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SOA rewards available, just not immediate: Westpac CIO

Donna-Maree Vinci urges CIOs to hold onto the vision of SOA to realise benefits

Westpac institutional bank CIO, Donna-Maree Vinci, has urged her counterparts to persist in implementing service-oriented architecture (SOA), even if the rewards aren't available immediately.

Vinci is no stranger to overhauling IT systems; during her tenure as CIO of Citigroup, she centralised the IT department before resigning in 2006.

But when it comes to SOA systems, Vinci said she is a firm believer in the benefits that can result.

As part of a continued restructure of the bank's IT systems, Vinci oversaw the implementation of SOA as a foundation for Wesptac's overall enterprise architecture. The result, according to Vinci, was a revival of the bank’s different business divisions, including financial services and the recently acquired St George Bank.

"Applications and channels that are powered by SOA middleware will significantly improve the bank’s ability to respond to changing markets,” she told Computerworld Australia. “They will also offer products that are relevant to clients at the right time and place.

“It’s informed our systems decision to support our multi-brand integration and the ability to direct our decisions to the right priority."

The bank’s enterprise architecture is now driven by the business strategy, which includes standards, technology and architectural principles; an “absolute must” to ensuring a successful organisation, she said.

“When established as a process, it lays out the road map, guides the execution of the strategy, reduces your execution risk and maximises your investment value,” she said. “It’s an asset to the organisation and pays the dividends.”

However, Westpac did not reap the benefits of the new architecture until 18 months after implementation.

Speaking at Capital Markets Technology 2010 conference in Sydney this week, Vinci urged CIOs to hold onto the vision afforded by SOA.

“If you do embark on SOA, you need to realise that it’s going to be a hard sell of the benefits,” she said. “I encourage you all to hold the course because the return on investment will come.

“I don’t think you get the buy-in just because you’re going to turn up and make a case for implementing service orientated architecture. It comes around the partnership with the business and the confidence they have in how you execute SOA.”

The bank recently announced a five-year infrastructure deal with IBM as part of its continued IT restructure.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @hamishbarwick

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More about: IBM, IBM Australia, St George Bank, Westpac, Westpac
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