The Westpac dialectic:
IT outsourcing and warring narratives


opinion/analysis If you were a guardsman patrolling Westpac’s chrome and steel fortress in downtown Sydney as the company held its annual results briefing session several weeks ago, it would probably have been inevitable at some point that you would have recognised that something had gone rotten in good Queen Kelly’s normally prosperous realm.

On the face of it (as all great enterprises constantly strive to assure the public) everything was going swimmingly. The bank had announced record profits — up 10 percent to almost seven billion dollars — for the past year, and the future was looking swell. The annexure of luscious tier two target St George? Complete. Deeper relationships with loyal customers? Growing. Productivity savings kicking in? Nice.

Tick, tick, tick. As with all annual results sessions, you got the feeling that Westpac was heading for an explosive finale. Boom! We conquer the world. Make all of our shareholders millionaires. Buy CommBank. Whatever. Something larger than life. Something to inspire us all.

But as the day — and the week following it — wore on, it became increasingly clear that a thread of unease had made its way into Westpac’s golden future. A hint of that horrible concept which every major Australian corporation constantly dreads being associated with. Something rotten in the back of the fridge. As Gail Kelly smiled, nodded and accepted the plaudits of analysts graciously, whispers were beginning to circulate that the bank was planning a large round of job cuts in its technology operation.

To have this scenario associated with a record annual results session is the definition of a no-no, as viewed by any company’s board. Instantly, your successes turn into failures, as the redundancies become the story. A layoffs angle associated with a record profit session is every journalists’ dream and every chief executive’s nightmare. It allows the press to feel good about itself and get on its high horse — exposing corporate greed, putting the manacles on power and portraying smiling, well-dressed executives as Machiavellian manipulators. It allows unions to do the same, and forces the public into believing the worst of Australia’s corporate giants. In short, it’s top stuff. Not exactly the image that Westpac wants to be associated with.

And so, in its own moment of crisis several weeks ago, Westpac bank tried to spin its way out of its little mess.

Applying tried and tested techniques imported from Westpac’s marketing department, Kelly re-branded the offshoring of jobs as “best-sourcing” of the bank’s technology resources. Redundancies aren’t redundancies in 2011. What they are is bringing “rigour, discipline and cost efficiency”. They’re “more efficient workforce management”, ‘leveraging partners’, suppliers managing functions on “an outcomes basis”, “scalability”, “flexibility”, “a step change” in supporting the bank’s applications, and more.

The changes would involve “systematically identifying and engaging the most skills and cost efficient resources to identify functions or processes, whether they work through us directly or indirectly through one of our local or off-shore supplier partnerships”, iTNews quoted Kelly as saying.

“In other words, we specify what we’re looking for from that function, the processes are clearly documented, they bring their resources, expertise and people to it and we get the flexibility and get the best practice that they can bring to us,” she added later, according to The AustralianIT. “It’s a new model, it gives us scalability, it gives us flexibility.”

And Australia’s technology press ate it up wholesale. Headlines like “Westpac details multi-sourcing plans”, “Westpac CEO Gail Kelly spruiks ‘best sourcing plans'” and even “Westpac trusts contractors with more work” exploded across the web, as the bank’s new IT strategy found its footing and took on a life of its own.

If you believed the hype, a newer, more complex form of banking was emerging. One which would take us all forward into a glorious future, leveraging the right “resources” and improving productivity and effectiveness. As Westpac’s results briefing calmed down, this became the dominant narrative externally to the bank. There were no outraged staff members. No journalists asking pesky questions. No — God forbid — political interference. I’m sure the executive team down at Westpac Place was satisfied. All was well in Kelly’s kingdom. Calm and quiet — just the way CEOs like it.

Pedal hits the metal
But inside the bank, unfortunately, all was not well.

Just days after Kelly announced Westpac’s new ‘best sourcing’ IT strategy on Thursday November 3rd, the bank’s employees began to feel nervous. What, after all, did ‘best sourcing’ mean? Some articles on Westpac’s announcements — this one by iTNews being the most notable and detailed — had contained disturbing implications. Did Westpac expect “staff cuts”, as the publication reported? Was it true that possible suppliers included Indian outsourcing giants Tata, Infosys and Wipro, as well as IBM (which also has a substantial facility in India)? Sure, most of these names were already strongly associated with Westpac. What did “best sourcing” truly mean?

