​ME Bank sends HR to the cloud with Workday

Australia's ME Bank has implemented Workday's human capital management solution, shifting the bank's HR remit to the cloud.

The banking industry is one of oldest sectors in Australia. Technology wasn't even a word used by banks back in the day, let alone the concept of digital disruption. However, according to ME Bank, technology has become such an integral aspect to banking that financial institutions are now almost indistinguishable from IT companies.

According to Helene Gordon, group executive for People Experience at ME Bank, technology is opening up new opportunities for services that were previously unimaginable, like tools that help people save, budget, and understand their finances, as well as advancements that have made managing and transacting money more convenient for all involved.

"Banking is based on storing and processing very large amounts of data for a large number of people. It's also highly regulated, which means banks tend to offer similar products," Gordon told ZDNet.

"Technology solves both these problems: It provides the systems for recording and transacting quickly and accurately, and it allows banks to differentiate themselves through the quality and the range of services they offer."

ME Bank launched in Melbourne in 1994, setting out to do something completely different to other financial institutions at the time. Known then as Super Member Home Loans (SMHL), the lender originally focused on home loans before undergoing a name change in 1999 to Members Equity Bank.

ME Bank has operated differently to the likes of the big four banks in Australia, with all of its banking services conducted online, no bricks-and-mortar shopfronts, and none of its servicing performed face to face.

The bank has recently completed a five-year rebuild of its core technology systems in a bid to set it up for future success. As a result, ME Bank is now updating its other systems, which includes a shift to a new human resources platform, provided by enterprise cloud application firm Workday.

Before Workday, Gordon explained that ME used a number of separate systems and tools internally -- which included Excel spreadsheets -- however, none of them were integrated.

"This obviously didn't provide the simplicity, speed, nor the capabilities needed by a growing organisation," she said.

"ME is growing quickly, and we needed human resources software that firstly allows us to manage our workforce more easily and efficiently, but secondly, that gives us greater agility -- we need more insights and we need to be able to change the way we work in an increasingly fast-paced, dynamic environment."

According to Gordon, Workday's software had all the functionality that the bank was looking for, and then some. She said the bank found its platform was easy to use, with the organisation implementing Workday's Power of One cloud solution.

Workday is essentially delivering ME Bank with its HR overhaul in two phases, with the first phase seeing the implementation the functionality required to run the bank's people processes, which Gordon said includes compensation, absence and leave, and time-tracking components, as well as the ability to manage and track projects.

In the second phase, advanced functionality like recruitment, advanced compensation, and talent will be added.

Once the rollout is complete -- currently slated for March -- Gordon said ME Bank will be left with one system for everything related to people instead of separate, isolated systems and tools for different activities.

"We'll have more functionality, so we'll be able to manage and gain insights into our people and their work activities in ways we couldn't before," she explained. "It's about maximising the power of our workforce, providing frictionless processes and transparency for our people and their leaders, and removing inefficiencies in our managements systems."