Customer service contribution key objective of Commonwealth Bank's new IT approach

22 May 2003

The Commonwealth Bank has indicated that the review of its IT management approach is starting to unlock the full potential of technology investments aimed at supporting the Bank’s drive towards new customer service objectives.

Speaking at the Chief Leaders Lecture Series, Commonwealth Bank CEO David Murray said that the Bank had since upgraded technology to a central management function, with CIO Bob McKinnon reporting directly to the CEO.

"Following a complete review of our IT strategy and the development of a new IT management model, we have implemented a tighter approach to selection, sourcing and implementation and management of IT capabilities," Mr Murray told an audience of business leaders from various industries.

"The key concept underpinning our new approach is the presence of a clear line of sight from corporate strategy to technical capability," Mr Murray said. "We expect our IT managers to have a clear understanding of the technological implications of our strategic objectives so that we can come up with a simple, yet functional solution to real business requirements."

The Bank’s CEO provided an example of this approach, detailing how the Bank’s goal to recognise the unique lifetime financial needs of its customers had led to the creation of unique customer identifiers and a direct linkage to total customer holdings across all services. The availability of this IT capability will allow the Commonwealth Bank to treat each customer as an individual, understanding their total relationship with the Bank.

Mr Murray said that it was indeed possible to look at IT as a tool to create a competitive edge in customer service rather than as a perennial cost burden with deliverables of varying effectiveness.

"As an organisation, we asked ourselves fundamental questions about our goals and about the contribution various initiatives were making to the achievement of these goals. We found that effectiveness and flexibility rely on focusing on customer outcomes rather than project outcomes and that focus is allowing the Commonwealth Bank to enhance its customer service in comparison with organisations that still take an off-the-shelf view on IT sourcing and management," Mr Murray concluded.