The answer was to come swiftly.

“Westpac is outsourcing all development functions over the next 20 months,” one industry source told me early the next week, as the rumours caught fire. “Affects maybe 2,000 jobs under the Software Delivery Applications area.”

The whispers continued to come thick and fast. Firstly, the announcement was to come from Kelly herself. Then, things shifted and it was to come from highly regarded Westpac chief information officer Bob McKinnon. The figure shifted as well. First, 2,000 staff were to be under review, as that was the total amount of staff in the Software Development Applications area. Then things moved — the outsourcing was to affect just some 1,200 staff who did development and testing work. Now, the rumour mill has focused on compulsory leave over Christmas for some staff.

As is turns out, Westpac did make an announcement on the day the rumours suggested. The bank confirmed in a statement last week that it opened consultation with staff on the matter on November 8 — a Tuesday. Five days after its annual results announcement the previous week. Five days in which rumours flooded around Westpac and the remainder of the banking sector like wildfire.

And indeed, although the bank said it doesn’t know how many staff were to be affected by the cuts, the 1,200 number keeps on floating around.

“As you know, we are currently at historically high levels of employment and have bought in an additional 1,200 contractors in the past year and a half to work specifically on application services work,” the bank’s spokesperson said last week. “As we are currently undergoing consultation and then transition we are not yet in a position to confirm future staffing levels and the breakdown between permanent staff and contractors.”

After the announcement, the situation only got worse for Westpac, as panicked internal staff called their union representatives in for help. That same Tuesday, the Financial Services Union wasted no time in issuing an inflammatory statement on the matter, including all the keywords to get journalists fired up. “Westpac announces first job cuts after making record $7 billion profit,” the union’s headline screamed. “The job cuts, mainly in Sydney and Adelaide, will mean that a number of IT functions will no longer be handled by Westpac, and will instead be provided by outside companies both in Australia and offshore.”

Boom. There’s a hot story right there. And as they had the week before, the headlines flowed in. But this time, Westpac wouldn’t have been too happy with them. “Best sourcing” was out. “Outsourcing to India” and “cutting Australian jobs” was in. “Union fires up over Westpac outsourcing,” wrote ZDNet. “Westpac to shed jobs as cost cutting bites,” was how the Sydney morning Herald labelled it. And iTNews was more blatant: “Westpac cuts 188 tech jobs”. Even Delimiter itself got into the act, with “Outsourcing to affect 188 Westpac jobs”.

Despite the bad press, the headlines didn’t appear to phase Westpac. The bank issued a cool statement noting it had announced to staff that it was “changing the way we outsourced some roles” and that the 188 jobs referred to “an initial consultation process”, but that it would “minimise the overall impact on our technology workforce”. Above all, Westpac emphasised it couldn’t be sure how many Australian jobs could eventually be affected. “The final impact on our full-time staff will not be known for a number of months as we work through the transition,” the bank said.

But despite Westpac’s best intentions, these comments sent a number of readers hopping mad.

Delimiter subsequently received a throng of anonymous tips alleging that the bank — as the union had already stated — had been outsourcing “for well over 18 months already”, was already using Indians in bulk for onshore jobs under 457 Visa, was handing over intellectual property to companies like Infosys and Tata, and was even keeping some Australian jobs just until they could ensure the Indians were reliable.

And there appeared to be some truth to some of the comments.

Westpac’s spokesperson confirmed it was already using a combination of permanent staff, local contractors, specialist organisations and its “existing offshore suppliers” to support its application development and maintenance needs. They confirmed the bank was looking at how that mix might change, as the bank’s business requirements changed. And they also confirmed comments that the bank had recently been integrating its BT and institutional bank technology workforce into its main technology division.

Do I think Westpac is looking to outsource 2,000, or even 1,200 staff? Do I think it’s not protecting its intellectual property? Do I think it had shoddy employment practices? No — there’s not much evidence that things are that bad, although I’m sure there are elements of these issues floating around, as there are at most companies. But some people do believe these things. And some of those people are the bank’s own staff members.

The wash
Now, what I don’t want to do with this article is give readers the idea that there is anything wrong with Westpac’s strategy of outsourcing jobs to Indian IT firms.

