Westpac, one of Australia's largest banks, teamed up with CX Business Critical Services to create a superior customer experience through digital transformation.
Industry: Financial services
Company size: 30,000+ employees
Wayne Bonett, who runs the secure network services team at Westpac, and Asifa Sherazi, the portfolio director overseeing the delivery of all network services programs at Westpac, share their insights on modernizing a historied Australian banking institution.
Westpac is currently one of the largest banks in Australia and plays a key role in helping to ensure the success of the Australian economy.
Westpac's purpose is to help Australians and New Zealanders succeed and the bank is passionate about providing a great customer service. We knew employing a new cutting-edge network infrastructure would be key to serving customers efficiently.
“Westpac is a 200-year-old bank, and throughout our long history great service has always been at the heart of our company.”-Wayne Bonett, Secure Network Services Leader at Westpac
We needed to transform our core, branch, corporate, and international networks. Cisco SD-WAN allows us to programmatically extend enterprise SD-WAN fabric to a multicloud environment with a simple, intuitive, and easy workflow.
Before rolling out Cisco SD-WAN to connect into cloud-hosted applications and services, employees based in Victoria hair-pinned traffic up to Sydney and then out to the cloud provider. This slowed things down significantly and impacted the experience for our people.
After the rollout, which was the first for a major Australian bank, employees in Victoria connect into the local regional performance hub in Melbourne and go directly into a service, like Azure for Office 365. For employees in the branch, this means they're now able to service our customers in a much more efficient, reliable, and secure way.
When we first got the team together to work out how we were going to deploy 5000 physical devices across 944 sites, it seemed like a Mt. Everest of a challenge. Partnering with Cisco and the CX team made a huge difference from the onset. The CX team was integrated into our team and was a big part of our decision and planning processes, as well as deployments.
“We've been working in collaboration with Cisco CX and the Business Critical Services teams from the very beginning of our transformation.”-Asifa Sherazi, Network Services Portfolio Director at Westpac
Relying on the Business Critical Services team has really given us the confidence to take on more than we otherwise would have. They stood shoulder to shoulder with us, working over 75 nights during a nine-month period—reviewing real-time changes and fixing any errors immediately. It was very, very helpful to work so closely and get that architectural viewpoint from them.
“You could walk into a room where we were working with the CX Business Critical Services team and you wouldn't be able to tell who's Cisco and who's Westpac. We're all focused on the same outcomes and all have the same stake in the game."”-Wayne Bonett, Secure Network Services Leader at Westpac
The combined capabilities of Cisco SD-WAN and the CX team were key factors in a fast deployment. Cisco SD-WAN's true zero-touch provisioning, or ZTP, enabled the CX team to remotely provision a router anywhere in the WAN. This shortened deployment time and lowered IT costs while increasing network control and convenience.
The feedback we received after the transition has been excellent when it comes to Wi-Fi speeds, branch performance overall, and application performance in the branches—which went up by 28 percent. Before, when a customer would try to download the Westpac application in a branch, it could take a few minutes. Now it's done within seconds. On average, this new architecture delivers 10 times the bandwidth at 50 percent of the cost.
“We need to make this experience immaculate for our end users and branch staff."”-Wayne Bonett, Secure Network Services Leader at Westpac
Another benefit of the faster network is our rollout of Microsoft Teams calling over the new Wi-Fi, with high-definition video and voice, allowing us to remove fixed line costs across all sites. From a reliability standpoint, we achieved 100 percent uptime across all 900+ sites for months at a time—despite ISP outages across multiple regions—using automatic failover, which provided uninterrupted service.
Now that we've completed Cisco SD-WAN rollouts in the branches, we're focused on the corporate offices–and next we'll be looking at our international sites. When we are finished with this project, we will have completed our infrastructure transformation work, which started almost two years ago.
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