From early January Commonwealth Bank will make its Kaching payments application available inside Facebook which will allow people to make or request payments to and from Facebook friends, and complete the payments loop without ever leaving the social network. Backed by what Andy Lark, chief marketing and online office described as a “100 per cent security guarantee,” the payment loop will be completed using CBA’s Netcode SMS service which will require payers and recipients to enter a verification code to complete the transaction.
Mr Lark said that the only reason CBA had been able to deliver the Facebook system and security guarantees was because the bank had completely transformed its back end systems.
Chief information officer Michael Harte, who has overseen a $1.1 billion core banking overhaul of the CBA, remains at pains to explain the competitive advantage that he believes the overhaul has delivered to the bank. Speaking at a media briefing in Sydney today Mr Harte acknowledged that the “intelligentsia” was still divided over the relative merits of the four big Australian banks’ approaches to technology refreshes.
But he argued that only by fundamentally re-architecting the information technology platform could a bank expect sustained and affordable competitive advantage.
He dismissed as “window dressing” some of the innovation being rolled out by rival big banks. Mr Harte said that; “The cost of computing is eventually too high and too complex to support if you take a front-end only approach.”
A regular and loud advocate of cloud computing Mr Harte also seized the opportunity to extol the financial benefits of cloud computing. By Christmas the majority of commbank.com will be hosted on the local instance of the Amazon public cloud using an Adobe Content Management system.
Mr Harte said that he believed cloud computing was valid for banks as long as it met all the data sovereignty and security expectations; “And our security requirements are more stringent than government departments,” said Mr Harte who stressed that no customer data would be stored in the cloud.