IBM Rides Analytics, Big Data to Banking Wins

IBM announced two banking industry wins that tap into Big Blue's big data and analytics expertise, among other things.

IBM continues its push to secure more customers in the banking industry and is leveraging its strength in big data and analytics to do so.

Big Blue announced new banking wins in South Africa and China. The company said Nedbank Ltd., a financial services provider throughout Southern Africa, is using IBM's predictive analytics solutions to improve the customer experience and provide more responsive real-time services.

As a result of this technology implementation, the bank has reduced social media monitoring costs by over a million rand a year—which amounts to about $105,000—while boosting customer service productivity levels by 20 percent.

Nedbank partnered with IBM and Olrac spSolutions, an IBM business partner, to develop a predictive modeling solution that integrates social media analytics into the bank's systems. The solution gave the bank's decision makers access to near-real-time analysis of social media data through flexible dashboards. This afforded the bank's marketers potent insights regarding preferences, sentiment and satisfaction that help to craft and deliver more effective sales promotions and customer messages, IBM said.

The solution used a combination of IBM predicative analytics products, including SPSS Collaboration and Deployment Services and SPSS Modeler.

Nedbank recognizes the growing importance of social media as a marketing tool, actively reaching out to customers through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as through blogs and customer forums.

"By improving our social media analytics capabilities, we're engaging with our customers on a one-on-one basis, to address and anticipate their needs more cohesively," Eugene Liebenberg, head of Retail Business Intelligence Solution Science at Nedbank, said in a statement.

"Where before the bank used a number of tools and external resources to mine social media for a 360 view of their customers, today the analytics provide a visual dashboard of customer feedback and opinion in near-real time from social media," Gordon Barnes, an industry solutions leader at IBM South Africa, said in a statement. "This has helped Nedbank transform the process of customer engagement and response by embedding information-based insights into every process, decision and action. By using advanced analytics, Nedbank is in a prime position to sharply focus marketing campaigns, promote high profit margins and increase cross-selling opportunities."

Meanwhile, the Bank of China and IBM completed an overhaul of the bank's global online banking platform, providing 100 million customers with an integrated experience spanning branch, phone, mobile and Web banking. The bank leveraged IBM's business consulting expertise to revolutionize all aspects of its online banking strategy, including site redesign, improved functionality and interactivity as well as implementation of more personalized services, IBM said.

Big Blue officials said a critical component of the Bank of China's new online banking platform included improved data collection and analytics to better understand the needs of each individual customer. Today, banks can harness big data in the form of transactions, real-time market feeds and customer service records to derive more insight about their customer and their business than before. By leveraging the insights from this data, the bank is now able to customize the user experience, improving how it interacts, serves and markets to its customers.

"Banking has entered a new era, transforming from simple transactions and delivery methods to new and improved sales and marketing channels," Jiang Xin, general manager for electronic banking at the Bank of China, said in a statement. "As demand continues to rapidly evolve, Bank of China is taking the lead to meet the unique, individual needs of our valued customers. By launching our new online banking platform, we are making critical strides in achieving our customer-centric transformation, improving service delivery and customer satisfaction."

The bank's online banking platform integrates user information from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and more than 30 additional countries where the bank operates. Customers are now able to access a centralized view of all accounts, also offering local services to meet user needs at any time from anywhere, IBM said

"Today, the customer must be the central organizing principle around which data insights, operations, technology and systems revolve," Ron Lefferts, partner and vice president of the Financial Services Sector in IBM Global Business Services, said in a statement. "The proliferation of online and mobile technologies, and the big data generated from them, is enabling Bank of China to better understand, and even anticipate, customer needs. The most successful banks will be those that gain and use these insights to transform how they engage and service their customers as individuals."