DBS Bank has unveiled plans to implement IBM’s Watson cognitive computing technology as part of efforts to gain better insights and improve its customer experience, becoming Asia’s first Watson customer. The bank’s CEO Piyush Gupta said the initiative would allow the bank to look at ways to tap data and provide more ‘precise, customized, and quality’ offerings that were more in line with its customers’ needs. The bank will pump some S$15 million (US$11.8 million) over three years into Watson, which will initially be deployed across its wealth management business to provide deeper insights and enable its relationship managers to offer better advice. Rollout is expected to be completed by end-2014 and will eventually be extended to other divisions across DBS.
Gaining business intelligence is increasingly crucial but difficult, as the world and customer needs continue to evolve rapidly, Gupta said. How things are done today will be fundamentally different to how they will be done in the next three or five years. In future, customers will want banking services but not the banks, and do not need brick-and-mortar branches. Instead, they will want banking services on-the-fly, and banks such as DBS need to be ready to meet such demands, he said. Gupta has high hopes the bank’s investment in Watson will ‘redefine’ how voluminous amount of data – structured and unstructured – can be properly analyzed to provide intelligence that was previously not ‘humanly’ possible. The initiative is an extension of its ongoing relationship with IBM, which includes the implementation of big data and analytic tools. DBS Bank is IBM’s first Watson customer in Asia.