Frankly, and I can’t stress this highly enough, the Australian business community is currently extremely reliant on offshoring initiatives for one simple reason: It is completely impossible to source the amount of skilled labour which major companies like Westpac require purely through on-shore labour — and certainly not at any price level which would be considered reasonable. I’ve heard this story time and time again from Australian executives — enough times that I believe it to be true.

Secondly, it is also true that if you are one of the Westpac staff affected by the move, it is highly likely that your experience in Australia’s banking sector will enable you to find a new job — or, more likely a new, well-paid contract — pretty quickly. Good IT skills are in short supply in Australia right now, and the banking technology world is a small one. If you’ve got a few connections, you’ll probably pull through OK.

The angered emails I’ve received over the past several weeks on the matter, the heavy-handed union claims on the issue and the level of angst out there about Westpac’s actions … are pretty much overblown. Calm down, people. Westpac is enacting a legitimate business strategy here. It’s not the end of the world. ANZ has had a whole in-house IT facility in Bangalore for years. Offshoring is speedily becoming the norm — not the outrage which the unions would have us believe.

However, what is also true is that Westpac has enacted this strategy in a coldly manipulative way which I, and I’m sure many of its staff and contractors, find fairly offensive and a little Orwellian. It has attempted to rigorously control the way it communicates its job cuts, both externally and internally, in a way that will lead it to the greatest advantage — but in a way that has required it to obfuscate and hide the truth deceptively.

The bank’s marketing-esque ‘best sourcing’ language used at its annual results session was a blatant attempt to cloak its IT offshoring initiatives in a golden varnish of shiny corporate-speak. Take this example of nonsense doubletalk, for example:

“The current challenging market conditions require Technology to improve our capability, agility and productivity. To achieve this, a “step change” is required in our approach to sourcing and delivering applications services. We are moving to adopt an outcomes-based services approach to sourcing and delivering applications services. This approach will improve our productivity and agility through optimising our engagement with and value obtained from our preferred suppliers.”

What exactly does this mean? To most Australians, it will mean just one thing: Absolutely nothing. To a certain variety of corporate yes-man, it will mean: “We’re doing something, but we don’t want to put it in words which actually mean anything”. And to Westpac’s panicked staff, right now it means: “Get off the sinking ship before you’re forcibly jettisoned.”

I also don’t really believe Westpac when it says it has no idea how many staff will eventually go. These things don’t happen overnight — if the bank is confident enough to begin discussing the matter publicly, it has to have been in closed door discussions with the outsourcers for months — perhaps many months. In my experience, McKinnon and the other Westpac technology brass have always had a very, very concrete and solid idea of how they want the bank’s IT strategy to go forward.

Despite this, however, the bank last week chose to tell staff and union members that just 188 jobs were at risk in the short term. This action represents something fairly cold — a calculation that the bank can get away with more cuts than it would otherwise, if it sugar-coats them and extends them into a lengthy series of small job loss packages over time rather than a lot hit on the head in one fell swoop.

The difference between the narratives generated by Westpac and the Financial Services Union is that Westpac was easily able to predict what the union would do, confronted with any job cuts at all. So, in a calculated fashion, it limited its losses. Instead of fighting one major battle, it chose to fight the union — which represents its own employees — in a guerrilla war of attrition. It will cut down resistance to the job cuts one step at a time, one small division at a time, until it reaches the level it wants to. It’s a proactive strategy which will ultimately defeat the more reaction union, as it is designed to do. In comparison, the union is reacting entirely as predicted. Outrage, outrage, burn and outrage. It’s what unions do best. Westpac knows this.

The interesting thing about the first (at its annual results) and second wave (the union’s statement the next week) of reports about Westpac’s IT outsourcing efforts over the past several weeks is that they actually contain almost the exact same information. But the information was framed differently. One man’s “best sourcing” and “more efficient workforce management” is another man’s “188 jobs offshored”. One man’s ‘valued partners’ becomes another man’s Indian offshoring initiative.

From my perspective as an onlooker, it’s like watching a vast smothering blanket being draped over Australia’s banking technology coversation. Right now, with respect to its staff internally, onlookers externally and third-party stakeholders like its unions, Westpac is not being clear. It might be taking the right business strategic approach — in fact, knowing its CIO, Bob McKinnon, I’m sure that it is. But the way it is communicating that change reminds one of a vast, multi-headed bureaucracy stifling all dissent.

