Aussie uses hybrid cloud to support sustained growth

Aussie is Australia's leading mortgage broker, with a thriving retail channel owned by franchisees. Today Aussie provides home loans, personal loans, insurance, and deposit bonds, with a loan book in excess of $60 billion and growing.

The Challenge

With a continuous growth trajectory over two decades, Aussie’s IT infrastructure needs to constantly adapt to change and growth. The franchise business model means that franchisees own their own phones and computers. Managing security and data privacy in this geographically dispersed bring your own device (BYOD) environment requires ongoing focus. Aussie had been providing franchisee mortgage brokers with a heavy-“footprint fat” client application to use locally on their devices to manage client information and the mortgage comparison engine that underpins the Aussie broking business.

New brokers joining the franchise network have provided continuous organic growth. In 2009 and beyond that growth accelerated dramatically with the acquisition of Wizard home loans, effectively doubling the franchise network overnight. To sustain this ongoing growth, Aussie wanted to evolve its IT infrastructure to move to a model that could grow incrementally. Aussie also wanted a more transparent link between IT efficiency gains and associated costs.

The Solution

To achieve these objectives, Aussie decided to put its IT infrastructure out to tender. “Datacom was the standout contender from the field of five respondents,” says Aussie Chief Information Officer, James O’Donnell.

To meet Aussie's needs, Datacom offered a tailored IT Managed Service that includes Service desk, End user computing, Network, Datacentre, Database and Infrastructure management.

“Datacom offered us a model of real flexibility and transparency with a price book model that enabled us to identify IT cost drivers in our business,” says James. “If we identify an opportunity to influence one of those IT demand drivers, we instantly see the benefits in reduced costs with Datacom. The savings are welcome, but the insight into our business is invaluable.”

“Datacom also demonstrated a real commitment to coming along on the growth journey with us,” James continues. “That’s important when we are entrusting the running of IT infrastructure that powers our business.”

The 7 year relationship has been characterised by sustained Datacom commitment to multi-level engagement with Aussie. The CEOs of each organisation meet regularly. IT management engage regularly. Engineers interact directly. This alignment at all levels of the organisation enables Datacom to respond to new Aussie business initiatives with speed, deep understanding and efficiency.

As the IT market matured in virtualisation and cloud computing capabilities Datacom worked with Aussie to explore potential efficiencies. In 2012 Aussie was ready to replace the fat client software that franchisees used to manage their mortgage broking franchise. Dubbed ‘Toolbox’, Aussie’s new suite of core applications was launched as web-based thin client applications hosted on Datacom’s private cloud.

Datacom seamlessly integrated their own local private cloud service with Aussie’s on-premise IT environment. VMware virtualisation allowed Aussie to optimise the use of existing on-premise IT infrastructure combined with the ongoing scalability of Datacom's private cloud. The common hypervisor framework allowed easy portability of data processing workloads, across datacenters; in and out based on need. Changes in franchise store numbers now simply involve Aussie adding or removing new thin client users, not investment in IT infrastructure changes.

“Datacom has been with us for the long term. Seven years on, the relationship remains strong and we have a shared commitment to building on that with continued growth together into the future.”

James O’Donnell - CIO, Aussie Home Loans