Our approach to changing technology
Technology is driving rapid change in financial services. It has created new challenges and opportunities for every business in terms of how it achieves productivity, delivers a valued customer experience, maintains the security and integrity of data and manages a much more dynamic, challenging and fluid competitive landscape.
A number of technology issues rated very highly in this year’s sustainability survey. This has made technology changes one of our sustainability focus areas for the year ahead. We want to take a closer look at how we can implement new technology in our business and leverage it to benefit our customers.
Using technology to drive a better customer experience
It's a challenge for many organisations to keep up with customer demands and expectations that are being shaped by the world's digital leaders. To thrive, tomorrow's companies will need to be capable of quickly responding to opportunities to add value for customers by giving them faster, more personalised, easy-to-use products and services.
At BOQ we've been preparing to adapt to a future with a radically different technology landscape. We're currently looking at:
- unifying and upgrading our core platforms and infrastructure to create a more flexible architecture
- transforming BOQ into an open banking ecosystem giving us more flexibility to join with partners to take advantage of opportunities and offer customers a more personalised experience
- maturing our data analytics to better understand customers' needs so we can deliver an improved value proposition with more tailored product offerings
- introducing a Customer Engagement Platform that will give us a single view of customers across all touch points
- continuously improving our digital capability
- identifying opportunities for adopting cloud technology
We want to build an agile digital capability so we can create flexible solutions that adapt quickly to market changes and emerging opportunities. We've improved our internal change capability by introducing new project frameworks and methodologies supported by delivery models aligned to business portfolios. There are also clearer paths for investment decisions through assurance forums, a Board technology committee and a fast-tracked prioritisation process. Our approach to being more agile means we will also consider opportunities outside our existing skill set. This might include partnering with fintech companies who have different expertise to ours, but whose capabilities align with our strategy, to leverage disruptive technologies.
During the past few years we've looked at how we can use technology to put our customers in charge of when, where and how they interact with us. Ways we've done this using new technology include:
- introducing remote technology to support branch managers and mobile lenders so they can offer great service to customers anywhere, anytime
- launching individual Facebook pages for branches giving customers, communities and branches greater digital engagement and accessibility than ever before
- introducing new look ICON branches that use open-plan design and a range of self-service and semi self-service technology options so customers can choose the level of support they want from branch staff
In our 2017 financial year, we continued to improve the customer experience with upgrades to the customer interface of our digital and direct customer channels by:
- upgrading our branch ATMs which now have large touch screens, improved security features, audio guidance for visually impaired customers, faster transaction times and improved reliability
- introducing a new web platform with tools to personalise content for our Virgin Money brand – this web platform will be rolled out to upgrade BOQ's website early in 2018
In the year ahead, we'll introduce Customer Connect which will help us deliver a new platform connecting all our digital channels. This will enable us to offer customers 24/7 social media support, video support through Skype and voice biometric technology.
As well as using technology to drive improvements to our customer interface, we've also improved the customer experience by digitising our lending processes to speed up response times and free up our great staff to spend more time with customers. Over the past two years we've:
- launched our digital lending platform supporting standard home loan applications
- implemented a new digital platform to digitise our commercial lending processes
- launched a new Lease Management Platform which consolidates a range of disparate systems to standardise the leasing lifecycle process
- begun to explore the use of robotics to automate additional parts of the lending process
In our 2018 financial year we'll continue digitising our systems by launching a new digital foreign exchange and international payments platform, which will expand our service offering in particular to our small business customers with international dealings.
You can find out more about how customers engage with our digital channels on our non-financial performance table.
Using technology to improve internal operations
Not only is technology driving a dramatically different customer service experience, it’s also powering new internal processes which are driving efficiency.
Digitising our main customer workflow systems has delivered a faster, more consistent process that’s reduced our environmental impact by removing paper from the business. We’ve also developed new operating models and centres of excellence. The savings these deliver will be redeployed into more productive initiatives for the business.
We’ve continued to upgrade a number of internal workflow processes and human resource systems. We’ve been able to consolidate systems to save on costs, automate and streamline processes to improve efficiency and increase our access to consolidated internal data to help identify opportunities to make more improvements.
We’ve implemented wi-fi across a number of support centres and key branches which has increased staff collaboration and efficiency. We’re continuing to upgrade branch hardware and software which will help us adapt to digitisation in the future. We’ll also soon upgrade our telephony system to improve connection between different parts of the business.
In the year ahead we’ll continue to progress our journey towards becoming a digital workplace. We will also investigate new ways of working to improve productivity and strengthen our customer focus
Information technology and cyber security
We are committed to keeping our customers' personal information and online transactions safe from unauthorised use, disclosure, modification, damage and loss.
The Board has identified cyber security as a material business risk (see page 18 of our 2017 Corporate Governance Statement). We have established a Cyber Security Council with wide representation across the business, and we also consider cyber security at Board and Executive Committee meetings.
We continue to invest in responding to an ever changing landscape of technological threats and maintaining strong cyber security capabilities through a team of highly-experienced professionals. Our policies, procedures and security controls are based on the best international and industry standards, and they govern how we protect the sensitive electronic and physical information we collect, store and use to provide services to our customers.
We have adopted a risk led approach to cyber security and regularly conduct organisation-wide security awareness programs to ensure our people remain aware of the changing threat landscape. We are also strengthening our security incident detection and response processes to minimise the impact of potential incidents, as well as enhancing our capabilities by investing in state-of-the-art malware protection and fraud systems.
Looking ahead, the increasingly complex cyber security threat landscape and the commoditisation of cyber crime presents challenges for the entire industry. We'll continue to adapt with the help of our strategic partners, and continue to develop measures that keep our customers' information safe.