From this angle, it’s not hard to see why unions and other employee groups get so frustrated with corporations like Westpac. In a vain attempt to find out what’s happening with the bank’s workforce, they are confronted with waves of corporate jargon. Journalists are pre-brainwashed so that repetitive small rounds of cuts can be made later without fanfare. And staff members only find out about things after everyone else … including, most likely, many staff from the vendors who will help replace them.

One of the most extraordinary things about this whole process is that previously, I had considered Westpac one of the most open of Australia’s banks. I’ve sat down over lunch with its CIO Bob McKinnon and other senior executives. I’ve quizzed the bank many times on individual news stories — such as its shift to Microsoft Exchange — and gotten fairly normal responses. But after what we’ve seen from Westpac over the past few weeks, I’m disinclined to continue to trust it as I have been.

As a technology journalist, I’ve always been willing to accept a certain amount of conceptualised thinking. When you’re at a 30,000-foot view as a CEO or CIO, overseeing thousands of staff at a major organisation, those staff necessarily become ‘resources’ rather than people. Trends, cycles, variances. All of these things become more important than individuals when they’re writ large over such a huge canvas.

But there is a difference between that kind of conceptual thinking and the kind of cold manipulation which Westpac has carried out over the past few weeks. “Best sourcing” is not an acceptable metaphor for reviewing thousands of people’s jobs. “More efficient workforce management” should not be used as a catchphrase for a process which will influence the future careers of staff members who have worked passionately for your business’s advantage.

At a certain point, corporate-speak becomes more than an abstraction. It becomes more than a useful metaphor. It becomes something which is simply undesirable in the honest relationship between an employer and and an employee. It becomes something which is all-too pervasive in our media-saturated society. It becomes something which we must make war against, and attempt to outlaw. It becomes nothing more than that most odious of things: Spin.

Spin, spin, glorious spin.


  1. “I’ve heard this story time and time again from Australian executives — enough times that I believe it to be true”

    Insert ‘Wall Street’ for ‘Australian’ and you have a fairly decent explanation why the US government is screwed. And a fairly decent reason for disregarding the entire content of the article due to the rank insanity of one sentence…

    • hey Duke,

      really? It’s been my experience that there really is an IT skills crunch in Australia. Turnover of even medium-skilled IT staff is pretty high, and the top-end skills are really heavily in demand. It looks like Westpac needs a stack of test and dev people here — and I just don’t think they’d be able to keep as stable a workforce in that area in Australia as they would be overseas. There’s a reason why even Australian outsourcing companies are setting up shop in India, Malaysia, etc etc. I just don’t think we have the skills in Australia — and when we do, I’m not sure people want to work as permanent staff. I think a lot of IT people want to work on higher rates on projects that they enjoy.

      Happy to be proven wrong — but I’ve seen this too many times not to believe it.

      • Fair call, my inherent distrust of the big end of town boys may have been pressing my keys! :)

      • There is no IT skills shortage. This is all Westpac spin. Don’t believe the corporate BS Renai.

        I work in a subsidiary of Westpac where we have been sending Aussie jobs to to India within our IT division.

        We have lost many highly skilled permanent staff and contractors with no attempts to keep them by
        upper management. Does this sound like a skills shortage when good contractors with 5 or 10 years
        experience are not renewed, even when they want to be? or when they want to switch to permanent?

        When new onshore permanent and contractors become available to our division (very often) – we are
        informed there are onshore hiring bans in place from upper management and we must source all of our
        new staff from India. That’s not a shortage of onshore staff! It is Westpac mandated onshore job shortage.

        The problems of this outsourcing in my experience are many.

        Firstly, the competency of the staff which are supplied by the offshore partner(s) is bordering on a
        joke. I would estimate that 97% of them would be terminated from our employ if they were Australian.
        I won’t go into detail because you will think I am making some of the horror stories up. Let’s just
        say they are bad.

        Secondly, the turnover is huge – far greater than the turnover we get from Australian employees.
        We train many of these people and get them up to the level of a fresh IT graduate (because the
        starting point is so much lower than an IT graduate). The people our division have trained realise
        they are worth more money and they leave with multiple hundreds of hours of training. Money and
        status is far more important to the Indians than Australians, hence the higher turnover.

