ANZ turns to Google’s cloud for payment data insights

Bank unveils cloud analytics partnership

ANZ is using Google’s cloud services to help analyse payment data in in order to deliver insights about customer behaviour to its institutional clients.

The bank today opened up on its partnership with Google, with chief data officer Emma Gray (who joined the bank last year) revealing that ANZ was also using Google’s cloud services to deliver an internal productivity boost — cutting a five-day analysis of credit card data down to around 20 seconds, for example.

The Google partnership follows a successful proof of concept, which involved the use of aggregated and de-identified payment data to understand customer behaviour. Gray said that the data could be used by an airline to understand how customers act before and after boarding a flight, for example.

“We are very focused on use of Google for data analytics,” Gray told a media roundtable at the Google Cloud Summit in Sydney.

The bank has a multi-cloud strategy, the chief data officer said. “Our view was, [Google] was going to be our partner of choice in terms of data analytics,” Gray said. “We will run it across the different parts of our banking stack – the first real focus is on the institutional business.”

The bank is not ready to ditch its on-premises data warehouses just yet, however.

“Our view is that we’ve got multiple environments and we’re trying to treat different data for different use cases differently – they’ve got different latencies and there are different internal or external customers for those,” Gray said. “You might say over time the strategy would be to move more on to cloud, but there will always in a bank, I think, be room for more private cloud.”

The bank’s Teradata environment will continue to play an important role, with ANZ using it to deliver structured data feeds to a range of parties, such as the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

However, cloud can help deliver time-sensitive data to customers who are seeking real-time insights, as well as bankers, Gray said.

ANZ’s institutional arm has a strong data analytics team and they’re “very discovery oriented,” Gray told Computerworld. The data analytics push extends beyond just the institutional bank, however.

“For me this is about: If you can combine massive compute, large data sets and a need for real-time signals – where are the pools that I want to make sure we’re fishing in? Where do I want to make sure we’re focusing on next? So it’s really looking at parts of our business where those are all the right ingredients – to say ‘why don’t you look over here’.”

Success requires finding the champions within ANZ, Gray said. For the first couple of Google Cloud use cases “we’ve actually got the business guys on fire and now we’re working through it with the rest of the team,” she said.

Gray said that ANZ had a “constant engagement” and “really close working relationship” with APRA, which earlier this week released updated advice about the use of cloud in the financial services sector.

“What they’re interested in is knowing that we know what we’re doing – it’s not just like ‘oh hey Google, how awesome – take it all, good luck!’,” Gray told Computerworld. “We need to know exactly what’s going on; we need to have line of sight — particularly if there’s an issue we need to know what to do and how to do it.”

“It’s no different to what we do with our internal stakeholders,” she added. “You’ve got a data use case you want to execute? I’ll put you through the wringer: ‘What do you want to do? Why do you want to do it? What’s the data you want to use? Have you already throught about how this will impact a whole set of things?’ It’s actually a very healthy control. They’re not saying to us ‘you can’t’ – they’re saying ‘help us understand that you know what you’re doing’. So it’s a good relationship.”

BigQuery coming to Sydney

Google revealed today that its BigQuery data warehouse service would be available from its Sydney region by the end of the year. Colin Timm, director of Google Cloud, Australia, said that BigQuery is “at the heart” of Google’s data analytics services.

“We’re very excited about that — many of our customers are as well. The sweet zone for us is in that analytics/machine learning/AI space.”

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Tags Cloudcloud computingGoogleanz bankbanksANZdata analyticsmachine learningGoogle Cloud Platform

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