Westpac makes headway on self-healing infrastructure capabilities

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Westpac makes headway on self-healing infrastructure capabilities

Opens second integrated command centre.

Westpac has shifted into phase two of an IT service management transformation which will see it build out predictive and preventative servicing capabilities.

The news comes as the bank opens its second integrated command centre (ICC) in Sydney, built to unite Westpac’s existing monitoring, information security and incident management capabilities into a central location.

The newly-opened Sydney ICC was constructed entirely by the bank, which will also oversee its operations.

A similar Chennai centre opened in 2020, but is built and operated by outsourcer TCS exclusively for Westpac.

Among the ICC’s capabilities are AI ‘self-healing’, which is designed to assist Westpac to identify trends and patterns in how its infrastructure and applications are performing.

Westpac also plans to use predictive alerting and auto-healing to recognise and prevent issues before they can manifest in customer-facing banking services.

In the banks ‘Tech in 10’ podcast, head of service operations Janelle Howe disclosed that the bank is building out predictive and preventative IT management capabilities using machine learning and artificial intelligence.

“That artificial intelligence will be able to predict outages, and also we intend on building technology with self-healing capability," she said.

“The artificial intelligence journey that we're embarking on now for the command centre will see us do things like ... ingest all of the information we have on past incidents and allow us to learn through that information so that we can predict when future incidents are going to happen and let the team know ahead of time.

“Our first target will be around incidents."

Howe said that an “end-to-end collaborative approach” aims to prevent impact to customers and drive faster resolution of issues.

The Sydney command centre has “22 metres of dashboards" displaying the status of Westpac's applications and infrastructure” and can house 92 IT staff at capacity.

“Collectively, our teams monitor our 32 infrastructure layers across infrastructure towers such as database, middleware, network, compute, storage, workplace, in addition to over 800 applications that provide core services to our customers and staff," she said.

When an issue is identified, “red lights will flash black” and the team can locate the source.

Howe said over the past year the new capabilities had seen a 70 percent reduction in incidents and 20 percent reduction in customer impact.

“We've noticed the teams are responding faster," she said.

"There is no delay whilst we try and locate people and because we have that ability to correlate across the service, we've noticed faster responses and faster resolution.

“That's solely why we're on this journey.”

In total, Howe said it took 18 months for the entire construction of the ICC and underlying technology to be fully built out.

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