        The division are then forced to train the next one so that they may leave when they too realise they are
        worth more money. Ad nauseum.

        Thirdly is the cost, although these offshore people cost one third of an onshore Australian, they
        are very slow and their work has to be reworked by onshore Australians.
        So you end up making the cost 100% (Aussie rework) + 33% (Indian fail).
        The division is also seeing that our offshore provider would take much longer for their IT tasks
        (generally around 300%) compared to an equivalent Australian contractor.
        So your 33% then gets much closer to the Australian onshore price – factoring in the low quality –
        offshoring is poor logic.

        Don’t fool yourself into thinking there is more to this than lowering expenses on a balance sheet Renai.

        This measure is entirely about costs – Renai your experience may be that experienced Australian
        employees are disinterested in grunt work. However my experience dealing with Indian’s in our division
        is that the exact same attitude exists in India. There is nothing more to it than costs – I have asked
        our upper managers and (on the down low) they told me it was all about costs.

        This entire strategy reminds me of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” story by Hans Christian Andersen.

        Gail Kelly being the Emperor, Indian outsourcing companies the tailors.

        Kelly is attempting to twiddle EBIDTA numbers by a couple of basis points to keep a bunch of simpleton shareholders
        happy, while she causes untold long term damage to Westpac’s IT systems.

        The shareholders are the ones who should be worried about this situation because the damage she is doing to
        Westpac’s IT systems cannot be repaired without massive outlays of capital.

        Such short term, “balance sheet orientated” thinking will only result in Westpac having to rewrite many of their key
        systems in the future when they realise the errors of their way.

        Expect to see Gail Kelly move on from Westpac before the damage is discovered (no doubt looking like a heroine and
        greatly welcomed by her new company) .

        She sits in her 9 million dollar mansion and then tells us we need to tighten our belts and no pay rise this year for
        most people even though we made a 7 billion dollar profit. Is it any wonder morale is so low at Westpac?

        Keep in mind, I believe in a meritocracy – I judge people based on their skills and abilities and not the colour of their skin.
        My experience so far is that the skills and abilities of the Indian people we have had to deal with from our partner companie(s)
        so far have not been up to par.
        If the offshore guys were good I would be singing their praises here.
        So yes I am making generalisations about a country, but it isn’t skin colour related – it is skills related. I am sure in future Indian people will be as well trained and as skilful as Western countries, it is only a matter of two or three more decades. Right now though, it is not that way.
        There are a few offshore outliers who do not conform to the generalisations I have made above and for those people I apologise but the majority (97%) have ruined the reputation of the minority (3% skilled/semi-skilled).

        *excuse grammar/spelling/rambling

        • hey Alan,

          without wanting to refute the rest of your post, in which you make some excellent points, let me take you up on this statement: “There is no IT skills shortage.”

          I’m sorry, but this simply isn’t true. Not only does Australia have a skills shortage in IT, it has a skills shortage in many different areas. As a manager and an employer over the past few years this has become blindingly obvious. It’s the number one problem for most businesses seeking to expand.



          • Sorry Renai but I have to disagree with you on that point, and I have to agree with everything that Alan has stated. We have outsourced to a northern Indian firm and have discovered that they are even worse than the norm that Alan is referring to.
            I have also worked for a Tier 1 global SI where they had an entire level dedicated to Australian Managers to overcome issues with the caste system – by inserting overseas (in this case, Australian) managers Indians could be promoted on merit rather than on their caste or religion. But when it came to the GFC and the choices were reduced to China or India, the managers were favouring the Chinese as they won’t leave your company for (in the words of one manager) “a dollar a day more or a fancier title.” This coming from a Tier 1 global SI who I think know a bit more about the global situation than you appear to do.
            The current outsourcing contract is a joke. The project schedule is only maintained to “keep the customer happy.” It is not adhered to and is a waste of time to review. The quality of documentation is terrible. The system build is 1.5 years behind schedule and looks like it will take another year before we are provided with anything worth bringing to UAT. Instead of making a concerted effort to address this issue we get threats of walk outs unless more money gets paid – even though we keep getting commercially driven schedules and keep being provided with reports that have no basis in fact, i.e. are full of outright lies. The worst part is that we are not being treated with the respect that a customer deserves. Instead we get treated like we are an imposition.
            The productivity per unit $ is the measure that should be utilised when evaluating outsourcing. If the productivity is 20% of an Australian FTE and you are paying 33% of an Australian FTE then you are being ripped off. This plus a loss of control over your resources and Intellectual Property is why the USA is now reversing this trend. Unfortunately Australian businesses have a tendency to see technology as a cost centre instead of as a business driver which is why we see for example our retailers decrying internet purchases from overseas and the like. While we remain a nation of technological luddites don’t expect this situation to change. We will keep on making the same mistakes and thereby be reducing shareholder value without realising that we are in fact driving the company to the wall as has happened with so many retailers as of late.

