Bank of New Zealand plans large technical migration

Part of its parent company’s five-year strategic partnership to develop a multi-cloud ecosystem underpinned by Azure.

Bank of New Zealand has signed up as the latest customer to Microsoft’s flagship New Zealand-based data centre. The agreement will see a large number of BNZ applications migrated to Microsoft’s Azure cloud, assisting with compliance, and driving the creation of better products and services.

Microsoft announced its plan to establish its first datacentre region in New Zealand in May 2020.

“This is the biggest technical migration project in BNZ’s history. With this agreement, we’ll be able to create better, more reliable, and more powerful experiences for our customers and pave the way for new digital tools that will allow them to do more,” said Russell Jones executive general manager technology and operations at BNZ.

The announcement marks the next phase in Microsoft and BNZ parent company, National Australia Bank’s five-year strategic partnership to develop a multi-cloud ecosystem underpinned by Azure. Under this agreement, Microsoft will support BNZ staff with digital training and work alongside the business to engineer a custom cloud-based solution before migrating its core operations to the new datacentre. This will enable the bank’s online platforms to scale up in times of high demand without any disruption to service. A local datacentre region will also solve any latency issues that are a legacy of the bank’s growth over time.

“Complex organisations have an equally complex mix of infrastructure, operations and legacy systems, and the challenge is getting the plumbing to fit together properly. Azure mitigates this, modernising the infrastructure and connecting all our systems together in the cloud to create a much more seamless experience for both our staff and our customers, so everything is always there, exactly when they need it,” Jones said.

Microsoft’s recent Culture of Innovation research, surveying financial services leaders across Asia Pacific, shows digital products and services are already generating an average 39 per cent of finance sector businesses’ revenues and that figure is expected to increase to more than 52 per cent within three years.

Cloud-based systems will greatly reduce the time it takes BNZ to deploy new digital products and services. The move to the new local datacentre will rationalise BNZ’s external datacentres, further increasing its capacity to develop new innovations and enabling almost instantaneous rollout of security updates.

Jones said having Microsoft’s datacentre region located in New Zealand was attractive from a compliance standpoint as well. The world is increasingly moving towards financial institutions storing key customer data within local borders – known as data residency – to provide greater resilience to international connectivity issues or anything else that could affect people’s access to vital financial information.

“It’s about getting the settings right between governance and innovation. Currently we’re performing much of the physical admin of overseeing multiple datacentre operations ourselves, as well as regular security patching. Now our in-house IT teams will be able to focus much more on delivering and deploying new products to market, while our organisation is even more resilient than before,” Jones added.

“We have a bold ambition to fully embrace digital technologies, and Azure, available in a New Zealand datacentre, is going to be a key enabler.”

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