Westpac board goes paperless with iPads

Westpac board goes paperless with iPads

Summary: Westpac has spent a year developing its own in-house app for securely taking and delivering notes on the iPad, solving a document-security puzzle that has troubled rivals for some time.

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TOPICS: Apple, Banking, iPad, Security
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Westpac has spent a year developing its own in-house app for securely taking and delivering notes on the iPad, solving a document-security puzzle that has troubled rivals for some time.

(Westpac Bank (formerly Bank of New South Wales), Toowoomba-1 image by David Jackmanson, CC2.0)

Westpac today showed off Tabula, an app designed for iPads, which was developed in-house for secure document transmission and dissemination by board members.

Tabula allows Westpac's administrative staff to cobble together documents from all over the organisation that may be required for upcoming board meetings; customise them into an agenda packet for each board member; encrypt them internally; and send them electronically to the iPad.

Board members can then view the agenda and discussion items for a meeting electronically, without the bank having to print reams of paper to be shipped around Australia and sometimes internationally.

Tabula features an event calendar with mapping support, and also links to the bank's identity-management suite to pull biographies on staff as required. Board packs are searchable, and can be annotated on the go.

The bank first started working on Tabula in early 2011, after it realised that there was nothing on the market that would give it the security required off the shelf.

The app is now in its second version, and Westpac feels confident enough to start deploying the app to other teams that need secure document viewing.

The bank has had Tabula penetration tested, and Clive Whincup, Westpac's chief information officer, says that other teams will soon benefit from the app.

Westpac's rivals, including ANZ Bank, have long been searching for a way to give iPads to board members.

ANZ Bank's legal team banned the use of the Apple tablet by board members during meetings. Anne Weatherston, ANZ's chief information officer, was reported as explaining that notes taken on the devices during board meetings aren't secured within the company's firewall, which makes ownership of the documents problematic if they need to be recalled for legal reasons at a later date.

Weatherston added, however, that she expects Apple to create an app for the enterprise that "wraps it all together" at some point in the future.

Topics: Apple, Banking, iPad, Security

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

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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4 comments
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  • An Application like Good from Good Technologies does the same thing, working with the enterprise email server and is off the shelf.
    Helpdesk123
  • Good to see Westpac's concentrating on the real IT issues !
    jeff_syd
  • Wow, seems like a fantastic initiative that helps to save the environment. It must have taken a lot of convincing to get the Board to move to something like this. People from older generations are generally reluctant to adopt things like this.
    Wow-2c4ea
  • @Wow - thats one of the benefits of the iPad (and tablets in general). They are one of the most generation neutral products ever made. The ease of use should mean that done right, the product would be a no brainer to adopt.

    Add to that the fact that every company wants to be seen as hip and happening, so need to be seen to be getting onto this iPad thing, and its a perfect storm for older generation boards to agree to.

    Getting onto the iPhone/iPod earlier would have made it easier as well.
    Gav70