ANZ is always looking for opportunities to improve and personalise customer experience by providing a more natural and simple interaction, says Craig Bunyan, general manager technology at ANZ New Zealand.His team, based in Auckland, Wellington, India and the Pacific Countries, has taken advantage of an array of new and disruptive technologies to make this happen.They ensure any advancements are in step with the experience of the bank staff, as well.Under his leadership, the focus on technology capability has contributed to an easy, fast, relevant and connected staff experience.The increased capability supports staff use of virtual desktops, virtual video MyMeeting and business continuity planning. In the past year alone, daily virtual desktop usage has increased by 43%, up from 2,800 to 4,000.He has also driven devops efficiencies, bringing together development and operational teams previously separated into distinct “grow” and “run” delivery teams.It is a holistic interpretation of digital inclusion for Bunyan, who leads one of the biggest tech teams in New Zealand, with 762 full-time staff in technology and more than 631 contingent workers such as fixed term employees, contractors and vendor staff.He is responsible for all aspects of technology operations and project/programme delivery, including delivering technology services to over 9,000 ANZ users and more than two million customers across New Zealand and the Pacific.Rapid prototype environmentWhen asked about his most innovative and impactful work over the past year, Bunyan cites his leadership of the Emerging Technologies team.The team works with the business to develop and produce innovative solutions from concept through to production phase with the use of cloud technologies to create rapid prototype environments.Over the past two years, the team has used emerging technologies to simplify and digitalise products, and improve processes, team and technology.“The result is improved connectivity and relevance for staff and customers, with a focus on giving customers more options, control and a personalised experience.”ANZ Fastpay, which makes mobile payments for businesses and customers faster and simpler remains a top priority, he states.They recently repurposed FastPay, evolving it into a donation app to accept contactless payments using NFC on mobile devices. They trialled it during the 2019 Daffodil Day, and raised $1400 in an hour. “This pilot provided customer insights into the future use of this type of technology,” says Bunyan.Jamie, the digital assistant launched over a year ago to answer general enquiries, is now providing contextually relevant real-time help on anz.co.nz. Dynamic content has been built so Jamie can fetch the most up to date information to help customers.Jamie started replacing enquiry forms on anz.co.nz in November, answering thousands of customer questions in real time versus the previous 12 to 24 hour wait.This removed around 10% of the messages the contact centre team previously responded to, says Bunyan.Talk to ANZ, which asks contact centre customers what they would like to do, uses natural language processing to understand and connect them with the best skilled banker. “From a leveraging data perspective the team deployed the ability to understand why customers are calling and provide real-time, personalised offers,” says Bunyan.He says ANZ’s technology landscape has been strengthened with the introduction of devops, automation capabilities, containerisation and continuous delivery which enabled customer and staff-facing platforms to move to weekly daytime releases with no outages experienced by ANZ’s customers.For example, NZ Internet Banking achieved 48 successful releases over the past year.“New features are now delivered more often and with less risk,” he states.Reimagining and resetting partnershipsWith shifts in the way they work with new technologies and both internal and external customers, Bunyan encourages his team to reimagine how they partner with vendors in the new work environment.This led to the launch of an annual Partner Day where they share their strategy, focus and roadmaps for the year ahead with their strategic technology partners. It is an opportunity to enhance collaboration, discuss deliverables and the extra contributions they need from their technology providers.Partnering with both startups and larger, innovative technology companies is essential to ANZ’s New Ways of Working, he says.“Our application of agile, and leveraging of partnerships and emerging technologies to collaborate on innovation, have enabled ANZ to adopt and deliver fantastic new solutions for customers, make banking easy, fast, relevant and connected.”Bunyan places great emphasis on lessons learnt and paying attention to customer experiences during pilot phases for these projects.He cites the case of Jamie, which was a collaboration with Google and the startup Soul Machines, and built on AI, APIs and cloud technologies.Following the launch, the team learnt that positioning Jamie as an assistant for general enquiries limited her ability to provide a great customer experience for every possible question the customer may have.Customers also expect her to know real-time information. Thus, dynamic content has been built so Jamie can fetch the most up to date information to answer a customer’s query and provide real-time, contextually relevant help.He spearheaded ANZ’s drive to