An Interview with Jayne Opperman


ANZ’s General Manager of Technology, Retail, Commercial and Wealth speaks to FST Media about how ANZ will deliver an enterprise data analytics capability to provide valuable customer insights.


FST Media: What are your IT priorities for the next 12 to 18 months?

Opperman: Our CEO Mike Smith has put IT on the main stage, given the increasing degree to which digital defines our customer experience. Between goMoney and ANZ Grow apps, we see more than a million logins per day – it is how our customers want to bank with us. 

We are also very focused on delivering an enterprise data analytics capability to provide valuable customer insights. We want to serve customers better with meaningful conversations and appropriately timed offers. We are also working with technology to build common, enterprise platforms for use across ANZ, because it creates a simpler way for our customers to interact with us.

FST Media: What are the major drivers for retail, wealth  and commercial banking and how will these change for 2020?

Opperman: Now, more than ever customers are focused on convenience and value so this is where we focus our efforts. Security is also a key priority for us, though customers rightly assume that our platforms are secure and stable. While it is not really a consideration for them we take great care to ensure we hit the mark. 

In retail banking, customers expect to be able to bank through a number of channels where and when it suits them. We are simplifying our product range, processes and systems and making it easier for customers to do their banking. In commercial banking, business confidence is improving slowly and we are seeing our business customers preparing for growth.  We have a key role to play in supporting our customers, providing more innovative ways to do business and making connections across ANZ to help support the growth in this sector. People are living longer – many are not suitably prepared for retirement and we know that only one in 10 seeks financial advice. In wealth management, customers need affordable, high quality advice and innovative solutions. We have delivered a range of technology solutions to support ANZ’s growth in this segment – including the ANZ Grow app, and there is a lot more in the pipeline. 

Across all of these segments, digital is helping provide a seamless experience so customers have a convenient way of accessing products and services from across the bank.

FST Media: How has the ANZ Grow Centre and application delivered value to the business and how will you measure its success?

Opperman: Visitors to the ANZ Grow Centre can explore how they can connect, protect and grow their wealth. Many come to speak to specialists and ANZ Financial planners, attend seminars or interact with the technology we showcase. We encourage people to walk through apps like E*Trade, Smart Choice Super and, the ANZ Grow app which was a Finalist in the Australian Mobile and App Awards 2014. 

Ultimately, success will be measured by how well we grow our Global Wealth business – but we are also measuring awareness and sentiment, foot traffic to the store, app downloads, logins and how effectively we deepen relationships with customers through these channels. 

FST Media: What has been the response to the implementation of IBM Watson with ANZ’s wealth division?

Opperman: We have been busy providing intensive training to Watson on our products – including terms and conditions – as well as market data and investment strategies. Soon our advisors will have Watson helping us deliver efficient, tailored, high quality financial advice to our customers. 

FST Media: How is ANZ’s multi-channel platform for ‘Banking on Australia’ progressing? 

Opperman: We are two years into Banking on Australia, a five year transformation program focusing investment in our business to make it easier for people to bank with us.

I am pleased with our progress in digital. We set ourselves an ambitious agenda and we have seen a number of the key components come together in the past year. In addition to a new omni-channel banking platform, we have deployed a new multi-channel identity and access management system and risk engine which is the technology behind ANZ Shield. We have also launched a market leading enterprise mobility platform for more than 1,400 of our business bankers to help them better service our customers and have more insightful customer conversations while on the go. 

FST Media: What do banks need to do in order to capture the new breed of ‘data natives’?

Opperman: The biggest opportunity here is to create the best customer experience and improve our capability to identify patterns of customer behaviour which help us serve our customers better.

As a bank, we can detect customer signals that point towards an unmet need. For example, when a customer looks at a home loan calculator or makes an unusual deposit, this is a signal that another event is going to occur. We need to predict this event and provide the right advice, the right price or related information to add value to the customer through their preferred channel.  Most importantly, we need to do this in a way that the customer deems to be helpful and not intrusive. If we get it right we will deepen our relationship with our customers and continue to build trust. 

