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ING pushes ahead with systems update

ING pushes ahead with systems update

ING Australia, looking to steal a march on its rivals, says the global financial crisis will not deter it from continued investment in information systems.

A restructure of the insurance company's wealth management and technology team and an overhaul of computing processes had begun to reap rewards, according to its chief information officer Greg Booker. Tje joint venture between Netherlands-based ING and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group has announced that its 2400 local staff would survive a cull of 7000 ING employees worldwide.

The job cuts were announced after ING had reported its second consecutive quarterly loss. Booker, who joined the company last March from St George Bank, said changes to its information systems under a program known as Refresh had helped to shield the organisation from the pain felt in the wider ING group.

He said the creation of a new area known as business engagement and a new project management office had enabled ING Australia to plan technology improvement work to be conducted in the coming 12 months.

"One of the challenges the organisation has faced in the past is in doing very large programs, and too many of them while not understanding the scope and requirements upfront," said Booker.

"With the two offices coming together, we have gained a very strong project initiation process, and out of that we are seeing a reduction in the cost of projects and an increase in the number of projects coming in on time and undeer budget with the required functionality."

He said that while ING Australia was feeling the impact of the global financial situation, it would keep working on initiatives to improve the business once the market turned and that technologywould play a crucial part in the future of the company.

Booker said the plan was to move existing and new products onto a new technology platform and retire about 20 older systems over the next three years.

This year the company will push on with a program that reduces the amount of equipment needed to run technology and seek to renegotiate a number of key infrastructure contracts and appoint a new vendor to provide application development and support.

Booker said the company had started the sourcing program for the application work and had narrowed the field to two Indian vendors, Wipro Technologies and Tata Consultancy Services.

He said a final decision was likely in April or May.

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