ANZ to keep IT frontline in Australia

ANZ Bank is giving the market-driven fashion of offshoring IT and support centre services a firm reality check, with a senior executive revealing his organization intends to keep customer-facing services in Australia.

Addressing ITSMF in Brisbane last week, John Young, ANZ senior manager for technology production risk, said his bank will keep both its customer support and internal IT level support at home because of a commitment to quality of service for both customers and staff.

"ANZ will not outsource its customer contact [services]... ANZ will not outsource its [IT] service desk," Young said, noting that a commitment to excellence in customer service remained a key differentiator for his bank.

Explaining how ANZ has adopted ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) processes to better manage IT costs and services, Young said there are plenty of savings to reap from IT if proven management methodologies such as incident and problem analysis are formalized and applied.

At ANZ, this has included setting up an ITIL-based, centralized system to notify, monitor, locate and resolve IT problems and incidents, backed by causal and systemic analysis. Describing the ITIL project as "a healthy self-interest that is relevant", Young said so far the system has reduced IT high-volume, low severity incidents 20 percent.

Young stressed key element in what he called the "ITIL processes based problem management discipline," which he encouraged other organizations to embrace.

Describing the ITIL repository as a powerful tool, "because it gives us single reports", Young also warned IT managers to take a good hard look at the way they tracked IT problem and incident resolution, because losing focus on IT performance was both easy and a costly trap to fall into.

He said this included cutting down on low severity and automatically-generated event notifications which find their way into systems reporting - and shutting down inconsistent, self-spawned incident databases

"Someone had a few [Microsoft] Access skills. [They] built a small problem tracking database...institutionalized it...and left. Then someone else came along and had a play - and infuriated lots of people in the process. There are a lot of very highly paid techies who spend a lot of time cutting and pasting into Excel. To the disgust of certain consultants, we banned the term 'known error'."

Another strategy Young has employed is turning the IT mirror back on line-of-business managers so that non-IT staff can accept responsibility for the impact, including expenditure, their decisions have on technology service. This includes an agreed methodology on the way key decisions are made, and recorded.

"We made a decision to record [risk-based] decisions [such as] where a database is not backed up duplicated because it is too expensive. That's an accepted risk and that's recorded," Young said. "We needed to understand the relationship between change and incident creation. It's a numbers game."

ANZ's ITIL number crunch

  • 2500 IT staff
  • 1000 ATMs, 70,000 Eftpos terminals, 30,000 PCs
  • Mainframe, Unix, Windows, AS/400 and Tandem infrastructure
  • Caps, CTM, VisionPlus, Murex, Cache, Payplus, Merva and DIPA applications
  • Computer Associates AHD v.4.5 for ITIL toolset
  • 10-year veteran of offshore development in India

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