How quick IT saved ANZ some cash

Summary:ANZ has recently wrapped up its acquisition of several Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) subsidiaries, which involved the completion of an ambitious IT transformation in record time.

ANZ has recently wrapped up its acquisition of several Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) subsidiaries, which involved the completion of an ambitious IT transformation in record time.

Adam Neat

Adam Neat laid out the transformational challenges behind ANZ's deal with Royal Bank of Scotland. (Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

Adam Neat, ANZ's head of IT strategy and architecture, spoke about the transformation at the Australian CIO Summit 2010 yesterday.

ANZ signed contracts with RBS to buy a swathe of the latter's subsidiaries for around $687 million on 4 August 2009, with an in-built clause that if the acquisition had not been completed by 31 July 2010, RBS could renegotiate the terms of the agreement.

ANZ then had just under 12 months to complete a major IT transformation, as per the terms of agreement laid out in the contract. The bank had to fold approximately 4500 staff and 1.7 million customers into its global operations.

In the short amount of time available, ANZ teams focused on the integration of customer details with its CRM systems, the implementation of new back-of-house systems, in-depth platform architecture and the new look and feel of the interface post-transformation, Neat said.

According to Neat, a delay in the transformation would have been unacceptable.

"If we had missed that deadline, RBS could renegotiate with the inference being that the cost [of the acquisition] would have gone up," he told ZDNet Australia.

Neat said that instead of managing an IT project the way he had been taught, his team built systems with simplicity and functionality in mind.

"[We] weren't looking to build a system that was overly pretty or ultra-elegant, rather we wanted to get in there, do what needed to be done to complete the project on time," he said.

ANZ took advantage of its other points of presence globally by implementing an around-the-clock project team. Australian teams would work on the project during business hours, with teams in Singapore and Bangalore taking over at the shift change, working through the Australian night.

"We knew when we looked at this project that the only way we could do it was by working 24 by 7," Neat said.

With eight of eight countries now operating successfully under ANZ technology, Neat told ZDNet Australia that what the teams had learned in this project could be applied in future.

"We were quite proud of what we did ... we proved that if you question the status quo and question the way a business has always operated in terms of IT, you can pretty much accomplish anything," Neat said.

He referred to the new project strategy, not as a new model for IT transformation, instead labelling it as "a new concept for IT project management".

ANZ is still interested in expanding its presence through new acquisitions, he said.

Topics: Banking


A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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