Westpac is juggling many IT pies


Banking giant Westpac today laid out a substantial roadmap for technology change within its operations, covering areas as varied as core banking systems, enterprise middleware services and integrated customer information management.

Over the next year, Westpac will implement what it described as “digital signatures” and IP telephony systems in its retail and business banking branches and build out its enterprise middleware services and an associated customer master file that will form the base technology for consolidation of credit card services, as well as the digital signatures project.

It will also install a new collections case handling system, migrate the card acquiring and issuing platform of its new subsidiary St George onto Westpac’s own platform (allowing the creation of new card products), and migrate St George onto what it described as its “new Westpac high value payments hub”. And Westpac is planning to migrate to a single HR/payroll system based on St George’s Peoplexpress system.

Westpac has joined the green IT movement and will consolidate several datacentres beginning the middle of next year. The datacentre plan is to upgrade infrastructure for St George and Westpac through the upgrade of one datacentre, the roll out of a new datacentre and the decommissioning of eight, to bring the total number of datacentres online to two.

In the middle of 2011, the enterprise middleware service and the customer master file will be delivered. The middleware will allow systems throughout the group to talk, while the master file will merge customer data from 50 systems into the one system – providing a means to better check risk and credit checks, increase cross sell and reduce marketing errors.

From the year 2013, an “integrated customer information management and approach” will be delivered. The process will involve the consolidation of business information from many systems and will improve financial and regulatory reporting.

A major platform migration will happen in 2014. Westpac deposit products will be migrated to the Hogan platform used by St George, which will in turn see 19 systems decommissioned, provide real time banking and will improve training and faster product development.

The bank revealed almost a year ago that it had decided to migrate to Hogan, which is used by its subsidiary St George. But it yesterday confirmed a delay in the timing of the project.

“We’ve put Hogan on hold to enable us to focus on more time-critical projects as part of our Strategic Investment Priorities program such as the management of customer information,” said a spokesperson for the bank. “The delay to 2014 actually reflects that we are very comfortable with the current peformance of both Hogan and the Westpac platforms.”

“Testing and release management” will be implemented for quality control of the new software and hardware involved in the new rollouts and migrations.

Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly — who has previously been critical of the bank’s technology operation — praised its group executive of technology, Bob McKinnon. “Extraordinary what Bob has achieved in two years,” she said. “Technology is an area of strategic focus. We have an advantage over our peers.”

Image credit: Winam, Creative Commons