CommBank: Tech chief recounts Murray era

CommBank: Tech chief recounts Murray era

Summary: David Murray must be every CIO's nightmare. The known technology critic and chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank, Murray will this week leave behind an interesting legacy after a 40-year tenure at the bank, including 13 years at the helm.

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TOPICS: Banking
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David Murray, ex-Commbank CEO David Murray must be every CIO's nightmare.

The known technology critic and chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank, Murray will this week leave behind an interesting legacy after a 40-year tenure at the bank, including 13 years at the helm. Murray hands over the reigns to Ralph Norris, previously Air New Zealand chief executive officer, on Thursday.

Murray is best remembered for his scathing attack on technology a few years ago, having blamed the meltdown of the global economy on the United States' IT industry because of under delivery and over-promises.

On the cusp of a new management era at the bank, chief technology officer Sarv Girn shared his challenges in trying to please and keep up with Murray.

Like him, Murray's ambitious 'Which new Bank' transformation program, introduced in 2003, is also reaching its last chapter. The three-year, $1.5 billion initiative is a company-wide culture change exercise aimed at improving customer service response times -- said to be one of the worst amongst the large banks.

Initiated by the outgoing CEO, the program has included major technology projects such as the rollout of a new customer relationship management system, CommSee, and the recent relaunch of its online banking system, NetBank.

"We've had a fairly good strike rate on the big things that mattered," Girn told a banking technology conference in Sydney last week.

"We've got the unique customer identifier, we've got a complete view of customer holdings, customer contact information. We've made reasonable progress in some of the content-interface standards, which is a more usable service-oriented architecture capability.

"So all in all...quite a high strike rate," he said.

The Bank is to deliver 20 technology capabilities as part of the 'Which new Bank?' program, according to Girn. Alongside CommSee and NetBank, these include the rationalisation of wealth management systems, a new performance management system for staff, and renegotiated procurement contracts.

'Which new Bank' is expected to be complete by mid-2006.

Topic: Banking

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4 comments
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  • David Murray was correct - The IT Bankers got it WRONG

    David Murray was correct - The IT Bankers got it WRONG. Their upgrade became a downgrage from clients point of view and they are not interested in providing reasonable service responses to enquiries.
    anonymous
  • What a piece of incoherent drivel this story is!

    Basically makes about much sense as David Murray, actually.

    Which New Bank has been about the Bank trying to re-define itself, getting totally lost, losing customer focus, and blaming it all on I.T. CBA's real problem is an ingrained corporate culture that rewards bad customer service, mindless servitude to process, and sticking it to your suppliers. In the end, the only thing that matters to CBA CEO is the share price, and under Murray, even that was pretty average.

    The latest television advertising is an insult to customers and a very good demonstration of how the Bank cannot percieve the discontent of it's own customers.
    anonymous
  • Commvenience - does not exist

    I agree. The bank has lost its way and needs to look at the requirements of it's customers. After all, they pay for all the stuff-ups in the end.
    anonymous
  • Digital is more than a website

    I just had an appalling experience with the Commonwealth Bank, bad enough that I'm moving all my business from there as soon as possible.

    There were a lot of problems, but of relevance to this site is the industrial age attitude of the bank. They insist on sending paper forms by post, refusing to send a digital form or even to scan the forms and e-mail them so they only have to be posted back. Completely useless.
    anonymous