The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Westpac announcements sound like they are driven by vendor PR

This article is a good example of buzzwords getting ahead of common sense, at least as much as we can discern from the articles.  Apologies for picking on Westpac but none to Microsoft or IBM.

Westpac to save from its own private cloud AustralianIT

Next month, Westpac will begin migrating about 40,000 mailboxes to the single Outlook platform from IBM Lotus Notes and Novell GroupWise used across the group. Full implementation is expected to take between 12 and 15 months.

With the private cloud, Microsoft applications will be hosted at Fujitsu’s local data centre and accessed by Westpac staff.

So far so good.  They need to get off technology from 1992 – we can understand that. 

Then …

He said an important factor for the move into the Microsoft private cloud was so that staff would have "hooks into the external world" of Facebook and Twitter.

The consolidated communications platform means staff will not have to toggle between Lotus Notes and a separate version of SharePoint then dive into a site such as Twitter outside the network, Mr Girn said. "They will have one container, one Microsoft dashboard in an integrated environment."

What can we imply from this:

  • Microsoft Cloud is touted as a means to view email, Sharepoint and Twitter together.  (Last time I checked I can do that in my browser …hmmmm)

Finally, this from Nov 2010:

Major customer Westpac has renewed its IT outsourcing contract, believed to be worth more than $1 billion.

IBM will help Westpac transition to a new data centre in 12 months, as the bank ramps up its data centre consolidation exercise.

He said Westpac would look to IBM to delve into the world of cloud computing

Lest anyone doubt it, bank technology is far behind.  This is no exaggeration. 

My interpretation of the Westpac arrangement with Microsoft is that it adds incremental cost to their systems without any appreciable long term benefit.  But if they are really buying into a cloud arrangement with Fujitsu why did they commit to new data centres costs last November with IBM?

There is just so much wrong with these announcements.  If banks want to modernise their infrastructure and lever either private or public clouds first get a clear strategy.  First decision is internal or cloud.  If cloud, next is public or private cloud. 

The implication of cloud is to migrate existing infrastructure with a view to flexibility, speed to market, and cost savings.

Lets not talk about Microsoft cloud simply to get internet access, as it sounds above.  This does nothing for Microsoft, for the ‘cloud’ as a concept or Westpac.

Relevance to Bankwatch:

Going back to bank technology and being behind.  Everyone assesses every company today based on what they see on their laptop.  It needs to be quick, simple and effective.  Banks need to do all that, as well as to be able to communicate easily with their legacy systems. 

Therein lies the real challenge.  Its all very well to have a call centre employee chat on twitter but they also need to be able to quickly look up customer information.  This is a small hint at the prospect from cloud operations that house all systems (in a perfect world), yet I don’t get that from these confusing Westpac announcements which feel to me that they are being driven by vendor PR needs, not yours.  Sorry Westpac.

Written by Colin Henderson

August 1, 2011 at 23:00

Posted in Uncategorized

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