We are also exploring opportunities with unstructured data in our call centres, using biometrics and voice analytics to provide better service and an improved experience with intelligent routing. And, we are already using it to support enhanced fraud detection to better protect our customers. 

FST Media: How do you leverage big data and analytics to deliver a seamless customer journey?

Opperman: One way we are leveraging big data and analytics is building a “sense and respond” capability across all of our channels. We will be on watch for customer events to understand the context, formulate a decision and deliver the right response, all integrated into our operational systems and tailored to the customer.

A simple example might be identifying when a high value customer has received an unexpected bill and is about to have their card declined. We need to be able to make a split-second decision whether we contact the customer, requesting approval to transfer funds between accounts to enable the transaction. It boils down to the idea that digital enables connectivity, data makes it useful. 

Given the increasingly complex customer environment we find ourselves in, we need to cut through the proliferation of channels and devices and use data analysis and effective decisioning to deliver a consistent, tailored and highly valued experience for the customer.

FST Media: How do you encourage a culture of innovation in your team?

Opperman: Innovation is a mindset and needs to be embedded into the way we work; innovation that drives real transformation is not something that you can achieve easily. We have just run our first group-wide App Contest to help foster innovation and collaboration. It was open to all ANZ employees and teams from across the organisation who pitched their ideas to a team of business and technology leaders. We received some great entries. The seven finalists presented their working apps in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style format to CEO Mike Smith and a judging panel. We have committed to building all of these into our digital roadmap to help improve our digital offering to customers.

The app contest was inspired by our ‘Art of Delivery’ training in which we challenge teams to tackle actual banking issues and deliver a working prototype in 30 hours. It has been an extraordinary success with teams pushing themselves to deliver their best. It is about helping people break out of their ‘rivers of thought’ to achieve real change; breaking free from the constrained thinking that prevents true innovation.

We are also active supporters of the start-up community. We seek out great ideas and innovative companies with which to form partnerships. Our support of the Innovyz program is one example of how we can help. 

FST Media: What methods appeal to you to increase the number of women in IT?

Opperman: In my 23 years working in technology,  it is disappointing to see that we have made little progress on increasing the proportion of women, and I am at a stage in my career where I personally feel accountable for helping to tackle this problem.  We need to work the pipeline at all levels if we are going to address this issue. At ANZ, one of the things we are doing is working with young women in Year 10, to give them work experience and a chance to see technology in action. We are also a sponsor of the Go Girl, Go for IT network, run by the Victorian Information and Communications Technology (VICT), which was established in response to the declining number of women entering the industry.  

We have also made some changes to our day-to-day recruitment practices. We now ensure we have women participating when we are shortlisting, interviewing and selecting candidates. In addition, we always consider flexible working arrangements such as part time and job-share options, and our talent pipeline tracks our high potential women, as well as men. 

FST Media: How significant is the role of technology in your day-to-day life?

Opperman: As I child, I was fascinated by technology. I have always been a big advocate for technology and how it can change and improve the world. Technology is making everyday living easier, making it easier for people to share and connect.  Increasingly we are seeing how social media can highlight key issues and motivate people to take action. Of course, I am an active user of goMoney – our mobile banking app, but I use apps and the web for social, to track my running, book my holidays or restaurants, and listen to music. 95 per cent of any purchases I make are online.

FST Media: Every leader has a legacy they wish to be remembered for, what is yours?

Opperman: I believe the strongest legacy a leader can leave is a legacy of purpose.  As leaders, we absolutely need to create a compelling vision and define both ‘what’ we want to be as well as ‘how’ we want to achieve it. We need to be clear on the values we define for the organisation that provide the framework for how we work together.  

I want to leave a legacy that builds a culture that enshrines the customer – uncompromising in the search for quality and constantly challenging the way we do things to improve the customer experience.

This takes time and requires role models at all levels of the organisation as well as some signature actions that demonstrate we are serious about creating the best banking experience for customers.