BankVic needed a partner to deliver a network transition. It was looking for a technology provider who could provide high-capacity, reliable links from the Melbourne branches and contact centre to data centres in Sydney, along with strong dark fibre and connectivity capabilities.
But in the ‘70s, there weren’t quite as many options. BankVic, founded in 1974 to improve the financial wellbeing of Victoria Police members and their families, now serves the banking needs of 115,000 police, emergency service, and health workers.
The bank doesn’t do mass marketing campaigns or try appealing to everyone, said Scott Wall, Chief Information Officer at BankVic. Instead, it focuses on understanding the unique needs of its members and doing more to meet those needs than other banks. Sound organic growth is the result and with only six brick-and-mortar locations, technology is a huge part of that.
“The vast majority of our interactions with customers is through our digital channels, like the app, website, and contact centre. They all rely on making sure our networks are robust,” said Scott. “We’re committed to providing our members the best tech we can—it’s all about the digital experience and channels for us and underpinning all that is our network.”
"We needed a provider willing to put in the pre-sales effort and design work. A lot of the bigger suppliers were not and were heavily prescribed by the contract—we were just one of thousands of smaller customers. That wasn’t the case with Vocus."
Scott Wall, Chief Information Officer
In 2019, BankVic needed a partner to deliver a network transition. It was looking for a technology provider who could provide high-capacity, reliable links from the Melbourne branches and contact centre to data centres in Sydney, along with strong dark fibre and connectivity capabilities.
“We were looking for a partner that wouldn’t just provide us with what we asked for but would look at our business requirements and objectives and say, ‘what you actually need is this,’” said Scott.
“Additionally, we needed a provider willing to put in the pre-sales effort and design work. A lot of the bigger suppliers were not and were heavily prescribed by the contract—we were just one of thousands of smaller customers. That wasn’t the case with Vocus.”
After choosing Vocus as BankVic’s tech partner, Scott was thrilled with the level of service. “Vocus is very much about people and relationships, and that brings trust.” When it came time to switch over the network, “the delivery experience was brilliant,” he said.
BankVic initially planned to cutover both data and voice traffic at the same time onto the Vocus network but problems in the telephony and contact centre platform project meant delays to the voice cutover.
“These weren’t problems of Vocus’ making, but they still went the extra mile to accommodate us,” said Scott. “Engineers were available evenings and weekends looking at data traffic and dropout. They helped us get it across the line before Christmas, which was our deadline.”
The Vocus-run future network was built with no downtime and in parallel with the currently operating one, allowing the BankVic team to test and make any necessary modifications until finally, the network transition day arrived. With so much of the bank’s dealings with customers occurring digitally, it was imperative that the experience be a smooth one.
“We cut over on the weekend,” said Scott. “Monday morning, I’m standing in the office waiting to see if there were any problems, and it was seamless.”
The advantage of having a trusted tech partner was clear when COVID-19 shifted much of Australia’s workforce, including BankVic staff, to a work-from-home model.
“On Monday 23 March, we’d made the decision to have everyone work from home. By Friday, we’d been able to enable pretty much everyone to do that effectively,” said Scott.
That required ramping up BankVic’s VPN and firewall as a service licencing, going from 30 licences to 170 within days. “This was obviously a global issue and FortiGate [the firewall company] was inundated by requests. Vocus went to bat for us and delivered when it wasn’t easy to do so. There were a lot of late-night calls to the U.S. by Vocus to get us the licenses we needed.”
Though the pandemic threat has subsided in Australia, the new way of working is here to stay. “Work from home went from pipe dream to a long-term reality and will become significant to how our workforce operates going forward,” said Scott. To continue supporting staff working remotely will require changes at BankVic. Among them is examining the way its network is structured and configured.
“For example, a lot of the bandwidth we originally needed to Sydney from head office and our contact centre isn’t required; it’s routing from different places now,” said Scott. “Vocus is working with us to restructure our network to meet changing requirements.”
That level of flexibility and consultation is what makes Scott confident that BankVic’s network—and the entire business—is future-proof. “They’re not just delivering to an SLA and a contract, but what our business actually needs.”
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