IBM and Citigroup agree on a partnership that will bring IBM's deep analytic technology in its Watson system to Citigroup's banking operations.
With health care as the first major
vertical market IBM has taken its Watson question-answering technology to, Big
Blue has now entered into an agreement with Citigroup to explore the use of
Watson in financial services, particularly the banking industry.
On March 5, Citigroup announced it had
entered into an agreement with IBM to explore possible uses for IBM Watson.
Under the agreement, Citi will examine the use of deep content analysis and
evidence-based learning capabilities found in
IBM Watson to help advance
customer interactions, and improve and simplify the banking experience.
Citi is working to be the leading digital
bank, providing customers with the latest technology to enhance and facilitate
service. Citi will evaluate ways that IBM Watson technologies can help analyze
customer needs and process vast amounts of up-to-the-minute financial,
economic, product and client data, the company said.
From Watson's inception and victory on the
TV quiz show Jeopardy!
, it became
apparent that it would be a transformational technology, particularly in
data-intensive industries such as health care and financial services. Its
ability to answer questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and
confidence holds huge potential to improve decision-making across a variety of
Citibank customers have come to expect the
highest level of service in an integrated, timely fashion, whether delivered by
phone, ATM, live chat, online or in person in a branch, Citigroup officials
said in a press release on the agreement. The bank continuously explores new
ways to ensure it is lending responsibly and acting in the best interest of
"At Citi, we are constantly
developing new, innovative ways to better serve our customers' financial
needs," said Don Callahan, Citi's chief administrative officer and chief operations
& technology officer, in a statement. "We are working to rethink and
redesign the various ways in which our customers interact with money. We will
collaborate with IBM to explore how we can use the Watson technology to provide
our customers with new, secure services designed around their increasingly
digital and mobile lives."
"IBM continues to advance Watson in
information intensive industries, enabling organizations to quickly gain
valuable insights from vast amounts of data that can speed decision making and
improve how companies serve their customers," said Mike Rhodin, senior
vice president of IBM Software Solutions, in a statement. "The
collaboration between IBM and Citi will explore how applying Watson in the
consumer financial market could help empower financial professionals to make
better business decisions and represents a significant step in delivering on
the promise of personalized banking in the 21st
Meanwhile, in a March 6 speech at the CeBIT 2012
conference in Hannover, Germany,
Rhodin said, "IBM is ready to go to work on Wall Street. Watson can help
retail bankers personalize purchases for consumers." He added, "Watson
has the ability to transform an industry under intense pressure."
Citi will assess ways to use a
first-of-a-kind customer interaction solution combined with Watson's
deep-content analytics, natural language processing, decision support and
evidence-based learning to continue to advance digital banking, the company
Watson's ability to analyze the meaning
and context of human language and quickly process vast amounts of information
to suggest options targeted to a consumer's individual circumstances can help
accelerate and assist decision-makers in identifying opportunities, evaluating
risks and exploring alternative actions that are best suited for their clients.
Celebrating its 200th
anniversary this year, Citi has a long history of working with IBM on key
innovations to advance the use of information technology in the financial
services industry. In 1954, the two companies announced the first use of an
"electronic brain" that reduced the time required for a cost-benefit
analysis from 1,000 man-hours to nine and a half minutes. Today, the companies
are continuing those efforts, Citigroup officials said.