An Adventurous Bank?

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Posted under: From the Blog 27th of July, 2012

So what does it take for bank to adopt BYOD before most organisation. Read more..

When we first read over 12 months ago that Suncorp-Metway Bank was going to allow their staff to BYO computers and devices, we thought ‘wow, a bank is the first major Australian organisation to venture into BYOD’? Pretty adventurous.

Then just recently in May 2012, Suncorp-Metway CEO Patrick Snowball announces spending $275million on the bank’s Simplification program – to simplify the bank’s business operations together with modernising platforms and systems, which included BYOD for 500 employees and the rest of the company by end 2012.

So we thought it would be interesting to track  its BYOD path.


October 2009 - Suncorp reports 40% decrease in 2009 profit. After taking $419k pay cut, Jeff Smith CIO survives senior management cull.
Late 2009 - new CEO arrives
March 2010
Flexible software development methodology ‘Agile’ – started with very visible projects, incubated some projects
small software development teams- flat structures
Building blocks IT transformation – approach being adopted by bank general insurance division to business projects
payroll integration
August 2010 “IT consolidation delivered big savings for the bank over the last year, enabling it to reach its $780 million net profit after tax for the 12 months to 30 June 2010″.
- virtualisation of server infrastructure in 2 years (3500 Intel environments down to 190 physical hosts and 85 Unix hosts to 5)
- Jeff Smith new title Chief Executive Suncorp Business Services Division
March 2011 - 1st major organisation in Queensland (Australia?) to introduce BYOD. Did not refresh 20,000 PCs from Dell and Lenovo
- no restrictions on platforms – Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc
- supplies 1250 iPhones, 600 Blackberry and 700 personal devices
- every device and app has ‘equivalent of digital certificate’ to connect to corporate network
- using Citrix and open source tools for virtualised and secure interface for BYOD
(Citrix Australia BYO program in 2009, employees given US$2100 stipend to buy equipment with anti-virus and support contracts every 3 years, but Suncorp had not decided whether it would give employees an allowance)
January 2012
Last 2 years priority is simplification – 1 claims system, 1 view of customer data hub, 1 financial system, 1 HR system – next year simplifying banking system
Trend away from traditional desktop environment
Expect by June 500 employees will be able to bring own device, rest of company by end 2012
Mobile workforce – shut down an office building – more mobile, online apps, virtualisation technology investment – network and data assets on 2nd generation virtualisation, which puts certificates on devices – “don’t need tokens, etc to do 2-factor authentification”
March 2012
Saving money with running 3 versions of virtual desktops for 2000 Suncorp employees for ” $1200, $1700 and $2700, respectively, which compared to Gartner statistics that said physical desktops cost $2500 if well run and $4500 if poorly run.”
May 2012
CEO Patrick Snowball announces spending $275million on Simplification program with technology at its core – modernise platforms and systems, simplify business operations
Our take
BYOD has to be part of a holistic organisational priority – at Suncorp BYOD was part of broader technology consolidation/simplication, cultural change including enabling broader business simplification.
Not surprisingly, the lukewarm reaction by other CIOs, which may be due lack of organisational/infrastructure readiness?

Interestingly, 2011 CIO Trends survey by Connection Research found that “even though CIOs believe tablets, bring-your-own and cloud computing trends are over-hyped, they are madly gearing their enterprises to embrace them.” Read more:

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