Westpac is preparing for a revolution in IT working practices by cutting out traditional hierarchies and re-equipping its workforce with the skills to survive and thrive in a digitally disruptive world.
In a speech to the Trans-Tasman Business Circle, Westpac CIO Dave Curran laid out the bank's plans to provide existing staff with the tools and training needed to adapt to 21st Century working practices.
"In a slowly changing world, we approached resourcing by hiring people and augmenting their resources by sending them on courses, like leadership and PowerPoint training. But when their core skills ran out, our refresh model was to make them redundant and hire new people," Curran told the meeting. "Clearly, this was not ideal for the worker and, over time, has become more costly and less efficient for an enterprise. In a world of digital revolution where changes are happening fast, this model is unsustainable and is already straining at the seams."
The bank is putting its faith in TechU, an internal IT University as a key component of its LearningBank online training programme. The platform provides 2500 modules and primers on new developments in computing and agile delivery.
Curran says that 40% of the bank's tech team in Australia is already using agile methods for delivery and 100% in New Zealand.
The bigggest challenge facing the bank, he says, lies in repealing 19th Century governance structures, ditching traditional command and control structures and convincing the 65% of its workforce over the age of 35 to embrace a new way of working.
"We need to get to a point where our people are taking charge and wanting to upskill and we're helping retrain them so they can continue to adapt," says Curran. "We can’t simply wait for the workforce to be taken over by millennials - it’s going to be too late. We also can’t just wait for 30 per cent of jobs to be automated. Workers will (and should) be here for quite some time and to support this, we need an agile workforce that is willing and able to adapt, change, and embrace the opportunities of the digital revolution."