ING Direct’s technology boss, Andrew Henderson expects to hire more staff with commerce and arts degrees than strictly science-based qualifications as the $64 billion lender and savings bank invests heavily in private cloud infrastructure.
Henderson told CIO he didn’t believe there was a shortage of IT skills in Australia, rather the issue was the type of skills ING Direct would need in the future.
Westpac’s CIO Clive Whincup last month claimed the bank needed to send jobs offshore to meet the demand for technology skills.
“I don’t necessarily agree with Clive,” he said. “What they [Westpac] are going through is something for them; it’s not something we do. We are not really struggling to find talent.”
Henderson said ING Direct – which employs around 160 IT staff – doesn’t look for skills overseas and the bank’s move to commoditise compute, storage and system provisioning functions meant it didn’t necessarily require traditional network and storage engineers.
He said the bank is seeing less of a need for scientists and a bigger requirement for people who understand business and can use technology to deliver business objectives.
“They are going to be people that are more analytical, design-oriented – much more focused on things like customer experience and process design,” he said. “It’s probably people that I will pull out of a commerce or arts degree than a science degree."
“If we take the focus away from upgrading storage and that kind of thing and actually commoditise [these services], the value we will get out of those assets is far greater,” he said.
“The people that we will have on board will know how to take the capability provided by that technology and turn it into something in terms of business outcome.”
Investment in private cloud
ING Direct – which provide banking services online and through a call centre – has more than 1.4 million customers across Australia and is the country's fifth largest mortgage lender, with $38 billion in mortgages and $26 billion in deposits. Around 98.5 per cent of its transactions are completed online.
The organisation is gearing up to deploy a new private cloud infrastructure model in its data centres based on Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012.
Henderson said ING Direct will get “huge value” out of simplifying its infrastructure, which he expects to reduce the organisation’s IT costs by up to 40 per cent in 2013. He said he wants to operate a $60 billion business portfolio “on a single digit million operating model in IT.”
“That might be $10 million to $12 million in terms of cost that we might have moved out of the data centre towards change.
“When we talk about agility and efficiency around delivery, every million dollars that we save and move towards the business, we can do significant things for our customers and that’s what we are driving at.”
Henderson said that all the bank’s primary workloads will be moved into the new operating environment by the end of 2013.
“We will take all applications running outside of Windows and migrate them to a Windows platform, which means we will significantly reduce complexity.”
These include its core banking application and ‘Bank in the Box’ — an environment that enables IT staff to replicate virtual instances of the bank’s applications, services and configurations, to launch new products faster.
“[Private] cloud will only work if you are able to standardise the commodities within that cloud and the operating system is one of those things,” Henderson said.
“When we look at operating cost, that means [fewer] audits, less risk and less capital and we don’t have to build applications to run on five or six operating platforms.”