The Commonwealth Bank plans to use GPRS to allow mobile workers to access its CommSee customer management system.
In a presentation on the AU$100 million project, which has replaced most other bank systems for frontline workers, bank IT officials said that using the GSM mobile phone data network would provide a more flexible solution than trying to create an offline version of the CommSee software.
"We grappled early on with whether we wanted to work in an offline mode," Stuart Johnson, general manager for integration and service oriented architecture for CBA, said during a presentation at Microsoft's Tech.Ed Conference. "We made the decision not to support that."
A major factor in the decision was the relative lack of flexibility such a scenario would create. "There's not much you can do if you can't talk to the back-end customer systems. We're looking at GPRS as a solution, rather than an offline mode."
While CommSee has frequently been characterised as a customer relationship management [CRM] application, Johnson said that this did not reflect the wide range of tasks which it was designed to handle.
"It is not just a customer relationship system. We originate most of the major projects in the bank now."
Over the last 18 months, the CommSee application has been deployed to 30,000 users at 1,700 locations. The software is updated in a staged rollout every quarter.