  2. I find it hard to believe someone that must be reasonably well educated actually believing anything a CEO has to say when they are questioned about laying off staff. Each time I hear about redundancies that are due to off shoring I always think about titles like “CEOs and shareholders live the comfortable life at the expense Australian workers”. Off shoring has nothing to do with anything other than reducing costs. I have nothing against cost reduction, as long as people do not lose their jobs overseas in a one for one swap.

    • I don’t know — from my perspective it has to do with more than reducing costs. I feel it also has a lot to do with getting steady, reliable staff who will churn stuff out without all the headaches that come with staff in Australia. As an employer and manager myself, I’ve found it tough to employ staff in Australia for many reasons — yes, high salaries, but also regulations upon regulations that make it insanely complicated to employ people, lots of jobs for people with good skills which make it hard to keep people, and also just the fact that Australians, once they get to a certain level, don’t like doing grunt work.

      I think it used to be about costs. But I don’t think it is any more.

      • Churn of staff is of their own doing. If the business is not loyal to the staff how can the business expect staff to be loyal to them.

        • Let us throw in “If the business is not loyal to the Australian Customers, how can the business expect Australian Customers to be loyal to them.”
          Fly in the ointment?

      • As a Westpac IT worker I have seen figures that indicate that the costs of the outsource workers are a third of the in house workers so internally it is all about cost reductions.

        I think you are feeding a Westpac corporate spin story if you are saying that it is about getting steady reliable staff with out any churn. I have seen teams cut with good people being made to leave – I have seen contractors who would have been happy to become permanents be terminated as they would have made the local headcount to high.

        Inside Westpac the literature released as a result of the “consultations” ask staff to work with Westpac to achieve the best outcome for the company – when those same people are being made redundant.

        This is all about Gail Kelly’s vision to make Westpac the premier financial services company in Australia and nothing to do with good corporate citizenship.

  3. Westpac are outsourcing all software development and testing roles over the next year. This includes retrenchment of a large number of permanent employees (not just contract resources). The roles are not disappearing though, they are being offshored to India.

  4. “Frankly, and I can’t stress this highly enough, the Australian business community is currently extremely reliant on offshoring initiatives for one simple reason: It is completely impossible to source the amount of skilled labour which major companies like Westpac require purely through on-shore labour — and certainly not at any price level which would be considered reasonable. I’ve heard this story time and time again from Australian executives — enough times that I believe it to be true.”
    I can’t believe this paragraph. So Westpac can’t source the amount of skilled labour it needs onshore but so then retrenches that onshore skilled labour to then rehire it from India. How is that a skllied labour shortage ? lt isn’t. It is purely about cost. Indian staff are cheaper and obviously a $6 billion + profit is not enough. As for the staff turnover I’m not sure about that. 7 out of 9 staff in my team have been with Westpac for 20+ years. What sort of reward for loyalty is retrenchment especially if you miss out on your Defined Benefits Superannuation if you haven’t reached retirement age yet ? Maybe we could outsource the executives. We would really save some money then.

  5. If the proposition was truly an outsource one, it wouldn’t be so bad. However this is not about offshoring, it’s about bringing more indian labour onshore under 471 visas (eg Spider project test team).

  6. Having worked both sides of the sourcing relationship as recipient and provider I know this is a very difficult issue for many organizations. I have heard and used the phrase strategic sourcing but never ‘best sourcing’. I just don’t know that there is a good strategy for domestic employees to combat the economics of global labor cost pressures. And it isn’t just India with many other countries with good English skills and strong education systems becoming increasingly competitive. We are in for several years of these changes.

