Where and when to implement disruptive technology

How ANZ conquered the “do more with less” challenge

people technology decision
Credit: iStock

With high demands on your IT group to implement disruptive technologies that will achieve game-changing value, what strategy do you as the IT leader use in determining where, when and how to implement disruptive technologies?  

For most IT departments today, the “do more with less” ultimatum demands reallocation of resources from OPEX to innovative technologies that directly support strategic corporate objectives in measurable ways. 

ANZ, a “super regional” bank that operates in Australia, New Zealand and 31 other markets, uses a strategy that has produced remarkable results. In a conversation with Alistair Currie, the bank’s COO, I learned the size of their challenge to do more with less. Because customers expect to conduct transactions and access their account information through multiple channels (via mobile apps, the Internet, by phone, in person, through ATMs) — and the number of mortgages and credit card accounts expand more than 20 percent annually — the number of customer interactions or those accounts grows exponentially. Making the challenge even greater, customers expect to pay less for the servicing of their accounts. 

So the bank’s margin per service transaction dropped. 

Despite enormous growth and increasing customer demands, the bank’s technology and services division deployed new technology to meet these needs. The value produced extended beyond customer satisfaction to also drive down the operations cost by three percent for three consecutive years. 

How to make a huge bang with technology investments 

Currie explains the key to their success was knowing where, when and how to deploy the technology. He says “the key is to remember that it is about people, process and technology — in that order.” He adds that getting superior outcomes from tech implementations depends on “having the right people designing the right processes using the right technology.” 

They use this approach on a day-to-day basis to manage the ANZ technology and operational areas. He says this approach is similar to their application development approach. They first focus on getting the most value-adding functions into production; then they move on to address the next-biggest value-adding function.   

How do they go about this approach, whether it’s for daily operations or for decisions around implementing disruptive technologies? Currie says they take a very analytic approach to determine the where, when and how factors. “We do a lot of counting and measuring in order to identify, prioritize and focus our talent and resources on the high-volume issues.” 

As an example, let’s look at how the bank used this approach in developing and implementing its mobile banking application goMoney™. 

The mobile banking app was launched in 2010. Although that was a time when many leading companies jumped into the mobile apps world, ANZ’s decision was based on its analytical approach to deploying disruptive technologies. In deciding how best to meet customers’ changing needs, they started by analyzing the calls and transaction requests received in the bank’s contact and operational centers. They focused on building a solution that tightly targeted where they had the highest-volume transactions — mobile. 

ANZ’s easy-to-use, intuitive app for mobile phones handles on average more than one million logins a day and has processed more than $118 billion worth of transactions. The app enables digital-age customers to access their money when and where it suits them and enjoy a frictionless experience. Customers use the app to transfer between their accounts, pay bills and pay to mobile. 

Reviewing this successful goMoney project in light of ANZ’s people-process-technology approach, Currie reiterates the importance of the order of decisions in the approach:

  1. They had the right people involved in the project.
  2. They focused on the high-volume processes based on customer needs.
  3. They employed the right technology to address those needs. 

The high-volume process is a critical factor in this approach.  

Go fishing where the fish are 

ANZ makes focused technology investments in high-volume, high-cost processes — those allow significant impact on operations and customers without having to re-engineer all processes at once. 

Currie’s advice: “If you are going to fish, go where the fish are. In other words, focus on processes that are high volume and high cost; they will give you the savings you need to invest in better quality service and better customer outcomes.” 

With banking customers in 33 markets to serve, ANZ looks first to the regions with the highest volumes of customer-service transactions and smooths the processes there because that’s what pays. 

The new technologies emerging in the market hold great promise of competitive advantages and top- and bottom-line improvements. But they’re disruptive. To capture the promised advantages, I think CIOs need to carefully consider the ANZ people-process-technology approach when making decisions around implementing technology.

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