We speak with CIO Robert Aitken.
One of Australia’s largest customer-owned financial institutions, Adelaide-based Beyond Bank Australia has more than 200,000 customers and over $4 billion in assets under management. CIO Rob Aitken and his team manage the technology needs of 600 staff across its head office and 43 branches around the country.
What’s an example of a project that involved partners?
A business transformation project called Business Evolution that includes a new CRM and key infrastructure to support the change. We are using UXC Eclipse for project management and CRM development, and Kloud for the Office 365 migration and implementation.
How do you use partners to support IT?
We are using them more and more, with projects becoming more sophisticated, expectations going up, time frames shrinking and the expectation that everything must be integrated. As a result, we are often working with new and cutting-edge technology. So we need to call on best‑of-breed suppliers and integrators to get our applications working nicely together.
What do you look for in a supplier?
We are relatively small so price is important, but it is by no means the determining factor. It is about getting the right skills and experience, and it is also about being aligned in terms of values and integrity. We look for partners rather than suppliers and we look for partners that actually see the outcomes of the project as a reflection of themselves.
How can a partner impress you?
UXC Eclipse have been actively developing with us on the ground in Adelaide. Their commitment is best expressed through them sourcing the right skills, knowledge and experience from around the country then flying them in, at their cost. They are staking their reputation on the success of this project, so they are picking and choosing who is best placed to deliver for the different stages of the project.
How do partners disappointed you?
Dishonesty in terms of underestimating cost and skills to win a bid, because naturally it comes back to bite them. Inevitably it is me that wears the accountability for it and it forces a rethink next time around.
Will you be using more partners over time?
Cloud is about business agility with technology at the forefront. As a result, it is near-impossible to keep pace with. In years gone by upgrade cycles were every three to five years, whereas with cloud-based services it moves closer to annually. To keep pace with that, the only choice is to have some strong relationships with suppliers and partners to ensure you are best able to support, integrate and deliver.
October 2011 – present CIO, Beyond Bank Australia
March 2009 – October 2011 IT Manager, Community CPS Australia