Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Aussie bank step backs from web 2.0

The Bank Channel today repeated an IT News story about: Westpac has revealed that changing business conditions and poor adoption forced it to abandon or shelve some of its highest-profile Enterprise 2.0 projects.The bank has abandoned the Second Life presence it used for employee induction, has re-evaluated the use of blogs within the company and has pulled back on desktop video." In a candid presentation at Future Exploration Network's Enterprise 2.0 conference in Sydney, the bank's former chief technology officer and now general manager of application development, David Backley said...
"Failures can become expensive. We do massive systems rollouts and we expect huge paybacks." Westpac was among the earliest Australian big organisations to grant its workers access to social networking. Its internet banking site has three million users logging up to 700,000 sessions a day and 6000 users at a time. And it handles more transactions on the internet than from its branches and call centres combined.But it has seen its share of project failures too, Backley reminded the audience.Such as its early leap into blogs. Bank management at the time was too risk averse and the technology too new, he said."Parts of the organisation were too scared to put comments in because they didn't know what the consequences were," he said.
...Backley told delegates there were some important lessons they could learn from Westpac's experience. "You need to ask yourself, can the organisation support the technology?" he asked. "It is no use if nobody will give up headcount or budget to support it."

Which all made me wonder:
a) has Westpac been burnt by trying to do too much too soon;
b) does web 2.0 really just not fit in with the rigourous procedural requirements of a financial institution;
c) is it just because this guy Blackley has been replaced as CTO by someone anti-web 2.0; or
d) is it GFC (global financial crisis) cut backs by any other name?

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