Commbank taps Ajax for biggest Web site redesign

Non-windows browsers included in the development process

Michael Harte CIO, The Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Michael Harte CIO, The Commonwealth Bank of Australia

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) will launch its largest and most ambitious customer experience project this week with an Ajax-enabled Web portal allowing customers to personalise their online banking sessions.

The new opt-in Web portal allows place more regularly needed content, like credit card transactions, to be placed in more prominent positions on the flagship NetBank site.

CIO Michael Harte said CBA's “Finest Online First” project began two years ago with the aim of “leapfrogging” the competing local banks and brining world-leading functionality to NetBank users.

“The convenience of the internal CommSee [portal] has been turned over the customer,” Harte said.

“We needed it to be fully integrated, scalable and use leading edge technology like Ajax. This is the first step in our core banking program and moves online banking to .Net and Oracle.”

Scalability is of utmost importance as the CBA handles thousands of sessions concurrently and has a online user base of about 2.6 million customers.

In a positive sign for non-Windows users – not using IE on Windows is often a pain point of online banking – the CBA has deliberately tested its application across Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and even Google's Chrome.

Mobile browsers also haven't been overlooked with an application for the iPhone and compatibility has been tested with some 16 types of mobile devices.

On the backend, the bank has integrated a number of previously siloed Web properties so they can be accessed via the new portal.

This brings new functionality like share trading, superannuation management and home loan changes into a central portal eliminating the need for multiple sessions.

CBA's retail banking head Ross McEwan said it used to take 22 days to “top up” a home loan, but now that can be done in a matter if minutes.

“I believe in giving the best customer experience when they want to deal with th us in a way they want to deal with us,” McEwan said, adding this level of access is something the bank has neglected over the past decade.

To achieve this new functionality, Harte said the bank did not need to acquire many new assets or services as the focus was on reusing applications and providing existing internal services to external customers.

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Tags .netajaxsingle sign-oncommonwealth bankOracle

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