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Defining our decisions

Defining our decisions

Find out how our Analytics team is using the humble hackathon to make day to day decisions.

How do we make decisions? 

Gut feel. Instinct. Risk and reward. Analysing the information available, and making an educated guess. The list goes on. 

At CommBank, the decisions we make are critical to ensuring the financial well-being of our customers. With more than 16milllion of them globally, FY16 alone we saw more than 2.6 billion transactions across Point of Sale, internet, ATM and branch. With so many customers, every single decision we make sends shockwaves, redefining interactions and possibilities.

But how we actually make these decisions is what we’re focussing on, and redefining. In order to keep delivering the best for our customers we need to keep challenging ourselves. Thinking differently about how to solve problems, and come up with better solutions. 

A core way we’re doing this is through hackathons. At CommBank hackathons are a way for analytics professionals from our community of over 1000 people to come together, think creatively and identify the next big thing, break down boundaries or redefine approaches. 

“The beauty of hackathons is that they allow people to make a difference: to work on a real customer problem and push the boundaries of how we can solve the problem,” said Juliette Macauley, Executive Manager Process Analytics & Insights. 

“We really encourage creative thinking and it’s something that everyone is keen to be involved in, from Executive Manager through to millennials. It’s one of the most collaborative and engaging things we can do to grow our skillsets and thinking.”

As an analytics community, we’ve now tried to adapt this creative thinking into everyday life, aiming to push the boundaries to always search for the best possible customer outcome.

“We regularly hold business specific hackathons now, with our most recent one addressing four pressing challenges from our operations teams who sit in the technology part of CommBank and who look after all operations across the entire CBA Group. We saw some amazing ideas that would never have been generated in day to day activities,” explained Juliette. “We managed to come up with really viable solutions for three out of four challenges, which have now grown into real solutions we’re implementing for our customers. 

“It’s stemmed so much too – off the back of this we held a charity and also started to trial and test how we could implement hackathons as ways of working.”

The charity hackathon was affectionately named internally as GOMAD for Good which is short for Group Operations Make a Difference for Good. The two day voluntary event partnered with two charity organisations. The variety of skills and experience that can be found across CommBank;s analytics team saw combined capabilities leveraged to develop tangible solutions to some of the charities biggest challenges. 

“The event really brought our analytics community together. We had people from Business Insights & Analytics, a variety of subject matter experts, as well as Group Operation leaders work together to rapidly create innovative proof-of-concept solutions and insights.” 

The learnings from this cross collaboration were quickly recognised as an opportunity to be applied to other customer experience opportunities problems at CommBank. The hackathon style approach to solving problems allowed multiple people, with differing capabilities, could quickly come together to try and break down a problem.

“We realised that it would be relatively simple to apply hackathons to day to day life at CommBank. Organically, we started to see short style hackathons developing across the business; in project groups and small teams. Across some areas of the business it’s really well embedded, and has formulated part of our ways of working. It’s the best way we know to work through bottlenecks and brainstorm the best customer solutions.” 

Let wonder take over: imagine what an analytics career at CommBank could be. To find out more, click here or view our video below: