IT consolidation saves Suncorp a boatload

Group executive for Suncorp Business Services Jeff Smith said that IT consolidation delivered big savings for the bank over the last year, enabling it to reach its $780 million net profit after tax for the 12 months to 30 June 2010.

Group executive for Suncorp Business Services Jeff Smith said that IT consolidation delivered big savings for the bank over the last year, enabling it to reach its $780 million net profit after tax for the 12 months to 30 June 2010.

Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith, Suncorp's group executive, spearheaded a "simplification" project that lead to IT savings both now and in future.(Credit: Renai LeMay/Delimiter)

"In any financial services firm, IT is integral to the business processes that are executed through it. We spent the better part of the last two years consolidating our infrastructure," Smith said.

Suncorp decided to virtualise its server infrastructure using VMware technology. Over a two-year period, it was able to take 3500 Intel environments down to 190 physical hosts and consolidate 85 Unix hosts to five.

Thanks to the virtualisation, Suncorp was also able to consolidate its datacentre requirements. Suncorp moved from seven datacentres to two. In terms of datacentre floor space, that's 2000 square metres to 450 square metres with no drop in speed or capacity.

The move to consolidate and virtualise followed the entry of Patrick Snowball into the business as the company's new chief executive officer.

"When he came into the business, he wanted to simplify it. When we acquired Promina, we had a lot of different internet and application teams, so we put them together into platform teams," Smith said.

"Our general strategy is to update, leverage and re-use really efficient platforms across all [of our] brands. That has contributed in the general insurance as well as Life [Suncorp's life insurance product] and banking results because we're operating more efficiently and we're able to get more business capability released more quickly," he added.

Smith looks to deliver more IT savings in the 2011 financial year as the Suncorp consolidation effort continues.

"We're continuing to roll out a single claims platform for our home and motor products, we continue to roll that out. Our concept [is to] build an advanced platform and roll that out across our [18] brands. The cost goes down, the benefit goes up," he said.

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