The danger of BaU in the age of innovation

How often have you heard a new starter in a workplace ask: “Why are you doing that this way? This is madness!”?

More often than not, the reply they get is: “That is the way we are set up here and we have been doing it that way for as long as I can remember.”

" The danger of a 'business as usual' approach is becoming a stagnant business that no longer meets the needs of its customers."
Sreeram Iyer, COO International and Institutional Business at ANZ

The digital revolution has fundamentally changed the world we operate in. Today convenience, trust and simplicity are paramount as companies embrace technology to reshape customer interactions and expectations.

However, delivering the rapid change consumers expect (and disruptive start-ups can deliver) is difficult for large organisations like banks operating in sectors not traditionally viewed as agile.

Well-established processes and behaviours are often continued mostly out of comfort rather than alignment to customer requirements and industry best practice.

In this age of innovation, the danger of a 'business as usual' approach is becoming a stagnant business that no longer meets the needs of its customers or employees.


There're obviously different ways you can tackle these legacy cultures but here at ANZ, to ensure we stay in touch with evolving needs or our customers and employees, the International and Institutional Banking division established the 'Hot House' program.

This program is designed to change mindsets and cultures, helping us rapidly develop and implement new ideas to keep pace with competitor and customer expectations.

A 'Hot House' relies heavily upon the active partnership between Front Office (Relationship and Product), Middle Office, Risk, Finance, Operations and Technology functions to drive end-to-end business transformation.

In the 18 months since the 'Hot House' program was established, over 500 staff from every ANZ IIB customer segment, product, enablement function and region have come together for 32 'Hot Houses' and proposed almost 300 solutions which have been endorsed and implemented.

Our 'Hot House' successes include:

  • The consolidation of account maintenance forms from 56 into one which has significantly 'uncomplicated' both the customer and employee experiences in managing account maintenance requests.
  • Customer Registration in parts was reduced from several weeks to a matter of days, speeding up revenue generation and allowing staff members to focus on value-accretive customer activities.
  • The acceleration of institutional cross-sell and global market asset-manager strategies which has led to meaningful revenue and customer satisfaction benefits.
  • ISDA master agreements executed in less than a third the pre-'Hot House' time, resulting in less employee effort and happier customers.
  • A new onboarding operating model for multi-national customers has led to facility Documentation being executed in as little as two weeks
  • Increased automation, straight through processing (STP) and technology improvements have drastically improved processing times and accuracy across key processes, products and geographies, including:
  • The automation of a static data upload tool has reduced 230+ hours of manual work to less than eight hours.
  • A new stock-management tool is saving global market operations more than 2,000 hours a year of manual effort.
  • Increased STP in London through the reduction of manually keyed payments is estimated to save up to 4,000 thousands hours each year and has resulted in more timely settlements.

These solutions have addressed long established pain-points, bridged gaps to competitors and accelerated strategic objectives by improving the customer and employee experience, increasing productivity, improving platforms and technology capabilities and reliability, and better managing our risks.

While this is what we do at ANZ, the 'Hot House' program concept demonstrates the importance of rapid change in any large businesses. It's a valuable tool for identifying opportunities for improving the customer experience and growing the business. Fast.

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Sreeram Iyer is COO International and Institutional Business at ANZ

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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