    • disagreed with your comment “countries with good English skills and strong education systems”. if you get a chance to come down to Martin place. Try to speak to the Indians gather around the corners near 60 martin place who are there to enjoy their cigarette breaks. You will be surpised of what you learn.

  7. The bank knows how to forcast the profits,The CIO can not tell how many employees will be kicking out.
    It is so sad that These people are working at least 45-50 hrs per week for the company for over 10 years.
    Internal staffs know more about the system than external people.Internal staffs have to do knowledge transfer to the external people before they leave.

    I can not believe that is happening in Australia.

    • Rome wasn’t built in a day. How can ones download over 10-20 years of knowledge to the external suppliers in weeks.

  8. The Westpac strategy is to leverage the supplier capability. However, the so called technical specilalist from suppliers asked for technology training when they joined. Most of the traning are technology specified e.g microsoft , Java, Tomcat etc. How is this work? Shouldn’t they are here to infill the Aus skilled shortage?

    Please explain Westpac.

  9. Westpac is not just outsourcing technology. Outsourcing extends to various areas of processing. The best part is this. They claim that they can get staff in India who could do the same job as our people here. Yet they ask the team leaders to write detailed “Subject Matter” manuals so that the people who are going to replace the jobs could read line by line and do the job. So when the question was asked why should we pump knowledge into the heads of the super duper experts they have just recruited in India people only get a blank stare.

    And to those in this forum crowing about the super duper talent in these outsourcing destinations, I have tons of stories tell, but here is one. A three letter Tech company just outsourced part of the solutions design wing to India. A couple of weeks later one of the guys in Australia got a call from the newly outsourced team wanting help with a solutions design problem. And the person who called pretended as if he was calling from a different area. But unbeknown to him the receiver checked the details on his IP phone and job title of the caller (software Engineer) and advised the caller that it was his job to find the answer and that is why he was hired.

    As Dell found out and Kodak is grappling with now the strategy of best sourcing to save costs by recruiting super duper experts of know nothings will sooner or later result in more problems, most which are invisible in nature. eg Low employee morale, lack of loyalty, fear based management style, plenty of a** covering, knowledge hoarding. And if shareholders love that kind of thing they deserve all they get.

  10. What a load of crxp ! No skilled workers ! Westpac took over St George Bank, our IT could have ran ALL of Westpac with a little expansion and do it more efficiently and vastly cheaper than any of there current outsourcing companies. And now STG IT is now no longer as it also has being dismantled under “best sourcing”. Gail left STG in a massive mess and she is turning Westpac into a bigger mess than when she took over ! The Phoenix is supposed to raise from the ashes ! Not this time or any time in the near future, the new IBM contract should have been called Dodo !

  11. To get the big picture (from a staff members piont of view) we need to look back a few years. Gail came to St. George from Comm Bank, with the intention to dismantle it internally. By doing this, securing her new position with Westpac. Facts are just before she left St.George she push out all Exec’s that wouldn’t play ball and hired her own ex-Comm bank buddies. 12 months after starting work at Westpac, Westpac brought St George, 12 months no can put together a major plan like that in 12 months (not Westpac that’s for sure) so she that be planning this while working as CEO for St.George (shonky). The next step was to get rid of all remaining St George (Heritage staff) “hate that word” They make it sound like only development and Application IT staff are going. Wrong all of us IT staff are getting the axe it’s just a matter of time. We are currently dumbing down and changing our system so the idiot’s at IBM can just pick up our documentation and equipment and continue on as if nothing had changed. To end I just like to say, if St. George staff base of 8000 (700 level 1 IT support Staff) can run the bank and make 2.4 Billion profit (pre-Westpac). And Westpac have 38,000 staff not counting St George staff, all except a handful (100) and have no IT staff all outsourced to IBM and others make 6.7 Billion profit. To me St.George is doing a good job, and Westpac are heading in the wrong direction. Like an old Holden’s if it’s not broken don’t fix it. Westpac you currently have the best IT staff in the World working for you, don’t throw them out like an old newspaper, for the sake of a short sighted CEO that will be running for cover and changing her job soon very soon.

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