NAB trialling BYOD

Technology for bring-your-own-device program is ready but organisational policies still tricky, says NAB IT transformation boss Adam Bennett

NAB's Adam Bennett

NAB's Adam Bennett

The National Australia Bank is trialling a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program for its top 200 executives, according to Adam Bennett, NAB executive manager of enterprise transformation.

“It is something we’ve been looking at,” Bennett said in a keynote today at a event run by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA). Capability to do BYOD is included in NAB contracts with Telstra and IBM, he said.

“We’re already trialling some things now and we’ll continue to trial and experiment with them as we go forward.”

NAB’s top 200 executives can access data including confidential papers on iPads and other devices using encrypted passwords, Bennett said after his keynote speech.

“It’s very secure,” he said. If a device is compromised, the BYOD software “will basically burn that iPad forever ... If they forget their password, they’ve got to start again.”

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During his keynote, Bennett said he believes companies will ultimately embrace BYOD.

“The issue is not in my mind a technical issue, because the reality is we can make pretty much anything work on our networks and from a security perspective.”

What companies around the world “are grappling with is not so much the technology but it’s all the organisational conventions and protocols around [BYOD].”

“Does that mean you can bring anything? Does that mean you get an allowance from the company to buy a laptop that you then bring in? And then if something goes wrong with that laptop, does that mean you ring Apple or do you ring the help desk?”

If an employee opts to “struggle along with [his or her] 10-year-old trusty laptop, what does that mean for the person’s productivity and things like that?”

Bennett provided an update on NAB’s 10-year business “transformation” initiative meant to modernise NAB’s IT. The bank is three years into the project, he said.

A key part of the change is an increase in outsourcing to other companies, Bennett said.

“Ultimately, our function needs to become a true orchestrator of services, recognising that we cannot in-house invest to the same degree as the industry can, and there are partners out there who can do some of these things better than we can,” he said.

Two NAB partners, IBM and Oracle, spend a combined $10 billion annually on research and development, he said. “We simply cannot match that kind of investment in R&D.”

That shift to infrastructure on demand “may also change the skillset of the people that we need in an IT function,” Bennett said.

NAB may have “less development work going on but more orchestration work going on and more commercial management, working with our partners,” he said.

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