An Interview with Matt Dumbill


Sainsbury: What are your top IT priorities for the next 12-18 months?

We’ve got a big project to simplify our systems. Once that is done, the main focus is delivery of a programme of work to add the features our customers want.

Sainsbury: What emerging trends do you see having the biggest impact in online banking?

Smart phones and tablets have changed the game in terms of expectations about convenience, usability, and the pace of change.  Not only do we have to be on the devices our customers are using, we have to make sure the ease-of-use they have for everything else applies equally to banking online. Also critical is to continue to release the features that customers demand to keep ahead of the market. 

I believe the overall digital experience will be the defining factor in the decision for new customers about which bank they bank with.   This is probably true for younger demographics now, but over time may become true for all customers as smartphones reach saturation point in a few years.

Our research and experience tell us that banking is one of those “check” activities that customers also do for social media and e-mail.   Checking Facebook and e-mails first thing in the morning is far more convenient on a smart phone than anywhere else, so we need to be where customers are choosing to interact if we want to be part of their lives.

Sainsbury: How are efforts to enhance the customer experience driving the development of ANZ’s online portal?

Customer experience is everything, from prioritising what we do to making sure individual features are usable.  We bake customer testing and feedback into everything we do, from deciding features to add, customer testing to make sure what we do is usable, to post-release feedback. We actively solicit feedback and read every single one.

Sainsbury: There is a wave of online financial products coming from new entrants, such as Google, Facebook and Bitcoin. How do you see traditional banks evolving to adjust to these entrants?

Bank smartphone apps are at the forefront of change.  Many banks in NZ have some sort of smartphone “real-time” P2P payments capability that is outside the overnight batch traditional payments system. I think the banking industry will adapt and enable more consumer focused real-time payments within the traditional payments systems, but this isn’t an overnight change due to the complexity of existing systems. 

I love these disruptive technologies because they force us to up our game.

Sainsbury: Innovation is key with differentiation in financial services. What initiatives do you have in place for developing innovative ideas within your team?

Unless you have large innovation budgets the way to innovate is to collocate business, design, and IT resources and let relationships and serendipity take care of the rest. This is the model used from Bletchley Park to the early days of Silicon Valley – bright people sparking off each other to innovate.

Innovation can be simply a combination of existing capabilities with something not previously considered.  If you have the right people with the right skills solving the problems then you’re more than half way there.  

This is exactly the approach that saw our National Bank brand launch the world’s first native iPhone app in 2008.  We didn’t plan it, but we took the opportunity when it presented itself.

Sainsbury: As mobile and online platforms become the dominant form of customer engagement, what do you think will be the most effective way to reach out to more mature demographics who may be hesitant with regards to digital?

Smart phones have introduced a lot more convenience for customers and at the same time created much higher expectations of how easy technology should be to use. As smart phone and tablet use becomes more widespread, and the ripple of better usability flows to the rest of the internet, all demographics will find interacting with digital much easier. 

This may be double-edged sword.  Unless better usability flows though to the rest of the internet I can see a situation for the younger demographic where they just refuse to use a system that is in any way hard to use.   

Sainsbury: Where to you see the greatest opportunity for synergy to achieve multi-channel integration?

Customers need a similar experience across all touch points that interacts the way they want to. This will be different for different customers, and also different depending on the complexity of the interaction for the same customer. 

That’s why branches, often the forgotten area in terms of digital strategy, are still very important for those complex interactions. I see it as a hierarchy of complexity. There is, for example, a big difference between making a bill payment to getting a new home loan. At the moment most people have a need to speak to someone before committing to such a large complex product such as a home loan.

The challenge for us is to make digital channels the most convenient way to start most interactions regardless of where they are finished.   As we get better at providing complex interactions and customers get more comfortable with them, more and more interactions will be started and finished online.

Sainsbury: What are the most effective strategies for financial services to adopt when approaching customer engagement through social media?

ANZ has focused to date on proactive and reactive customer service and promotion of services that are most appropriate through the channel. This is working well.

The less obvious benefits of social media to a delivery focused team are that it’s a great way find out what our customers are thinking.  Previously we’d have to wait for customer feedback via traditional methods of branch and contact centre, which not only represents a fraction of general sentiment, but it could take days or weeks for it to filter back to the right area.

I love the fact that social media provides both real-time and public feedback. This means we need to be on our toes to not only provide a good service in the first place, but also have in place a way to react if we discover there is an issue.  

My team is particularly attentive when we release a new internet banking feature.  While naturally we get a thrill from seeing what happy customers are saying, it’s more important to have early warning if there is something they’re not happy with.

It will be fascinating in the future to see how much customers are willing to use social media to share their financial aspirations and progress towards them. On one hand sharing progress with your friends that you’re saving for a holiday or house deposit could easily tap into positive group reinforcement and increase the chance of following it through.  On the other hand people may regard financial information as a step too far to share. 

Sainsbury: Every leader, particularly at your level, has a legacy they would like to be remembered for. What is yours? 

Dumbill: Embedding a focus on usability and wiring it into our processes as a mandatory step, critical for success for our channels.