Investing in Innovation: ANZ’s $450 Million Deal

ANZ committed $450 million in a deal with IBM intended to enlarge the bank’s digital footprint.

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This week, ANZ committed $450 million in a deal with IBM intended to enlarge the bank’s digital footprint.This five-year partnership is a plan to increase productivity and innovation across the ANZ group.

The deal provides ANZ access to IBM’s software portfolio, next generation cloud capabilities, and core systems infrastructure.

Source: ANZ
Source: ANZ

Central to the deal is an Innovation Lab powered by IBM’s Bluemix where the partners hope new product applications and services will be hatched.

Gilles Ubaghs, Analyst in Financial Services Technology at Ovum sees the agreement as another example of a shift in culture where “the banks are looking to get in with the entrepreneurial aspects of technology.”

Ubaghs told OmniChannel Media that the pace of technological innovation is so great now, it is difficult for a big financial institution to keep up. “I think there is an appetite amongst investors to kind of see activity in terms of ‘what about all this disruptive technology we see?’” he said.

He notes Citigroup and BBVA as players in innovation and predicts that the ANZ IBM will likely be experimenting with Biometrics: “I see them looking into voice recognition technology”.

Still, he says that the deal should not be interpreted as a defensive move vis-à-vis their e-competitors like Apple and Google. “The bank is still going to be the most trusted institution for consumers,” Ubaghs said. “But in using Apple Pay the bank is losing the customer engagement. That’s what the bank needs to be wary of.”

What’s the impact on industry disruption? “I think it helps the Banks to keep on top of disruption. It’s not a cure-all solution. Disruption will still keep coming out of random corners that most people won’t be able to predict. For most end users they don’t care where the disruption comes from,” he said. “They just want a better service. There’s no need for the Bank to just roll over dead and let the giant tech disruptors come and shake things up.”

On top of the innovation centre, IBM will also provide common platforms across ANZ’s network and support the banks regional expansion.