Bank of Queensland flags major vendor consolidation program

A 10-year HP mega-sourcing contract is also under review at the bank.
Written by Tim Lohman, Contributor

Bank of Queensland's (BoQ) chief information officer Julie Bale has signalled that the financial institution is to embark on a culling of its IT suppliers as it seeks to move toward a simplified IT environment.

Bale, who will reach the one-year mark as CIO at the bank in December, told attendees at the Technology & Innovation – the Future of Banking & Financial Services conference in Sydney that consolidating technology suppliers is one of three major technology priorities at the bank.

"Our biggest priority is to review our big IT sourcing contract we have in place with HP. It is a 10-and-a-half-year contract, and comes up for renewal next year," she said.

"We had outsourced 100 percent of our IT 10 years ago, but that is now fractured, and we are down to about 40 percent. My big challenge is to get that cleaned up.

"We will be looking to clean that up and also reduce the 84 vendors we have in our current backyard," she said.

According to Bale, Bank of Queensland will go to market with a request for proposal for a new major whole-of-IT contract in the early part of 2014.

Commenting on the rationale for the vendor consolidation program, she said it was based on the bank's need to better respond to "customer immediacy".

"Current technology lifecycles within organisations are not going to cut it going forward — we've seen that," she said. "Customers are demanding change, and demanding leading-edge technology.

"Not only that; we are seeing a workforce demographic that is changing quite dramatically now. Walking into an organisation which hasn't had a lot of investment in eight years – while the opportunity is all upside — when we start recruiting the younger generation, it can be quite a shock to them.

"It is the internal immediacy of our workforce, but also our customers who are really driving and challenging those traditional technology lifecycles that big organisations do tend to lock themselves into."

Commenting on the bank's additional IT priorities, Bale said an end-user computing strategy is also well under way. Details on this program will be released in the coming weeks.

"Probably lastly and the most important aspect — they are all important, but the digitisation of our front through to back office, straight-through processing — is now under way after a nine-month due-diligence process," she said

Bale said the bank is "well into execution" on this digitisation of its business processes.

Bankwest and St George

Also speaking at the conference, Bankwest CIO Andy Weir said his organisation is focused on how it will transform itself to meet the demands and challenges of the financial industry.

"Consequently, our priorities are very much around how we transform our delivery models, how we transplant innovation and agility into the DNA of our entire workforce, and how we continue to invest in our infrastructure and architecture to drive agility, speed to market, and customer responsiveness," he said.

Dhiren Kulkarni, CIO at St George Banking Group, said that while the organisation has focused in particular on mobile banking — some 50 percent of transactions at the bank are now done on a mobile device — its core priorities lie elsewhere.

"Actually, we don't have a technology priority, or a business priority. What we have is a customer priority," he said.

Elaborating on the technology underpinning this priority, Kulkarni said the bank is focused on NFC, expanding a current pilot of video conferencing that's under way at 30 branches, and data analytics to create more targeted product offerings.

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