The Bank We’re Building: Gerard Florian

Gerard Florian

ANZ Group Executive Technology Gerard Florian

The Bank We’re Building brings together the things that collectively define ANZ – our purpose, our strategy and our culture. Over the past five years, we’ve made great strides, simplifying the bank and helping customers take advantage of opportunities as well as supporting them through challenges.


In this new series, hear directly from ANZ’s Executive Leadership team their thoughts on building culture, living our purpose and building a better bank for the future.


You can browse the full series here.

For me, the bank we’re building is a way to think about a complex system that needs to do a couple of things really well. We need to remain relevant in a world that is changing very rapidly. The best way to do that is to build a bank - and that's the system, the people, the technology, the data, the processing services, all of those pieces - that is adaptive and able to respond quickly at-scale. It's able to introduce new ideas to be relevant bank that we want to be for our customers in the markets we choose.


In Technology we want to be famous for playing a key part in delivering those customer outcomes around financial wellbeing and sustainability. So technology has a responsibility to drive the direction of the bank we're building. And it's important that any tech organisation is good at delivering projects on time and on budget. So as a team, we've got to make sure that we are well organised to do that. But we don't believe that to make ANZ more adaptive, it's a single system. It's not a core system upgrade. It's not one solution.


We need to think about our value proposition and the projects we work on. But we also need to think about reskilling our teams, continuous learning, graduate programs and early talent. All of that wraps up in a very clear plan around our workforce strategy for our teams globally to make sure we've got a really compelling story around our workforce.


The biggest shift we still have in front of us is building a better understanding of the impact our team’s actions have positively and negatively on the customer. And our teams are on the journey of getting a better understanding of who that customer is and understanding the impact. To me, a compelling service is all about engagement. As soon as you start to lose that engagement – a customer doesn't come back for a week and then two weeks, then six weeks. They're not coming back. But that's not necessarily how technology people are wired. They often think, "I've built it so they will come". Engineers would love to have the perfectly designed bank and then go build it but that doesn't exist. So you've got to continue to make iterative improvements.


One of the other strengths of ANZ is that we're a very compliant culture. We follow policy and instruction really clearly. Culturally, as a company, agile is about an adaptive story. It's the ability and desire to put signals out and learn from that. It's the idea of providing guardrails instead of a checklist. If you have a checklist, you don't need to think. You just go tick, tick, tick and move on. It's not possible to simply run the bank off a checklist. Guardrails instead allow for tolerance. So for people who would like more autonomy, guardrails give you freedom to move. And we need people who the ability to adapt, leaders who can exercise judgement, teams who can think on their feet while understanding boundaries so they don't overstep.


Organisationally it doesn't matter whether you're a telco that's regulated or a financial services organisation is regulated. Or even an organisation that isn’t regulated yet but will be soon. Everybody is struggling with the need to move quickly. So we've got the mixed challenges of a very demanding customer, a world that's changing rapidly and, at the same time, an expectation that we will comply with certain regulations. But in times of extreme crisis, we know we can make decisions fast - not necessarily better decisions - but we can push ourselves. So it's up to all leaders to find ways to hang on to some of what we've learnt.


First, understanding and being able to use data-driven insights. Equally, we need to be much better at not just automating things but intelligent automation - so signals, learning and continuous improvement. We need to think around our ability to integrate - around APIs and wanting to be part of an ecosystem - so simplified integration is key. And at the center of the model is embedded resilience. So whether you're a customer or an employee, you expect to be using modern digital tools.


Gerard Florian is Group Executive Technology at ANZ


Find conversations with ANZ’s Executive Committee on the Bank We’re Building series page

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