Learning From Digital Innovation At Commonwealth Bank Of Australia

There are a number of firms that we watch closely at Forrester because they stand out for sustained innovation. Behind the technology giants like Google and Apple, there are a number of established firms that are using technology to adapt rapidly and successfully to changing customer behaviour and needs. One of them is Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Over the past four to five years CommBank has introduced a series of digital innovations to serve its customers better including:

  • Finest Online. In the course of its "Finest Online" project from 2007 to 2009, Commonwealth Bank of Australia redesigned its NetBank Internet banking service with the objectives of building an excellent customer experience and driving online sales. The bank implemented new content and functionality to support the customer journey and integrated new secure site sales processes with in-person channels and the bank's multichannel customer relationship management (CRM) system. The two-year, cross-organizational project boosted online sales, increased customer satisfaction, and improved the bank's image. (Forrester clients can read our case study.)
  • Improved customer service across channels. Over the past few years, the bank has worked with Pegasystems to use technologies like case management and predictive analytics to improve the bank's overall flexibility to respond to customers' changing needs and to improve a number of its processes, including how it handles customer complaints and how it delivers relevant messages to customers across multiple channels.
  • A property guide app for homebuyers. In early 2011, Commonwealth Bank of Australia introduced a mobile property guide application that combines mobile augmented reality with licensed information of actual property selling prices, closing dates and estimated current values to help homebuyers in their search. The bank is generating 1% of its overall mortgage leads through the app. (Forrester clients can read our case study.)Commbank's Kaching app makes it easy to make multiple types of payment from a mobile phone.
  • Kaching mobile payment app. Another recent innovation, Commbank's "Kaching" mobile payment app, makes it easy to make multiple types of payment from an iPhone (see the picture to the right). What I like about the app is that it doesn't just enable one type of mobile payment, it enables multiple types of payment including transfers between a customer's own accounts, transfers to other accounts, bill payments through Australia's BPay service, MasterCard PayPass payments at the point of sale (using an iCarte case, not an integrated NFC chip), payments to friends through email addresses and mobile numbers, and even payments through Facebook. Enabling so many payments through a mobile phone will encourage customers to learn the habit of using the phone to settle payments. That's an important step towards providing a true mobile digital wallet, and much further than most other banks have gone. There's a video here if you want to learn more.
  • Online video. As I wrote on this blog a few weeks ago, CommBank has also been one of the pioneers of online video in retail financial services, which it uses to educate customers and promote self-service with videos like this one and this one.

What lies behind all this innovation? Culture and leadership. As my Aussie colleague Steven Noble wrote in his research on The eBusiness Innovation Imperative, the General Manager of NetBank (Online Banking) at Commonwealth Bank of Australia works to a target of creating two breakthrough innovations per year.

So I'm absolutely delighted to announce that Drew Unsworth, the General Manager of NetBank at CommBank and one of the leaders behind all this innovation, will be one of the keynote presenters at our eBusiness and Channel Strategy Summit in London on May 23rd.

Here's how he describes his outlook on eBusiness and why I think you'll want to come and hear his perspective:

"I get excited about online because its where you can have an idea in the morning, execute in the
evening and bask in the results the next day. At Commbank we have done some pretty cool stuff,
taken heaps of calls out of our contact center, made payments really easy, reduced lots of costs
around print and postage, stopped customers getting ripped off by fraudsters and created a great
sales funnel.
"

I don't think there's an eBusiness executive out there who wouldn't like to be able to say the same thing. So I hope you will be able to join us on May 23rd to hear Drew share lessons from his experience. There are details of the Summit here, or you can follow the Summit on LinkedIn here. I look forward to seeing you there. (If you can't wait, Drew's own blog is here, with video of course.)

Benjamin