Use of unstructured data
“If organisations add structure to the unstructured behavioural data they own, and make order out of chaos, they will be in the enviable position of being able to understand and influence their customers from the beginning to the end of the purchase journey to benefit the bottom line.” so said Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff at a recent Dreamforce conference.
In the Finance Industry today there is an overwhelming need for new technologies that encompass AI (Artificial Intelligence) and content analytics to handle the enormous amount of unstructured data (80% of total company data) which largely goes unused, yet so valuable to understand the customer.
According to Tejas Shastry chief data scientist at GreenKey Technologies, “Financial services companies are inundated with many different data sources that are very unstructured. There is a lot of actionable intelligence inside of them, but it’s tough to extract it out.” He added, “In fact, about 90% of this data is noise and useless, customer-centric companies need to make sense of their unstructured data so as to better understand the customer journey.”
In a recent announcement Dealogic, acquired content analytics company Selerity. Dealogic offers integrated content, analytics, and technology via targeted products and services to financial firms worldwide to connect banks and investors. Whether working in capital markets, sales and banking, or the buy-side, firms rely on Dealogic’s platform to connect and more effectively identify opportunities, execute deals, and manage risk.
The move, according to Dealogic CEO Jody Drulard is to utilise Selerity’s proven technology and deep expertise in AI which will catalyze Dealogic’s next-generation products and bring new machine learning capabilities to the systems that power their future solutions.
The opportunity will be to provide an adviser or sales rep with a structured record of which topics being discussed in web pages visited and to understand what in particular was of interest to his/her prospect. Using that insight means they can immediately determine the interests and intent of their prospect and engage in a more relevant sales dialogue.
Financial industry playing ‘catch-up’ in new approaches
However the take up of these new technologies in the finance industry has been at its best ‘luke-warm’. In a recent poll at a conference of financial managers taken by Flexwave, 31% said they are not using AI technology, while 27% said no, but are in the process of exploring AI solutions.One of the main challenges to AI adoption has been integration of AI into other systems which are legacy systems.
Forty-two percent cited challenging integrations with other systems while 20% singled out cost and difficulty measuring ROI as the main barriers to AI adoption. Sixteen percent cited lack of internal experts, 13% said lack of management buy-in, while 9% thought the technology was too new or hard to understand.
New Language Processing
New AI driven systems using Natural Language processing (NLP) to process text to understand the meaning is delivering greater efficiencies in time saving and more accurate analysis. . Because humans write with colloquialisms and abbreviations it takes extensive computer analysis of natural language to drive accurate outputs. But the advantage of natural language processing is that models can be trained so that machines can read thousands of documents at one time. This also means individual human interpretation is removed allowing for consistent analysis. NLP can view a large volume of content and then summarize exactly what was said in a format that is friendly to users. In addition content analysis can then make analysis based on interests, topics, and behavioural consumption of media to personalise further content.
The first movers in this industry are using financial technology expert providers which are already building a competitive advantage for their clients.
Although the main thrust for the Dealogic acquisition is to add Selerity’s ‘content analytics and AI’ into their future products, key to their success will be whether they can integrate these technologies into their own marketing.
Companies such as Idio are already helping financial services organisations and B2B technology firms such as Columbia Threadneedle and Alliance Bernstein to integrate unstructured data into their own CRM systems using ‘content intelligence’. Idio’s content analytics capabilities extend into powering 1:1 personalization – they use unstructured data to understand the interests and intent of buyers and then automatically display the most relevant content. In another example, Wealthfront tracks account activity using AI capabilities via a digital Robot to analyse and understand how account holders spend, invest, and make financial decisions, so they can customise the advice they give to customers.
Although slow to make an impression in financial services organisations, companies that incorporate these advanced technologies to aggregate unstructured content, to analyse it and then transform it into structured data for it to make useful decisions on what content to place next in-front of a client will be ahead of the game, offering better customer engagement and revenues.