Westpac runs internal hackathon on open data

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Westpac runs internal hackathon on open data

Using same challenges it is crowdsourcing solutions for.

Westpac has run an internal hackathon over the past two days to find ways of harnessing open data to solve customer problems using mostly Microsoft Azure cloud services.

The hackathon used the same five open data challenges that Westpac identified for its externally-focused Innovation Challenge, but sought solutions developed by internal teams.

It’s the fifth time Westpac has run a hackathon of this nature, and this one brought together 105 staff, 20 mentors - who included past participants, and 26 expert coaches.

“The aim of the hackathon is to identify innovative solutions that can solve both Westpac's and our customers' most pressing needs,” Westpac’s head of innovation Kate Cooper said.

“This year we are focused on the opportunities emerging with data and we’ve centred around five highly regulated and scrutinised sectors: micro business, energy, insurance, government and aged care."

For the first time, the hackathon included a team split between Westpac’s Sydney offices and the bank’s co.Lab in Singapore.

That team appeared to come up with a solution called ‘Pool’, which was described as a way to “pool with like-minded peers to get discounts and easily split your regular expenses”.

A team called ‘Coverbuddy’ was revealed as the winner - suggesting an insurance-focused app - though little was said about their solution.

Microsoft Azure was used as the main partner platform for staff to develop their solutions on - and Microsoft had 10 engineers on hand to help the teams involved.

iTnews revealed in February that Westpac was standing up a virtual private cloud on Azure, which isolates locally-hosted Azure resources exclusively for the bank’s use.

The hackathon and innovation challenge are the latest moves by Westpac as it seeks to establish its credentials in the open data space.

Banking is the first industry to be impacted by the government’s consumer data right (CDR) and associated open banking rules, meaning they will need to be able to provide consumers with their banking data on-request.

Other ‘big four’ banks like ANZ have also been looking at new ways to harness data to keep customers happy in an open banking world.

Westpac launched an API for generic product data in early July as part of the federal government’s pilot program for open banking.

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