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How our banks are innovating

Rebecca Merrett | June 17, 2014
Australia’s banks are all looking at how they can meet the needs of today’s mobile and digitally savvy customer through technology innovation.

"You can see that when they get to a certain pattern of spending at a certain point, they may be ready to change vehicles. I, for one, was quite surprised when I looked at the average life of a new car loan; I thought it would be longer than what it is."

Brown is trialling Pitney Bowes software, and entered into joint projects with software and hosted services provider, Data Action, and other mutual banks to develop further capabilities. "We figured by all of us working together we can gain economies of scale."

Brown is using the bank's internal tools to analyse customer behaviour, but says capability is limited.

"We've haven't had genuine or what I term big data systems," he says. "There are a lot of institutions that have been doing data modelling with adhoc style reports and a business analyst delving into their data. But we need to be a lot more efficient than that, we actually need genuine data warehousing tools.

"For example, there may be somebody using a machine in a branch and this can go hand-in-hand with big data. They may be transferring money into their account and a little pop up may come up on a branch worker's iPad saying this person had just purchased travel from so and so and transferred money to them, so we should go over and talk to them about travel insurance."

The challenge for Brown is integrating the customer systems and digital channels with the analytics software. "There are things like social media too. How do we drag data from that, how do we make it meaningful, how do we store that and how do we manipulate it so that we can actually use it for some of our predictive modelling and what does it tell us about customer behaviour?" he asks.

"How is everything going to talk to other systems? The last thing you want is to replicate what you had in the past by doing things like simple data extracts and downloading files. You really do need stuff to be integrated and populate data fields for you on the fly as it's being used and keep everything right up to scratch.

"I want something that is going to grab that data in real time, do the analysis and be predictive for me."

Data analytics and intelligence is also a strong focus for Pacino at Suncorp. He is experimenting with machine learning tools to try and gain deeper insights into customers' purchasing decisions and help better inform them about different products.

"We are looking at how we can understand or use data to make people have more informed decisions," he explains. "As people purchase particular products and services from us, we are looking at ways to give people confidence of similar people that would be buying similar types of products. So it gives people that sense of confident that they are buying the right types of products and services for a particular area."


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