An Interview with Andy Weir, Chief Information Officer & Executive General Manager – Technology and Transformation, Bankwest

"Changing the way an organisation operates also requires radically modernising technology platforms to support and optimise the changes and to more efficiently deliver value to customers."
 

FST Media: As a technology leader in financial services, what do you see as the key differentiator or unique innovation that distinguishes the current era from those past?

Weir: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and AI are advancing rapidly, as is people’s acceptance and use of these technologies, and they will fundamentally change the landscape as we know it.

AI will shift away from reactive information requests to proactive personal financial ‘coaching’, helping customers get the most from banking relationships and available products and services.
 

FST Media: As digital ecosystems bloom and emerging technologies shake up Australia’s FSIs, what should banks do to adapt and remain relevant to customers in the years to come?

Weir: Customer expectations are changing rapidly, largely driven by the frictionless experiences showcased by newly established and emerging ‘digitally native’ services.

It’s important to truly recognise this rapidly shifting environment and, at Bankwest, we continue to evolve our business to ensure we’re set up to meet these changing needs and expectations.

Part of that evolution involves transforming our operating model and ways of working in-line with the digital natives, putting customers at the heart of what we do and optimising value creation.

Changing the way an organisation operates also requires radically modernising technology platforms to support and optimise the changes and to more efficiently deliver value to customers.
 

FST Media: Cultural change is critical to any successful transformation program. How did you ensure that all vested parties – no matter their position or stake in the business – were on board for Bankwest’s two-year transformation journey?

Weir: Any successful cultural change must be ‘leader-led’ and demonstrate the ‘why’ underpinning the change is key; it also needs to be constantly reinforced by senior leaders in every communication.

Leaders must also take ownership of the change and create the future business and technology model themselves, rather than leave it to external resources.

Our most effective approach was to challenge our existing leaders to take ownership in creating their future, rather than be passive observers as change happened around them.

 

FST Media: It’s no secret that ‘Big 5’ technology players – Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple – have mastered the art of hyper-personalisation. What lessons can financial services organisations take from the bigtechs in advancing their service offerings?

Weir: Most digital-native organisations have a DNA of personalisation and they have raised the bar of expectations across all industries in terms of personalised customer experience.

This raises the standards of customer service and care, which is great, but financial services must mirror the culture, operating model and tech capabilities of ‘digital natives’ to compete effectively.


FST Media: How do you continuously drive a culture of customer-centricity within your team that ultimately supports your business objectives?

Weir: It starts with senior leaders highlighting, reinforcing, and communicating passionately about delivering for customers and ensuring customers remain at the heart of everything we do.

This is followed by embedding customer centricity into our DNA in terms of operating routines, rituals, processes, and practices, and taking action accordingly when required.

An example of this at Bankwest is the executive team’s weekly review of what our customers are saying to and about us on social media, via our Customer Care team and through frontline feedback.

 

FST Media: With the progressive implementation of Open Banking, the rise of third-party players, and persistent fears over disintermediation, how do you think the average Australian will engage with their bank in 2025?

Weir: We believe people want to see and hear less of their bank while knowing they’re supported when needed, which is the aspiration behind our Bank Less brand positioning.

The rate of change in the world is constantly increasing, making 2025 hard to predict, but I suspect those characteristics of Bank Less will more firmly underpin customer expectations in the future.

If you think about Uber: you might need to order a car through the app, but it’s taking care of everything else behind the scenes – it even knows where to send the car without a need for input.

I see banks evolving in a similar way – whether behind the scenes or interacting with customers, we’re making lives easier and enabling their success in a secure, transparent, and trusted way.  

 

FST Media: As an advocate for workplace diversity and inclusivity, what initiatives do you feel are best placed to achieve results on creating inclusive work environments?

Weir: At Bankwest, the initiatives that have been most successful are those for which colleagues are most passionate about, and a good example of this is our Autism Internship program.

This initiative provides opportunities for individuals with autism; it was created by our colleagues and we were proud to boost the support and expand the program to take on more interns.

ClubW was also colleague-led and provides guidance and support for women in our tech community, while CoderDojo encourages the interest of women and girls in STEM careers earlier in the pipeline.

 

FST Media: What lessons and insights are you hoping to impart on your audience during your upcoming presentation at Future of Financial Services, Sydney conference?

Weir: I’ll be sharing the environmental drivers behind the Bankwest transformation journey, providing an overview of our new operating model and sharing stories of what we’ve done well and, most importantly, what lessons we’ve learnt along the way.


Andy Weir was a featured keynote presenter at the Future of Financial Services Sydney 2019 conference.