial services cloud-based platform just last week.

It follows around seven months' testing of a minimum viable product, which was initially deployed to 29 bankers last July.

Hird said that the chosen group had “a clear value proposition with Salesforce being available for them on their mobile and having access to information for the first time when they were out and about with their customers”.

“This was a great way for us to test and learn not only the technology, but our change approach, how we rolled out and engaged with bankers. It meant that we very quickly had a feedback loop to our delivery teams,” she said.

The major CRM transformation, revealed by iTnews in January, will eventually replace 12 legacy systems currently used by NAB for customer management and sales with a single Salesforce platform.

The systems being replaced include a Siebel 6.2 CRM instance, Oracle CRM On Demand and a number of existing instances of Salesforce.

The move comes as NAB accelerates its development efforts to reclaim the high ground in terms of creating a single view of the customer its successfully forged and dominated in the 1990s allowing it to capture an enviably more profitable customer base at the time. 

NAB has previously said that its new CRM platform - part of a broader $4.5 billion tech overhaul announced back in November 2017 - will enable the bank to “deliver an unprecedented pace of change and user experience”.

Scaling, and scaling is a clear priority. A team of just five NAB staff began working on the financial services cloud platform implementation around 12 months ago, but this team has now grown to around 100 staff.

While the CRM platform will eventually be used by upwards of 12,000 staff, Hird said that dropping the platform to such as small group initially had allowed the bank to test Salesforce's functionality and progressively release features. 

“We’ve obviously got a huge task ahead in terms of rolling Salesforce out in a complex environment, but we’re continuing to release features, and [as of] last Monday the rest of those 29 bankers’ teams are now using Salesforce as well,” she said.

“Next we’re focusing on the rest of our business and private bank before we look at [the] broader organisation.”

That next wave of deployment will see the platform progress beyond the bank’s 600-strong small business acquisition team into the hands of as many as 2700 users in business banking and other specialised banking teams.

It is in this phase of deployment (dubbed wave one) that the full data migration will take place and Microsoft Office 365 integration will occur. Future waves are focused on retail branches, call centres and corporate and institutional banking.

NAB’s head of technology for CRM Kirsten Roach said the minimum viable product-style deployment had required standing up the underpinning technology, which meant not “scal[ing] back on thinking in terms of scalability”.

“Once we got those tools in everyone's hands, we also needed to put some technology stakes in the ground,” she said.

Behind this was the need to “put customer data in the hands of bankers on their mobile phones”, which Roach said was previously “unheard of” at NAB.

However, the process of mastering data is currently done outside of Salesforce, requiring integration with a number of existing systems.

“We’ve had to, from day one, establish patterns of integration and from day one that was literally a daily batch update, and very soon we’ll be challenged to bring AWS into the mix and get real-time customer updates to our bankers,” she said.

The experimentation with AWS makes the CRM team one of the first to begin “rolling out cloud in a production environment”.

While NAB has been using AWS since 2012, it has only been in the past two years that the bank started migrating transactional workloads into the public cloud.

This shift has since stepped-up following the bank’s announcement of $1.5 billion tech overhaul in November 2017. 

Since then NAB has begun developing an elastic data lake on top of AWS which it is calling ‘discovery cloud’.

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