Westpac to boost tech investment to $1.3 billion

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Westpac to boost tech investment to $1.3 billion

Digital, 'customer service hub' central to new strategy.

Westpac will increase its annual investment spend by 20 percent to $1.3 billion to fund a long-term technology standardisation and simplification drive, which will include the build of its central customer identifier.

Bank CEO Brian Harzter today said the increased investment spend was intended to propel the bank towards its goal of becoming "one of the world's great service companies". 

"By investing in digital, we can use technology to redesign the customer experience, making things simpler, easier and better for our customers and our people," he said.

The money will go towards four streams of work: customer experience, operational efficiency, common platforms and infrastructure, and 'digital readiness'.

The simplification and standardisation drive was signalled by CIO Dave Curran not long after he was appointed to the role last year.

The service strategy outlined today includes the bank's work to deliver a 'customer service hub'.

The hub will provide a single customer identifier at the core of Westpac's architecture, centralising the disparate business logic that has split across numerous systems as a result of the bank's rush to deliver new products to market.

Westpac is yet to decide on the technology that will form the core component of the hub. Its new CSC Celeriti core banking platform - when complete - will serve as the system of record for accounts. A standard set of APIs will allow the hub to interact with any application.

Westpac today said the implementation of the customer service hub would begin with its wealth and home ownership channels.

The hub will provide wealth a single operating platform across invesments, superannuation and self-managed super funds.

It will give home ownership a single origination solution across Westpac's brands for mortgages, offset accounts and insurance, while staff will be able to access full use of customer data for approvals, targeted pricing and special offers.

The hub will allow Westpac to centralise data and eliminate fragmented and duplicate records, re-use code and facilitate straight-through processing, among other things, but most importantly for the bank, enable it to create a comprehensive profile of the customer.

For the remaining streams of work, Westpac will focus on strengthening its infrastructure by increasing its use of hybrid cloud technology - which it expects will deliver "material" cost savings over the next three years. It has been contacted for further detail.

Curran and his team will also work to deliver a common set of systems of record and infrastructure across the Australian bank.

He has previously signalled the customer service hub will likely begin operating in late 2016.


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