CommSee an 'absolute standout': CBA chief

Commonwealth Bank chief executive officer Ralph Norris has heaped praise on the "risky" decision to develop an inhouse customer relationship management (CRM) system, declaring it an "absolute standout". Speaking at an interim results presentation in Sydney, Norris said the bank's CommSee CRM system had been a standout performer of business operations during the last six months.

Commonwealth Bank chief executive officer Ralph Norris has heaped praise on the "risky" decision to develop an inhouse customer relationship management (CRM) system, declaring it an "absolute standout".

Speaking at an interim results presentation in Sydney, Norris said the bank's CommSee CRM system had been a standout performer of business operations during the last six months.

"I've seen a lot of front end systems from a variety of suppliers...," said Norris, who cited his IT experience as the former chief information officer of Auckland Savings Bank, "but I have to say, this particular system is a real standout."

Features of CommSee, which operates with electronic documentation, include the ability to capture customer signatures.

"The CBA took a risky strategy in developing an inhouse system, but this is a standout," said Norris.

This was evidenced by completion of system development in November last year when it had been scheduled for March 2006, according to Norris.

"That doesn't often happen in IT projects, and in the size, complexity and scale of this one," he said.

CommSee would help all employees across the bank to perform their jobs better, he said.

During a question and answer session, Norris revealed the system had helped reduce headcount in some processing operations..

CBA has reduced its total staff by around 3,500.

CommSee was one of 80 projects that formed part of the bank's AU$1.5 billion 'Which New Bank' transformation project, announced in 2003.

CommSee was now "substantially complete", and had delivered the 80 projects ahead of time and on budget, according to Norris. Which New Bank had generated AU$506 million in benefits, he said.

The bank had also completed a major technology review in "the last few weeks", he said. The results of this would contribute to the CBA's customer service strategy, to be detailed next month.