Australia’s sixth largest bank, Bank of Queensland Group (BOQ) and Microsoft have today announced a five-year strategic partnership to accelerate the company’s cloud-first digital transformation.
The partnership will help the bank to simplify its digital landscape, provide more modern and personalised banking services for customers, and fuel further innovation.
As part of the agreement Microsoft will become BOQ Group’s preferred cloud provider with the bank progressively transitioning its technology infrastructure and applications to Microsoft Azure by 2025. For BOQ, the move to a single cloud environment will help to drive efficiencies and enable greater use of automation and other cloud-native capabilities to improve customer experience and expediate time to market for the development of new features.
In addition, BOQ will become the first Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services customer in Australia and New Zealand and the two companies will test and co-design speciality products for the Australian and New Zealand market.
Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services will be a key component for realising BOQ’s goal of delivering more personalised and intuitive data-driven experiences for its customers across its channels.
While the financial institution is currently a leading user of Microsoft Azure, Azure data and AI, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Power Platform and Microsoft 365 in Australia, this partnership will broaden that relationship to accelerate delivery of outcomes providing customer, and employee value.
The strategic partnership is built on three strategic drivers: establishing foundational capabilities and efficiencies through Azure Cloud, delivering intuitive banking services using Financial Services Cloud, and driving a culture of innovation.
A team of Microsoft global and regional executives, supported by US and locally based engineering teams will partner with BOQ throughout its digital transformation.
The two companies have been working together since 2019, when BOQ deployed Dynamics 365 to optimise its customer experience. Microsoft also helped strengthen the banking group’s technology capability within its branches and across the broader workforce in 2020 through BOQ’s internal Banker X program.
As part of Banker X, BOQ commenced transitioning its employees to the Microsoft Office 365 suite, migrating to a modern, managed working operating system, and introduced new Microsoft Surface and other personal computing devices across its workforce, supporting the latest capabilities in hybrid working.
BOQ Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer George Frazis joined Microsoft Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Judson Althoff in Sydney recently.
“Our purpose is to build social capital with our customers and the community, and partnerships are critical to achieving this. We are excited to have such a strong partner in Microsoft to support us in building the digital bank of the future,” Frazis said.
“Digital technologies are critical enablers for organizations to be more resilient, accelerate innovation and unlock new value for their business,” said Judson Althoff, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Microsoft.
“With Azure as BOQ’s preferred cloud platform, we are helping the company maximize its existing investments through Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services to drive rapid and responsible growth, while providing new and enhanced experiences for customers.”
Establishing strong foundational capabilities and efficiencies
The first pillar of the partnership will see Microsoft help build the next generation best-in-class cloud environment for BOQ that both minimises operating costs and gives the bank the agility it needs to meet changing customer expectations.
This includes accelerating the migration of BOQ’s six data centres to Azure by 2025, which will enable the banking group to innovate at greater speed across all its brands, enhance its security and risk controls, and reduce its carbon footprint.
BOQ’s transition to Azure is expected to drive greater efficiencies for the company as its legacy on-premise servers are retired. Microsoft will provide BOQ with direct access to its product teams and engineers to support the transition.
BOQ also aims to simplify its technology environment by halving the number of internal applications as part of its broader cloud migration. This includes leveraging Microsoft’s Common Data Model and Cloud for Financial Services to accelerate its transformation end-to-end.
In addition, BOQ will consolidate and enhance its customer engagement platform in Dynamics 365 to reduce complexity and improve the experience it delivers to customers.
Delivering intuitive banking experiences
The second pillar will focus on transforming BOQ’s employee and customer experiences through the creation of a single 360-degree customer view across its brands, through the Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services.
Microsoft will also expand BOQ’s Dynamics 365 capabilities to help the bank streamline customer processes across all brands and channels and modernise the system used by frontline employees in branches.
As part of the agreement, Microsoft will co-design customer journeys that are suitable to the Australian market with BOQ enabling rapid adoption.
Driving a culture of innovation
The third pillar will focus on creating growth for BOQ.
Microsoft will help the banking group develop innovative new products and capabilities, which could also be shared for broader use on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. Microsoft’s senior leadership team is also committed to sponsoring and directly participating in a bespoke co-innovation program with its BOQ counterparts.
The partnership will also enable ‘ecosystem banking’ through collaboration with the financial industry and other partners, reinforcing a culture of innovation within the banking group.
Furthermore, Microsoft will help BOQ connect technology to its sustainability goals.