by Byron Connolly

Digitisation not about ‘McDonalds analytics’: ANZ CTO

Oct 28, 2015
Big DataCareersDigital Transformation

The fundamental element of any digital transformation project is actually understanding what’s important to the customer not doing what ANZ’s chief technology officer, Patrick Maes, describes as ‘McDonalds analytics.’

Speaking at the Gartner Symposiumon Wednesday, Maes said many industries are using less advanced analytics capabilities to quickly scan through customer data to create ‘the next best offer’ to sell more products.

“This is not going to change the dialogue,” he said. “In fact, what we are creating as an industry is just a new generation of SPAM. Client-centricity is basically having a deep understanding about what is really important to the customer,” he said.

ANZ has been undergoing its own transformation since 2012, when it launched a $1.5 billion program to deploy intelligent ATMs, contactless mobile payments and video conferencing services to regional branches.

Last month, the bank signed a five year, $450 million contract with IBM to access the vendor’s entire software portfolio to give the bank the capacity to deal with growing customer numbers and transactions across multiple channels

Maes touted the bank’s use of open APIs to create an ecosystem and multiple suppliers and providers to deliver banking services to customers at each stage of their lives.

“Of course this has to be designed end-to-end. It’s not just about putting ‘lipstick on a pig’, it’s not just having a flashy mobile app and having people in the back entering [data] on green screens.”

Maes was also adamant that financial institutions need to collaborate in delivering digital services to customers, saying that there’s not a single bank in the world that is completely digital.

Collaboration is also vital to creating a secure, ‘always on’ infrastructure, he told attendees.

“If you look at the challenges that we as an industry need to deal with to become a digital organisation – they are profound,” he said.

“As a bank you can only be out four minutes per year – how do you build services that are always on? Customers expect ‘always on’, that’s what they see from the Googles and eBays and so on.

“Is this a problem we can solve as an organisation by buying more hardware? No, it’s a problem we can only solve when we have deep collaboration with partners,” Maes said.

Maes said that cyber security is impacting every industry in the world and implementing sufficient end point security is extremely important.

“Not just the little container where the app sits, that’s easy, we are talking about the end point security of the complete device repository. How do we do that? This requires deep collaboration across the banks, government agencies, and so on,” he said.

Partnering with academia

Over the last three years, ANZ has built up an ecosystem of partners that includes universities in Australia, Singapore, China and New Zealand; fintech startups; incubators, and strategic vendors, he said.

“Why? Not only because we have access to RD and clever people, but because we believe this is important for Australia.

Maes highlighted that despite Australia having a large number of high quality universities, employability among graduates is only at 60 per cent.

“I come from a world where I went to university and we were employed the year before we graduated … and I came out of university with no debt. I have five kids and they come out with $10,000 per year in debt and employability of 60 per cent.

“We hear companies saying … graduates coming out of these universities are not fit for purpose, which is absolute bullshit. Universities are not here to create a workforce, they are here to create people who have an ability for constant learning, not just doing a job.

“It’s very clear that the millennials will probably have four or five careers so the ability to learn is more important than just having skills. So it’s important that universities and industries are working closely together to give people exposure to a new way of thinking.”

“We have a responsibility as an industry to work together with these universities to create people who can learn for life but also have better employability when they come out of university,” he said.

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