After having emerged relatively unscathed from the Great Financial Crisis, Australia’s banking sector has now been ranked as one of the five safest in the world. Even in the immediate aftermath of the crisis, the country’s banks as well as the regulatory mechanism were touted as benchmarks for fiscal prudence, resilience and oversight.
The sector is dominated by the Big Four – Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), National Australia Bank (NAB) and Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC) – who were rated the most profitable banks in the developed world with combined profits growing nearly 15% in FY 2012-13. There are also several regional and community banks, like Suncorp Bank, Bank of Queensland and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank who may not match up in terms of sheer financial size but have built strong positions for themselves in profitable niches.
The financial services sector in Australia leads all other sectors in the country in ICT spending and is expected to invest heavily this year on technology transformation projects as well as in cloud, data and mobility.
For vendors looking to tap into the opportunity in Australian banking, a pre-configured customized blueprint would be an essential requirement for success. Vendors must offer a set of pre-configured functionality, methodologies, tools and capabilities that are suitable for greenfield deployments as well platform migration. This should be supported by a repository of structured processes that enables banks to standardize and rationalize across branches, business units and geographies. There is also a lot of demand for solutions that can streamline and accelerate segment-specific new product launches or the expansion of channel infrastructure.
Banks also expect core systems replacement programs to run the legacy applications and processes in parallel with the new systems to minimize business disruption. The ideal approach, therefore, would be a component-based strategy for core system transformation. Apart from managing disruption, this would also enable the periodic reinforcement/reassessment of priorities. And with the inevitable transition to the cloud, technology vendors should also be equipped to deal with cloud-based replacements in the future.