Westpac makes digital banking push through IBM private cloud
Australian bank Westpac has signed up IBM to assist a major digital banking push in New Zealand. The bank plans to use IBM’s private cloud technology to build mobile services and social media presence.
Under the five-year deal, Westpac New Zealand will migrate some of its business critical IT systems into IBM’s Auckland data centre. Using the IBM private cloud, the bank will develop and test tools for online and mobile banking. The aim is to roll out new services faster and across multiple devices and platforms. Westpac will also seek to improve its IT infrastructure by renewing IBM mainframe services, midrange and storage platforms and migrating some services to IBM’s Level 3 data centre.
According to Jason Millet, chief information officer at Westpac, IBM’s private cloud will help the bank to build up its digital services, which the bank sees as an important way of meeting customer demands for a more personalised and convenient way of banking.
“The platform provides a robust and advanced infrastructure enabling a seamless online banking experience across multiple devices,” said Millet. “In addition, IBM’s local and global expertise, commitment to work within our regulatory framework, deep knowledge of our business and industry, and responsive commercial models provide an offering that can support our changing needs over time.”
Most banks place great emphasis on building services that are “seamless” – this refers to the idea that the customer experience should be consistent whether they are accessing it via a mobile phone, online or other means. Cloud services are growing in popularity at financial institutions, driven largely by cost pressure and growing levels of familiarity with the technology. According to research house Gartner, by 2016, poor return on equity will drive more than 60% of banks worldwide to process the majority of their transactions in the cloud.
IBM launched its hybrid cloud in New Zealand in March, following an announcement earlier in the year that the company would invest $1.2 billion around the world in building up cloud services. The firm says that its strategy is to use its network of data centres to help clients move their operations into the cloud. The aim is to build a hybrid model that preserves existing IT investments, while connecting them with the cloud so that their abilities can be improved.
Westpac New Zealand has 1.3 million customers and 4,700 employees. Its parent company has 12.2 million customers in total and is Australia’s second largest bank by assets.
This is not the first cooperation between the two companies. IBM has prime responsibility for managing Westpac’s key infrastructure services, under an agreement that was first signed in 2000.