NAB shifts priorities in its annual IT spend

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NAB shifts priorities in its annual IT spend

Fast-tracks money for more data analytics and cloud.

NAB is reprioritising its $1.3 billion annual investment to enable it to put more resources into data and analytics as well as its continued migration to cloud.  

The bank’s overall investment spend will remain the around same as last year.

But CEO Ross McEwan told the bank's full year 2021 results that NAB would increase the proportion given over to discretionary spending to fast-track automation and simplification projects.

“In the prior years, the focus of our investment has been on building our technology foundations and responding to regulatory and compliance requirements,” McEwan said.

“This mix is changing and we expect to increase the allocation of discretionary investment from 39 percent in 2021 to approximately 50 percent [of spend] in 2022.

“This means that more of our investment dollars can be focused on accelerating simplification and automation in our core products.”

The refreshed allocation leaves roughly $650 million for NAB to invest across its key areas including developing a single end-to-end mortgage platform, its continued cloud migration and enhanced use of data and analytics.

The other $650 million will be placed into “improvements in automating our control environment.”

“This includes the investment we're making to help keep the bank and customers safe from growing threats of fraud, cybercrime, and other criminal activity," McEwan said.

McEwan said a four year investment in technology platforms and capabilities has enabled NAB to “increasingly leverage digital data and analytics to achieve our ambitions.”

The bank is “very focused and disciplined on that $1.3 billion spend,” according to McEwan.

“This year we're spending less on the issues that we've had to fix and more on the ‘go forward’," he said.

“So you're starting to see much more positive impact on the areas of customer and colleague, which is what you want, and over time we'll see even more of it being spent on discretionary.”

McEwan added NAB’s appointment of Angela Mentis in the newly-created role of group executive for data, digital and analytics will help to accelerate progress further.

Full year highlights

Over the year NAB advanced its strategic priorities through various partnerships including successfully integrating digital receipt fintech Slyp into its mobile app and led a $35 million investment in pocket money app, Spriggy.  

McEwan added NAB will continue with integrating 86 400 into UBank, stating the combined approach “provides an opportunity to deliver a market-leading digital bank experience with access to NAB's balance sheet to support growth.”

On its cloud migration journey, NAB reported 54 percent of apps are now running on the cloud, up from the 45 percent stated in May this year.

It is still targeting 80 percent of apps being migrated over the next three years.

NAB said that since 2018, it has now built over 300 microservices and 2500 APIs - up from 1600 also recorded in May.

McEwan told iTnews during a media briefing that NAB “should probably be one of the leading banks in the world in this area”.

“It is helping us create a much, much better platform to work off and as you're seeing we now focus more on the applications that make a difference to our colleagues and customers rather than just creating stability in the bank, which we have from a technology perspective," he said.

“So there's lots of work to be done there. I think we're in pretty good shape going forward to have more systems and applications that help our customers with the financial needs.”

McEwan also reinforced his stance on cryptocurrencies, stating he remains cautious on consumer trading solutions.

“I'm always very cautious on things that are going incredibly well and prices are rising very quickly…. but we are looking at cryptocurrencies," he said.

“We're looking at a number of new tradeable items, but at this stage nothing that we would be announcing.”

NAB reported a statutory net profit of $6.36 billion while its cash earnings rose 76.8 percent over 2020 to $6.56 billion.

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