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Banking on success

Divina Paredes | April 25, 2013
Peter Fletcher, CIO at Westpac talks more about his company

"We work together as colleagues as opposed to taking instructions," he says. "We are very independent and that is important because we have a different market. We have different competitive pressures, we have different scale and at different points our companies have been in different stages of the economic cycle. So that is very important that we can operate independently."

"We certainly have done some things which Australia has picked up on and I think increasingly Australia sees the opportunity that it has here because we can do things quickly because of our scale," he adds. "We can share best practice, we can share skills."

Fletcher says the involvement of IT early on in business projects is very important. Happily, this is the norm at Westpac, he says.

"More often than not we are involved right upfront and certainly if you look back at the pieces of work that have been most successful that is a very common factor. We have been together right at the start."

Meeting new and emerging demands

Fletcher says Westpac is involved in a range of projects around the digital space. One of these is a contactless mobile wallet trial using near field communications.

The mobile wallet system will allow people to use their mobile phone to pay for public transport in Auckland and purchases at various retailers.

"It is important that we are in at the ground level on a lot of new developments in the payment space because I think that is an area that will move quickly in the next few years," says Fletcher.

Keeping abreast of how the younger generation is making use of technology is important for the bank.

"What is really important for us as a financial institution is to understand the next generation of our customers. Their expectations of their technology experience are so far beyond our existing customer group and our customers from years ago," he says. "We really need to challenge ourselves to be able to meet that demand."

Looking back over his career, he says, one key insight he can share is "to have people who have quite different skills and approaches to your own."

Look for "people who can challenge you, who can look at things differently to yourself." Fletcher finds value in forging "very strong partnerships" with major IT suppliers to get insights on business technology trends.

"These are companies that are spending billions every year on research and development and so it is important that we are working really hand and glove with those companies to make sure that where trends they are seeing world of opportunities they can bring to us both individually and together to make things happen," he says.


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