produce rapid prototypes with faster speed to value for customers via smaller releases. This was the driver behind ANZ moving from six weekly to weekly releases for ANZ’s largest customer facing platforms, Internet Banking and goMoney.He points out ANZ can now release with 95% less effort, feedback cycles are 80% faster and customers now have more input into development of features.Bunyan created a specific team responsible for cultural and technical change called Technology Transformation.The Transformation team continues ANZ’s move to agile, transforming ANZ into a high-performing technology organisation that can deliver customer value faster, while ensuring quality and stability of services.The team works with both modern and legacy technologies, enabling practitioners to simplify and standardise; supporting teams to build and deploy at speed, with high availability, says Bunyan. “This positions ANZ to have increased agility and cloud readiness.”For example, the Transformation team developed the Drivetrain application which enables teams to codify their release processes, automating where possible and augmenting with manual steps where applicable.Using Drivetrain, they developed the Lightweight Release Process, a delivery process that enables teams to deliver small, low-risk code changes to production using lightweight processes that reduce overheads.The number of successful Internet Banking releases is an example of a success attributed to the use of Drivetrain.From a team culture perspective, the technology function has been using new ways of working to change how they collaborate, and leading the bank in adopting agile working styles.This enables individual teams to work more effectively through the implementation of diverse and flexible working approaches.Bunyan encouraged the formation of three new agile ‘tribes’. Consisting of between 80 to 120 people, each tribe is responsible for transforming a key customer journey within the bank.For instance, the Home Owners, Business Owners and Everyday Banking tribes have a mix of people from technology, product, risk and digital that operate in agile squads.“Spending time in branches and in the call centres enables these squads to fully understand the customer journey and focus on providing the best experience for customers,” he states.Constant changeBunyan points out an approach he uses when leading a major initiative that involves multiple business units and a range of technologies: “Break initiatives into small components.”This is a principle he applies as he and the team continue the implementation of the organisation’s Strategy and supporting Technology Roadmap.This enables business benefit to be realised earlier and reduces risk of delivery, he says.“I have learnt this implementation of agile and devops delivery models is critical to the organisation’s future success, this is a true cultural change,” he says.These are lessons he learned as ANZ NZ CIO during the ANZ Simplification Programme (NZS), one of the largest transformational programs New Zealand has seen.The programme successfully combined all aspects of two banks – ANZ Bank and The National Bank – into one. The transformation included brand, management and organisational structure, operations, culture, processes, products and technology systems.He says that before taking on the CIO role at ANZ, there have been several attempts to integrate both banks, all with limited success.“Technology alignment with the business had not been particularly focused and stymied the transformation,” he says.To finally achieve this integration, he says they committed to several steps.The first is the importance of having a clear strategy/vision, and getting buy in to that strategy from the entire organisation. Sponsorship ultimately came from the very top, committing the organisations and all management to a single focus. “I learnt that a strong and well-articulated strategy/vision and implementation plan were critical. A strategy without buy-in, execution and sponsorship is meaningless,” he says.Second is building a strong relationship between business and technology, and a technology strategy that supports the business strategy. Asking key business executives to lead programme streams was key to gaining organisational commitment and focus, he says.Bunyan used the integration programme as a catalyst to change the culture of the technology function.This entails leading by example, empowering staff and stressing a collaborative team approach is essential to drive cultural change.Agile delivery played a major part in reducing risk and delivering value earlier, he says.“Breaking things down to small manageable components provides better visibility of progress, as well as concentrating on highest priority outcomes, thus resulting in more efficient delivery.”He shares another insight from his experience leading in an industry faced with ever accelerating availability of new innovations and technologies such as fintechs, cloud and AI.“There is a continuous requirement to upskill and self-learn,” he says in this environment.“Skill shortages can only be breached with multiple strategies that retain and supplement resource requirements.”“It is my belief that successful organisations will have a culture of growing and learning coupled with a flexibility to acknowledge failure and learn from these.”* Craig Bunyan had left the ANZ when this article was published in October 2020.