Westpac ‘hybrid platform’ cloud play delivers savings, CIO says

Bank has outsourced key infrastructure to IBM

Westpac Group chief information officer Dave Curran says that the shift to an “offsite private cloud” built and operated by IBM from the vendor’s data centres is paying off for the bank.

The bank is preparing to add public cloud to the mix beginning next year.

The bank has described the arrangement as “hybrid-platform-as-a-service” (HPaaS) and says it has substantially increased the speed with which Westpac can deploy new applications.

“We’ve seen a massive reduction in the time it takes to set-up and host applications with a 40 percent saving in set-up costs from start to deployment of an application,” Curran said in a statement released this morning by the bank.

“What historically took weeks is now automated and happens in hours. For example service provisioning has gone from 2-4 months to 2-4 hours and application installation will be reduced from months to hours.”

Westpac said that the new arrangement makes infrastructure provisioning and network connectivity available on-demand for its tech team.

“It has been a big and complex project,” the CIO said. “To be technically ready to deliver an infrastructure platform of the future is a monumental achievement for Westpac and a testament to the people who worked tirelessly to make it happen.”

Last month the CIO publicly posed the question of why banks still operated data centres. “We are a bank,” Curran told an Oracle event in Sydney. “Infrastructure is not something that I see as being core to a bank going forward we need to leverage what is out there.”

Curran said that cloud is the “biggest driver of technology change” and that “everything else sits on top of cloud: AI, analytics, IoT.”

In the six months to 31 March, along with cyber security migrating infrastructure to cloud was a significant portion of the group’s investment spend.

Westpac said the shift to IBM-operated infrastructure is a core element of its platform strategy, which includes the roll out of its Customer Service Hub.

The group’s One Bank Platform program is intended to standardise and streamline back-end systems across its businesses, offering a  single view of customer across Westpac, St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA.

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