Analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) have been the source of much excitement for many years in many industries. Yet the results, we might say, have not always matched expectations.

AI in particular seems to be always on the cusp of changing everything without actually crossing the threshold. For example, IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer defeated world chess champion Gary Kasparov way back in 1997.

Moving from the lab into the marketplace has clearly been a challenge for these technologies. That is what makes the most recent Efma-Accenture Distribution & Marketing Innovation Awards winner in the Analytics & Artificial Intelligence category so exciting.

Bancolombia’s Plink platform combines the Colombian bank’s huge store of customer data with analytics and AI to create value for both merchants and retail customers. Plink acts as an easy-to-use analytics platform for merchants, providing them with powerful insights into their customers and competition drawn from Bancolombia’s data on its 10 million customers. Merchants can also upload customer offers through Plink.

Plink uses a machine learning algorithm to present these offers to customers based on Bancolombia’s customer data. The system also solicits ratings for the offers from customers, which it uses to grow more effective over time.

Bancolombia developed Plink to provide merchants with more insights into their customers, to make customer offers more timely and relevant, and to experiment with new business models. Since its launch it has surpassed Bancolombia’s expectations.

And, perhaps most exciting of all, Plink was built by a small team and went from initial idea to launch in just 12 months.

Plink’s many achievements so impressed the DMI judges and voters that it won the Analytics & AI category. But it was not the only innovation in this area to attract attention.

Shinhan Bank, headquartered in Korea, won silver with the “SOLmate” automated financial advisor, which takes the chatbot concept to new heights to make customer service more accessible for customers and more cost-effective for employees.

And Jibun Bank, a mobile-only bank in Japan, took home bronze for its use of AI for foreign exchange customers. Jibun developed two different AI-powered tools, one analyzing historical exchange rates to predict future rates, another which automatically executes certain transactions when rates reach customer-specified points. Both tools have been hugely popular.

Congratulations to all three winners for their impressive innovations. Come back next time for a look at the Digital Marketing & Communication category of the 2018 DMI Awards.

In the meantime, learn more about Accenture’s latest insights on reimagining banks as “experience stores”.

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