ANZ takes one view of customers

Despite the trials it has experienced while attempting to integrate 100 core applications, the ANZ Bank is confident that its One Customer View business intelligence project is on track for completion next year providing a more complete reporting platform.

ANZ's head of group information Norm Duce, a 20-year veteran of the bank whose background is finance, said he knows first-hand the costs of not having information and referred to the bank's loss of $3 billion in 1993 as a good example of that.

For the past 12 years, Duce has been managing the whole information process with a team that "really turns data into information".

"There have been quite numerous experiences, not all fantastic," Duce said. "The overall mission of the bank has to been to setup a sustainable MIS platform which is no mean feat when you're a large organization like the ANZ. There are more than five million customers globally, [and] transactions occurring across 25 countries."

Duce said the bank has some 100 core applications, "most of which do not talk to each other".

"So just to do simple things - like working out what a customer owes us - is an enormous task and to make it even more complex we are a very decentralized organization split up across 17 independent business units that have their own funding," he said. "Business intelligence cuts across many of those business units. We're not getting any change out of a $100 million per year just on our management information space."

With Duce's role to gather all that disparate information together, his team has worked to establish a 'robust' information base over the past couple of years and is now looking at leveraging information further with, among other things, a dashboard that is being rolled out now as a Web application.

"It was a tough decision to deploy the bank's business intelligence on a thin-client architecture," he said.

"With the recent version of Business Objects, the bank is starting to reap the benefits of that decision by avoiding deployment issues associated with client applications. We're now seeing that a person in Shanghai is accessing the information just as easily as a person at the end of Collins Street (Melbourne). That's a real breakthrough."

Although Duce conceded the bank's relationship with Business Objects got off to a "pretty rough" start back in 2000, it is now the standard application for business intelligence at ANZ which has "dozens" of projects lining up and looking to jump on board.

ANZ now has a large business intelligence platform that caters for basic reports all the way to dashboards. There are some 900 users, but this is expected to grow to more than 1700 as soon as the first quarter of next year.

Completion of the One Customer View project is slated for September, 2005.

"The whole idea of a single view of a customer is a bit of an anomaly as in reality it's multiple views depending on which question you ask," Duce said.

Rodney Gedda attended Insight 2004 as a guest of Business Objects