The CBA's core systems overhaul has been conducted in-house, and that focus on using home grown local skills will continue.
While Mr Narev acknowledged that he could see why some organisations would offshore he said that his experience with offshoring in the past was that there were often disappointments in terms of the labour arbitrage and service levels which were achieved, and that although the bank would always look at it, there were no plans to offshore any operations at this time.
Mr Narev said CBA would continue to look to technology, its people (and their productivity), and a strong balance sheet as the three pillars underpinning future strategy.
The bank has always claimed that its $1.1 billion core banking programme, overseen by CIO Michael Harte, which has seen it replace legacy with an SAP based platform would give it a competitive edge. Mr Narev today said that although other Australian banks could offer some of the real time banking functions in pockets (St George for example has long offered real time banking), he argued that none of CBA's competitors could offer real time banking across all their lines of business.
More than 10 million retail bank accounts have now been transitioned to the new CBA platform as well as all but a few businesses. He expected that transition would be complete by August or September.
'We have a high degree of confidence that benefits will be seen over time.'
He offered the example of the Kaching payments application, which has now been downloaded more than 100,000 times. Mr Narev said that applications such as Kaching demanded real time banking capability.
Without that banks would be forced to perform 'unnatural acts that will impose high levels of risk.'
He acknowledged the ongoing debate as to whether the same level of transformation could be achieved by focusing at the customer interface, rather than at the core system (this has been Westpac's approach for example) - but he argued that in the future it was quite possible that cash would be displaced by online payments, and that would demand banks invest in a modern real time core system.
Asked whether by investing in the SAP platform CBA was in fact establishing a new generation of legacy, Mr Narev said that this was not the case and the bank a 'vanilla solution with no tailoring.' While CBA was at the leading edge in terms of that SAP rollout, he said it was not a bespoke solution, but one which SAP would continue to develop and invest in.
As the bank concludes the CBA core rollout Mr Narev confirmed that there were no similar scaled technology programmes on the horizon, but that a number of smaller projects were envisaged. He gave no clue as to what they might involve.