ANZ finances its technological projects “like venture capital” – Finance – Strategy
ANZ Banking Group revealed the “hard work” of its technology and finance teams to more accurately assess IT projects and technology processes, and accelerate time to value.
The group’s director of technology, Gérard Florian, said in a ANZ BlueNotes blog post stating that the bank now employs its own “technology CFO” who bridges the gap between technology and finance and oversees this conversation about costs and value.
Florian said that while there is “a general perception of conflict between the technical function and the finance function – one flailing for vital investments, the other arguing that you have to keep an eye on spending” – both had to be “on the same wavelength”.
He said the bank’s finance and risk functions were interested in applications of technology in their own areas, as well as “greater cost transparency” of broader technology implementations across the bank.
“If you run our mobile banking app, how much does it cost? Or if you run our home loan business, how much does it cost to approve a new home loan? »Said Florian.
“Over the past few years we weren’t able to easily figure this out, but more recently we have undertaken significant work with the finance team and CFO to agree on a common base of facts.
“Finances can [now] identify where the numbers come from, what the cost drivers are and what the likely return on any investment will be.
“Then we can all work with our investment committee to better shape future investment plans because we have deeper and richer datasets. “
Florian noted that this merger is “still a developing muscle” within ANZ.
“It’s not something we’ve always done, but we’re improving,” he said.
He credited ANZ’s adoption of enterprise-wide agility for creating closer ties between different parts of the bank, which facilitated collaboration between finance, risk and technology. .
The ability to connect different parts of the organization has made it possible to meet the challenges head-on.
“We had our fair share of chaotic times where systems weren’t performing as we expected and the company very quickly wanted to know why,” said Florian.
“We have worked very hard to build on that confidence.
Specifically on the cost and value side, Florian said ANZ brought in “a CFO of technology who reports to the group CFO” to continue these conversations.
“This CFO technology knows [technology’s] intimately, ”said Florian.
“We meet several times a week to discuss our situation from a strategy and execution perspective. “
Florian said that technology projects are now expected to drive value and ROI incrementally instead of shifting most of the value into a multi-year project effort.
“The days of a three-year tech project that delivers its full value at the end of the third year are over,” he said.
“Technology projects must now generate value gradually.
“It can be small to start with and grow bigger over time, but there has to be some recognition of the value provided.
“And this is where finance sits down with us to check and see that we are delivering what we said we would do.”
Florian also noted that the finance-technology merger meant that the technology is now “often asked to disappear and be more specific on our benefit statement” before funding is approved.
“In the past, we applied for a mega-project – looking for tens of millions of dollars. And you got it or you didn’t, ”he said.
“Today, we operate a bit like venture capital.
“The company says, go ahead and, assuming you’re showing value, you can keep going. And if you can’t show value then we are all okay with stopping before the investment goes any further.