Consider digital transformation in “context” or risk failure

Bankwest is embarking on the next iteration of its 124-year journey – preparing for the digital economy and undertaking digital transformation.

Chief Information Officer Andy Weir says when considering the future of work, it’s important to think about the generational components in the context of what an organisation does, how they do it and where.

“We’re operating in a very volatile, complex and ambiguous world and that is only going to intensify and become more acute,” he told the CEDA Future of work business lunch last month.

Weir said Bankwest had already been through enormous transformations throughout its history including being state-owned, foreign-owned, a WA-only business, then a national one and was no stranger to change.

He said the failed Borders bookstore neglected to consider changing customer dynamics and preferences and how the technology changes were going on outside its environment.

“Perhaps the greatest irony is that they outsourced their online capabilities to a company called Amazon, and we all know how that worked out,” he said.

Kodak, which was at the forefront of technology and even invented the digital camera failed because it continued to employ old logic – that customers would continue to print photographs while the generational shift was towards sharing media.

“When we think about that from a future of work context, how many of us as organisations have got enough representation internally to be applying the new logic that is required to the changing circumstances externally?” he said.

“Certainly, in the case of Kodak, they were applying old logic and not considering that in the context of those forces that were changing.”

The what

Weir said in the financial services sector, customers were looking for a ‘frictionless’ interaction such as Amazon stores where you walk in, choose your items and walk out without physically making a payment.

“Our very own Bankwest Halo ring effectively allows you to pay for products and services with the swipe of your hand,” he said.

“These are the frictionless experiences customers are demanding as a bare minimum. If you understand the preferences and changes that are happening externally you can translate those into the types of experiences you are actually developing for your customers.”

The how

Weir said digitally native organisation had pioneered new business models that “break down traditional silos, foster collaboration and speed to market”.

He said Bankwest had a digital native model and used it to leverage diversity of its workforce.

“It is no good saying okay, we’re a new future, let’s get more diversity, let’s bring in a greater age range so we’ve got the full range covered but then deploying people into a traditional business model.

“It doesn’t make sense and you have students coming through, whether they are generation Z or generation alpha, who are actually learning and being educated in this way so why would you put them into an outdated operational model?

“It is really important that coming into the workforce you are providing an environment where they are going to collaborate and deliver those amazing frictionless customer experiences. That really really matters.”

The where

Weir said Bankwest provides a collaborative and engaging workspace with 76 per cent of his colleagues choosing to work flexibly in the last 12 months.

“If you are thinking about what it is you do and how you might organise work in the future, you also have to think about the physical environment. What is the type of environment you need to provide to represent those generational shifts?

“With people coming into your workforce, do not dictate where they work and how they actually work. You have to provide that flexibility to be able to leverage the significant diversity of thought that you get from a widespan of ages within your organisation.”


While automation may be a threat to some roles within organisations – including removing many from Bankwest – it was also creating opportunities, Weir said.

Bankwest has employed people in 10 roles that did not exist in 2012 including an app developer, big data scientist, customer outcome owner, robotics and process automation manager, cloud technology architect, cloud platform leader, digital marketer, social media manager, InApp messaging consultant and a strategic partnership manager.

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