Silicon Valley trip teaches ANZ that it's OK to fail

Silicon Valley trip teaches ANZ that it's OK to fail

Banks around the world still haven't completely nailed digitisation, ANZ Australia CEO Mark Whelan says, opening the opportunity for financial services players that can get it right.

Reflecting on a recent trip to Silicon Valley by 23 members of the bank's executive team, Whelan observed that while bank's are beginning to improve the front-end customer experience, more needs to be done in embedding automation right across the organisation and through to the back office.

"We're a 180-year old organisation and there are lots of things embedded into the way that we operate," he says. "If [banks] can get that front-end customer experience right with the automation internally and look at that as an end-to-end result for the customer, not a single product, I think you end up in a really good space."

Explaining the rationale behind the trip to California, Alistair Currie, group CEO, comments: "The senior executive group and the board are very, very aware of the effect, the future impact and the current impact that digitisation is having on our industry, on ANZ, on our competition, and on changing customer experiences. There is a critical strategic reason that is driving our interests."

For Susie Babani, group chief human resources officers, the trip was an "eye-opening" experience. "One of the things I'd like to translate into the bank is the whole test-fail-learn approach and attitude," she says. "We've tended to be much more long-term in our thinking. We have to be an organisation that has a culture of taking risks, where failure is OK. That's not a culture that we have in the organisation at the moment and we need to change that."

Within a month of the return from the US, ANZ announced the establishment of an international panel of technology experts from the likes of Twitter and PayPal to provide advice on the strategic application of new technologies and on emerging technology, digital and social media trends.

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 07 September, 2015, 05:00Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Anyone can see that the ANZ are on the ball regarding the future management of risk to their business due to the unstoppable revolution of digital technology, the changing demands of customers for better experiences in their banking and buying, for all businesses implementing new technology as well as consumer intelligence, and the potent threat that Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft etc. has to their business as banks. As a guess, I imagine that the other three major Australian banks, the CBA, NAB, & Westpac banks, are noting the very real danger of business failure should they neglect this space as well.