An Interview with Tim Whiteley, General Manager, Application Development, Westpac


“The power of quantum computing combined with the advances in neural networks and deep learning have enormous potential for the industry.”

FST Media: What do you see as the biggest challenge posed by technology today?

Whiteley: For me, the biggest challenge is the ever-increasing speed of advances in technology.

This puts significant expectations on our people to continuously re-learn and makes our architectural and technology decisions even more critical.

FST Media: How are Westpac’s technology choices enabling better business management and innovation practices?

Whiteley: We are pursuing our platforms strategy to create data and APIs which help create contextual and personal customer experiences.

We are only in the early stages of what is possible with all the data and interactions Westpac has on and with its customers.

FST Media: How have artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies improved customer experience and engagement for Westpac?

Whiteley: At Westpac, we are integrating AI within our new contact centre platforms and recent enhancements to our mobile banking apps to create a connected, personalised, and seamless experience for our customers.

FST Media: With the advent of Open Banking and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), data has become a powerful commodity. How is Westpac better serving customers through innovations in big data and analytics?

Whiteley: We have a dedicated transformation program focused on data-driven experiences for our customers. As we move to an Open Data world, access to external data will enable us to create even more convenient and contextual customer experiences.

FST Media: With the progressive adoption of Open Banking, what ethical and governance challenges will financial services need to solve?

Whiteley: We are supportive of the Open Data regime and the government’s timeframes. We will work closely with relevant regulatory bodies and other open banking participants to achieve the best outcome for our customers.

FST Media: What essential skill-sets are currently lacking in today’s digital and technology talent pool? 

Whiteley: At Westpac, we strive to have a culture of continuous learning, where our workforce can constantly retrain, reskill, and adapt to change. That’s the reason we built an internal technology university called ‘TechU’ – to encourage social, collaborative, and ‘self-directed’ learning.

Learning content is grouped into ‘faculties’ for the key capabilities areas that we want our people to upskill in. We currently have eight faculties: Agile & Delivery; Social Mobile & Digital; Security; Cloud; Service management; Architecture; Leadership; and Data and Insights.

We review priorities for the faculties on a regular basis to ensure that we are focusing on developing the most relevant skill sets and capabilities.

FST Media: How do you foresee AI, Robotic Process Automation and big data further developing over the next three years?

Whiteley: By leveraging cloud and big data technology to access more data more quickly, we will create better banking processes and better customer experiences.

FST Media: What existing technology would you like to see play a more prominent role in financial services over the coming years?

Whiteley: The power of quantum computing combined with the advances in neural networks and deep learning have enormous potential for the industry.

FST Media: As a featured keynote speaker at FST Media’s Future of Financial Services conference, Sydney, what are you hoping to achieve from your presentation?

Whiteley: I’m looking forward to sharing personal insights as well as Westpac’s insights into the future of technology in financial services and how we can all tackle common issues across the industry in our region.


Tim Whiteley will be a featured keynote speaker at the 2018 Future of Financial Services conference in Sydney on the 8-9 November, exploring the future of machine learning and open APIs within FSI. Register now to secure your place.