IBM on board as Westpac bids to become NZ’s leading digital bank

IBM has today announced that Westpac New Zealand has selected the company’s private cloud technology to support its goal to be New Zealand’s leading digital bank.

The new five year agreement is part of an extensive services and technology contract which includes Westpac migrating some of its business critical IT systems into IBM’s Auckland data centre, enabling enhanced customer service.

The agreement supports Westpac as it embarks on a significant transformation from a traditional bank to one that uses cloud computing enabling it to address key market trends such as social and mobile adoption to influence the way consumers prefer to bank today.

As one of IBM’s long-term strategic outsourcing clients, by adopting private cloud capabilities to develop and test tools within a dedicated environment, Westpac says it will be able to deploy new online and mobile banking services faster and across multiple devices and platforms in response to customer demand.

As customers’ digital footprints expand and the bank’s security demands change, IBM is helping Westpac respond with enhanced online security features, such as the ability to manage identity and access through a single user ID.

Westpac’s Interim Chief Information Officer Jason Millett says IBM’s private cloud platform would further enable increased development of Westpac’s digital capabilities as it responds to customer demands for a more personalised, convenient way of banking.

According to Gartner, by 2016, poor return on equity will drive more than 60 percent of banks worldwide to process the majority of their transactions in the cloud.

“The platform provides a robust and advanced infrastructure enabling a seamless online banking experience across multiple devices,” Millet adds.

“This supports our goal of being New Zealand’s leading digital bank.

“In addition, IBM’s local and global expertise, commitment to work within our regulatory framework, deep knowledge of our business and industry, and responsive commercial models provide a market leading offering that can support our changing needs over time.”

Westpac will also optimise its IT infrastructure by renewing IBM mainframe services, midrange and storage platforms and migrating some services to IBM’s Level 3 data centre providing even greater data resiliency.

To meet Westpac’s optimisation objectives, IBM leveraged its global Research team and Distinguished Engineers who advised on new technology, business processes and IT governance, including more flexible, cost effective and agile approaches to IT service delivery.

“Westpac’s underlying IT systems must operate uninterrupted, be secure and be able to support future needs as customers increasingly engage on mobiles and tablet devices,” adds Rob Lee, IBM New Zealand Managing Director.

“Our relationship with Westpac New Zealand is one of our longest and closest, marked by a high degree of innovation and collaboration.

“We continue to invest in skills and advanced technologies including our cloud solutions to help deliver on their vision to be New Zealand’s leading digital bank.”

IBM has prime responsibility for managing Westpac’s key infrastructure services, under an agreement that was first signed in 2000. In 2013 Westpac became one of the first clients of IBM New Zealand’s Delivery Centre at Unitec in Auckland, employing post-graduate and under-graduate computer science students.

Westpac extended its strategic outsourcing agreement with IBM based on the strength of the relationship and IBM’s ability to bring new innovations such as cloud technology to the IT infrastructure.

IBM New Zealand launched its hybrid cloud in March to offer local customers greater visibility, transparency and control of data security and placement.

This followed an announcement earlier in the year that IBM will invest $1.2billion globally into comprehensively expanding its cloud footprint.

IBM’s global data centre network is key to helping enterprise clients move operations into the cloud in a hybrid model that preserves existing IT investments and connects on premises systems of record with new cloud-based systems of engagement achieving the best of both worlds.

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