by Rebecca Merrett

Suncorp rationalises data warehouses, deploys new banking platform

May 29, 20144 mins
Financial Services IndustryRisk Management

Suncorp Group is rationalising its 12 large legacy data warehouses down to one, and is deploying a new Oracle-based banking platform.

Speaking at Suncorp Group’s Investor Day, chief data officer Adrian McKnight said the data warehouse rationalisation follows on from Suncorp’s IT systems simplification program, which is earmarked to deliver $225 million in benefits in 2015.

“We are combing a whole lot more specific customer behavioural pieces of information with core customer data we have got linked in a number of systems to bring that together for a more complete view of the customer. We now have a whole range of policy, claims, finance and HR information already in that single data store,” he said.

“It will be well structured data. So we are not just moving it across and dumping it into that area; we are also structuring it, better defining it and ensuring it’s got the right integrity to be able to use it effectively.”

Read: The rise of the chief data officer.

The company is also tapping into machine learning and data modelling capabilities to be able to respond to customers’ needs in real time.

“It’s also being able to detect and pick up on fraudulent activity and being able to respond to that in real time to prevent loss…and also to protect customers from fraudulent activity,” McKnight said.

“So the sense and respond capability, automation, machine learning and smart algorithms is a really important part of us being able to deliver the end position for our business intelligence strategy.”

Cloud computing will play a key role in being able to process huge volumes of data, he said.

“The cloud is absolutely imperative. Without the speed, the processing power and the cost efficiency of the cloud, it would be impossible for us to achieve what we will achieve in the business intelligence and data space.”

“The approach we are taking is we are now moving into a hybrid cloud model where we are now entering into the opportunity to use some of the cloud providers as they are maturing,” added CIO Matt Pancino.

“We are taking a very staged and controlled approach to migrating to the cloud. We are now seeing the opportunity to migrate a lot of our development and test environment into the cloud over the next six months or so.

“By December, we will be moving a significant portion of our disaster recovery capabilities to the cloud. Through to 2015, we will be selectively moving production workloads to the cloud.”

Suncorp is looking to use Azure, in addition to Amazon Web Services, IBM and Oracle for software services where it is fit for purpose, Pancino said.

The data warehouse rationalisation project is expected to be complete by April 2015.

The company is also deploying a new banking platform using Oracle’s technology. Dubbed Ignite, it will allow staff to add new capability as customers’ needs change.

“We estimate the cost is going to be just under $300 million, currently at about $270 million. We will capitalise about 80 per cent of that cost. And we’ll have Ignite completed by the 30 June 2016. Right now, we are about 50 per cent complete,” said Suncorp Banks’ ýCEO, John Nesbitt.

Pancino said he has completed all the payments systems required for the new platform, as well as trade finance CRM functions.

“We are now up to the core piece. We are going to be able to deliver products very quickly to market with very little involvement from IT. It gives us the ability to build new capabilities very easily into it as our customer needs change and as the market changes,” he said.