But when we develop these strategies, we need to serve both internal and external customers – and to do that, we need to work hard to understand them and their needs. As a technology group in a bank, we must also ensure that our work is clearly aligned with the business strategy.
“Technology will continue to affect every aspect of the business, and we need to understand customers and what matters to them more fully than ever, both internally and externally.”
So when I am asked about ANZ’s technology strategy and the key pillars we focus on, the priority for the group technology function is that our strategy has to align with how far the business wants to go.
Our CEO Shane Elliott identifies four key areas of our business strategy: creating suggestions that our customers love; building platforms that give us opportunities to scale; seeking partnerships in an increasingly digital world; and focusing on the importance of our people and our goal.
In order to be aligned with this, the technology group must be both a tool and an engine. After the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that technology needed to have more space on the table in most large organizations.
People are aware of the importance of technology and this means that our group must have strong opinions on how to take advantage of this awareness to provide better results for our customers.
A major part of our goal is to support the adaptive, agile ANZ business adopted a few years ago. The more flexible workforce has different technological needs. So less than traditional monolithic technologies and more understanding of key components.
Continuing from the Big Bang
We need to think about how we can use areas like the cloud, things like integration, and the way we build integration points between those components.
We also need to think about things like the tools that bankers and customers need when making investments – while constantly assessing our environment.
Crucially, what we are doing is not a big bang project, it is not a one-time thing we need to go and build more. It builds an adaptive technology stack that will support a business that is becoming more adaptable.
We have made great strides in this regard.
One area we also focused on is doing a better job of convincing businesses of the appropriateness of technology. Historically, not everyone has always been happy with some of their experiences.
Our job is to face these problems and explain to business the value of the work we do. It has been a long way, but I believe that the technology group is a respected part of ANZ and we know that our work will make a significant difference for our customers.
Make sure they have a seamless experience, whether they’re retail, business or institutional customers, and whether it’s applications like ANZ Plus or our transition to new payment services.
Technology will continue to touch every aspect of the business and we need to understand the customer and what matters to them more fully than ever, both internally and externally.
We analyze these needs and decide how technology can make a difference. A good internal example is the launch of Microsoft Teams during COVID-19. It would be easy to just unfold it, turn it on, and say the job is done.
But by spending time with our employees, we got a better idea of the challenges they face. We have then developed and implemented a number of educational programs to specifically address these challenges.
We were creative about the way we hired staff to get them through this early period of work from home. We already have a very high team acceptance rate throughout the organization.
A new world in the cloud
Another key area of focus is our migration to the cloud. We have a clear plan and are in the process of migrating our technology assets to the cloud.
We would expect that in the next three to five years, most of our assets will be in the cloud. We certainly believe in the basic principles around the cloud when it comes to automation, resilience, availability and resilience.
There will be some components that we will not move to the cloud for a number of reasons. So it will be a hybrid strategy to use external cloud providers, but also to have a cloud environment with our own data center for those applications that we choose not to move.
Another interesting development in the cloud comes from the ANZ Plus proposal, which was launched recently. It was a useful catalyst for what we were already doing in the cloud.
ANZ Plus gave us the opportunity to think differently about how we combine a number of technologies or components using the cloud as a basis. This allowed us to work with new infrastructure as well as new application providers.
These include financial services companies such as Zafin, but also organizations such as Salesforce, which has extensive experience in the cloud. ANZ Plus has allowed us to effectively build some of the key components of our technology stack, starting with the customer and moving back.
Given the complexity of this environment and the amount of cloud-based components, what we have learned can be applied elsewhere in the organization.
So the benefits of ANZ Plus for the wider technology group are twofold. The procedures and ideas we have developed will be used many times elsewhere within ANZ.
But also our people learned new skills by developing ANZ Plus. Some of these people will eventually work in areas outside of ANZ Plus and apply these new skills there. The organization will benefit significantly from this innovation, which can have significant effects on flow.
Gerard Florian is the executive director of the technology group at ANZ
This article is adapted from a podcast originally published by IT news