CommBank rolls out Office 2007

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has completed a deployment of Microsoft's new Office 2007 suite to 38,000 desktops — a year after giving Google Apps the thumbs down.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has completed a deployment of Microsoft's new Office 2007 suite to 38,000 desktops — a year after giving Google Apps the thumbs down.

The Office 2007 Professional roll-out had covered CommBank's 38,000 desktops at its headquarters and 1,000-plus branches, Mark Griffith, executive manager of the bank's workplace technologies group told Microsoft's Tech.Ed conference in Sydney today.

Microsoft's latest Office suite has replaced Office 2003 on CommBank's Windows XP desktop environment, which currently supports around 2,000 applications, including the bank's internally developed CRM system, CommSee. Integration with CommSee was critical, according to Griffith.

Highlights of Office 2007 for the bank have been the built-in PDF writer, which Griffith said saved on licensing costs and had reduced demand for storage, thanks to 2007's use of the open XML (Extensible Markup Language) format.

To keep the implementation simple CommBank initially stripped out some components of Office 2007, but has since added Microsoft's unified communications offering, Office Communicator, to staff that required it, said Griffith. The bank held back from upgrading its XP operating system to reduce the complexity of the roll-out.

Upgrading its collaboration capabilities make the next step for CommBank, which is eyeing Sharepoint 2007 for a central repository and a collaboration back end for its Office suite.

The bank last year vetted Google's office productivity suite, Google Apps, but gave it the thumbs down, claiming the suite had "insufficient product capability".

A much larger project is now CommBank's major priority. The bank has slated $580 million to overhaul its antiquated core banking systems. Some components were built in the 1960s, according to CommBank's overall CIO, Michael Harte.

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