NAB takes elastic approach to internet banking

NAB is taking a flexible approach to its internet banking platform, with the company’s head of digital and online channels David Broeren outlining an elastic, non-integrated environment pipeline for the bank’s online transaction environments.

The National Australia Bank's head of digital and online channels, David Broeren, outlined today the company's elastic online transaction environment pipeline.

"Where we're headed now for our transactions environment is ... elastic, non-integrated environments. And that's where we're going with our transaction environments; internet banking and that sort of thing. We still have the pipeline ahead of us," said Broeren in his keynote presentation at the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Summit in Melbourne.

The comments come as the company works to make the most of its relatively new cloud infrastructure, employing AWS autoscaling systems and continuous monitoring software to bolster its core online platform reliability.

"The differentiator that I see in AWS, and what we wanted to exploit, was the use of autoscaling without human intervention, without touch to scale up, to add more service to take the load," he said. "And when the load went away, the system would just tether itself back to that optimum state."

Australia's fourth-largest bank moved its customer website,, into the cloud from an internal legacy system late last year. In May, the company revealed it had pumped up its infrastructure investment to AU$387 million , with its NextGen core banking platform taking a fair chunk.

Also in 2013, NAB l aunched the first products to be based on NextGen, including the automated online application, UBank Usaver Ultra, and NABTrade, an online trading platform targeted at self-managed super funds.

"Last year we decided to remove the infrastructure bottom end. And this is where we connected up the Amazon Web Services," said Broeren. "The example I’ll give is for, but the reality today is that we've used this pattern for UBank, for MLC, and we have a whole bunch more in the pipeline."

Now, according to Broener, the company's development environments are all in the cloud as well.

"Basically, all our devop environments now run in Amazon. They've reached back into the organisation for enterprise source code management, deployment, and we maintain all the controls. But now we can get started up front with the tools we need to get projects going and get them going quickly," he said

NAB's cloud push comes as all of Australia's largest banks and most of the nation's other financial institutions make moves towards a cloud infrastructure.

In April, ING Direct completed its 12 month-long project to move all of its operations to an in-house private cloud solution.

Under the leadership of former CIO Michael Harte, Commonwealth Bank Australia managed to halve costs across certain areas after making a partial shift to the cloud.

In November 2012, Harte had challenged local businesses to ditch the "garbage" excuses they were being fed and move into the cloud.

Broeren, meanwhile, has plenty of reasons to keep moving NAB's online services into the cloud, saying that Australia's financial services industry could be a driver of the digital economy with such a move.

"The digital expectation is always on. One of the reasons we went to AWS. We need digital economies at scale," he said. "We're still playing the game of making sure we digitally-enable our bank. The real opportunity, I think, in the financial services industry, is to then drive into the digital economy."