PODCAST: sticking to long-term change

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, institutional businesses have embraced the kind of change the pandemic has demanded – like installing digital operations, using technology to automate processes and adjusting to new behaviour and cultural expectations.

Click image to zoom Tap image to zoom

Now the challenge for all businesses is making sure that rate of change is maintained.

" “We've all learned something we didn't know. We've all got a little app or a gadget or something that we didn't use and now we use it.” – Nigel Dobson

Our customers are seeing their own customers’ behaviour change - and stick. But COVID-19 has been such a long process that we're now seeing customers, who have always been on this journey around trying to move to digital, with a ‘tail’. And that's been quite a challenge.

That ‘tail’ is persistent use of old-world practices like cash, cheques and the like, which can impede a company’s digital proposition - as well as internal operations including customer experience, risk along with the opportunity cost of those discreet investment dollars used to maintain legacy systems rather than invest in new propositions. The real challenge now for a lot of our customers is actually, how do they manage the tail?

Different geographies too are at different stages of the journey. For example, New Zealand has already ceased using cheques while blockchains are now being used extensively with trade in Asia to replace cumbersome and error-prone paper systems.

I recently sat down with ANZ Banking Services Lead Nigel Dobson and Head of Wholesale Digital for Institutional Leigh Mahoney to discuss these trends in the lead up to the Sibos 2021 financial services conference. You can listen to our conversation in the podcast below.

Leigh said it was clear over the 18 months of the crisis successful businesses had used the adversity of COVID as a “catalyst for change”.

“We've seen that all over our landscape, especially internally with our staff and externally with our customers,” he said.

Nigel emphasised in an increasingly digital post-COVID era, businesses needed to be operationally robust and resilient.

“[At ANZ] we've been putting a lot of work into operational resilience because stability of services, setting aside the complexity, is still incredibly important to our customers,” he said.

“We've spent the last 18 months really rebuilding our operating model in payment services to acknowledge that every component of the payment value chain, which starts in the bank and extends out right into our customer offices, is as resilient as it possibly can be.”



Reflecting on the 12 months since the last Sibos, Nigel said it had been remarkable how businesses had continued to evolve through that time, particularly when it came to using technology.

“People have adapted their living conditions and their circumstances to manage the workload without a hiccup,” he said. “Technology has absolutely been our friend here.

“We've all learned something we didn't know. We've all got a little app or a gadget or something that we didn't use and now we use it.”

The upcoming digital nature of Sibos – the second-straight year the conference has been conducted in such a manner – was evidence of this, according to Nigel.

“The fact that you can actually run a conference digitally, you can contemplate doing that,” he said. “If I had said to you, ‘Leigh, let's go have a digital version of Sibos’, back in 2018, you would have thought I was crazy, right?”

“When you have large teams distributed across multiple geographies - and this will resonate with many of our customers - the ability for technology to develop so quickly, and to be adopted so rapidly, I think is a real silver lining [of the crisis-led change].”

A digital conference for digital times


The Sibos financial services conference is almost here again - and just like in 2020, it will be purely digital. From October 11, the annual conference will provide a platform for industry participants to delve into the trends which will shape the sector into 2021 and beyond.


In the lead up to the event, ANZ will be rolling out a wide range of conversations from industry experts, offering a sneak peek at the ideas set to dominate the conference – and the future.

Mahoney said continuing change amid the pandemic had helped show businesses the improved “efficiency and control” offered by digital practices.

“I think in a post-COVID world, we'll still be in an environment where we faced increased pressure to drive efficiencies and control,” he said “But that will be tackled, I think, with some of this increased adoption of digital and automation.”

“And I think that, as we move forward, will be key to setting up organisations for the longer term.”

Listen to the podcast above to find out more.

Lisa Vasic is Managing Director for Transaction Banking, Institutional at ANZ


This article was originally published on ANZ’s Institutional website

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

editor's picks

01 Sep 2021

Future of payments: review or preview?

Andrew Cornell | Past Managing Editor, bluenotes

Australia’s payments system is large, diverse and very complex. And globally interlinked. So has regulation kept up with the pace of innovation?

16 Feb 2021

Transformation opportunities exist amid disruption

Tim Dring | Oceania Banking & Capital Markets Leader, EY

As banks look ahead into the new year, the trajectory of the world’s recovery remains critical to their profitability and growth.