Context Intelligence for Financial Services

January 30, 2014. Filed under email-and-chat-analysis, context-intelligence, financial-services, roi.

Productivity Gains through Chat and Email Analysis

To illustrate the variety of application of Context Intelligence we will publish in the coming weeks various case studies.

Our second case demonstrates how with Context Intelligence banks are able to catch escalation scenarios substantially earlier generating substantial savings while at the same time increasing client satisfaction.

Company: A global financial firm with large foreign exchange trading (Forex) activities[1]. The bank is reputed to have a best-of-class Forex-trading platform and wants to extend this industry leadership to the monitoring and analysis of the forex trades. Because of regulatory demands, the fast paced nature of the Forex business and legacy systems, an actual trade may be passed between up to 12 different systems (systems for trading, ledger, front-, middle-, back office, etc.).

Challenge: The bank lacks at any one point in time a 360-degree view on the condition of its Forex operations. Last year it started to implement a solution combining the structured data into one single stream for analysis in a BI platform. However exceptions and escalations often are best traced in the chat and emails[2] accompanying a trade. These types of information are typical cases of unstructured information and have so far not been incorporated in any analysis. However, trading exceptions and escalations – e.g. when a trade did not close at the projected price because of market movements – are sources of disputes and of considerable costs. The bank sought to close the loop by incorporating the analysis of chat and email data to get a true 360-degree view of their Forex operations.


Figure 1 – Interface for Chat Analysis

Solution: To capture the structured elements of any Forex transaction (trade, log entries, transaction times, etc.) the bank deploys a state of the art bank specific ETL-framework[3] to deliver the necessary data input to a BI solution for analysis. Squirro provides the missing piece – analysis of unstructured data. Loading and analysing chat and email, automatically analysing the data on a number of dimensions such as exception, escalation, and compliance issues, the results are pushed to the BI layer for in depth exploration. The in-built alerting function of Squirro allows triggering events programmatically when certain escalation conditions are met.

Context generation: The analysis of the chat and email data streams is based on state-of-the-art techniques such as density based spatial clustering, topic evolution analysis, and cross-document reference and concept detection. The resulting patterns are normalized and pushed to the BI platform.

Results: By applying context intelligence techniques the bank is able to generate a full 360-degree view of the health of their Forex operations. They are able to catch escalation scenarios substantially earlier saving the bank massively while at the same time increasing client satisfaction. Return on investment calculations show cost savings of > $1 million with ROI figures of 25-30% per annum.

[1]      Client confidentiality doesn’t permit disclosing the name of the company.

[2]      Intra-company and in-company communication

[3]      ETL: Extract-Transform-Load



London - Week 3

January 29, 2014. Filed under fintech, impressions.

Monday morning 0710 LX 316 to Heathrow: Mostly business people and some leisure travelers with red eyes from overnight flights (An asininity of the air transportation market: Flying overseas to Heathrow, one of the world’s best connected airports with a stopover).

Roughly three hours later I am in our Canary Wharf office in Level39, which actually is on Level 42. A few internal meetings and then off to a meeting with a bank. The bank is just expensively revamping their offices, kind of Googlesque feel. All bright colours, to compulsory tabletop football, a Starbucks like pantry area.

And unGooglesque hot desking. On a big screen in the entry hall you tap in your name and then choose an available desk. That would make for a fun data analysis: Who is opting to sit next to whom; given the uneven gender balance when visiting, is grouping around a catalyst an occurring pattern; what’s the mean distance of you to your also hot desking boss; what window seats are preferred (for what reasons), and a few more…



Context Intelligence for Crisis Monitoring and Risk Mitigation

January 21, 2014. Filed under squirro, context-intelligence, case-study.

To illustrate the variety of application of Context Intelligence we will publish in the coming weeks various case studies.

Our first case demonstrates how Context Intelligence uncovers crisis events, monitors and manages them, ultimately reducing risks.

Company: A large multi-national corporation providing power and energy solutions . The company is operating worldwide with activities also in politically fraught geographies. The company is unfortunately regularly exposed to critical situations in these areas. The corporate communications team is tasked tracking these situations around the globe. For this, the team scans multiple internal and external channels such as press and social media in multiple countries and languages.

Challenge: Current solutions ranging from media monitoring to social media monitoring fail at detecting crises events. While they keep track of what is been said in general terms about the company they disappoint when used to identify key events as they happen and follow key stakeholders. Instead they return too many so called false positives – results seemingly matching the criteria but actually are just noise.

Solution: In the event of a crisis it is critical for the team to track all involved stakeholders and key players such as local subsidiaries including employees, employee relatives, journalists, bloggers, etc. The core request is for a platform, which allows the team in the event of a crisis to quickly identify and monitor key players and key developments with limited manpower. Squirro is such a platform.

Context generation: In the crisis monitoring application a number of internal structured sources, especially CRM data, are used to create a frame of reference. A number of external data sources ranging from newswires, to social media, general web search, specialised community sites and in some countries also chat data are continuously mapped into this information space. The mapping rests on enriched data streams drawing on a number of techniques from data comprehension and enrichment, entity detection, sentiment analysis, natural language processing, and pattern classification. The image below shows the interface trending information on a developing event.


Results: The variable setup allows the company in the event of a crisis to quickly setup a crisis specific monitoring and leverage this across the organisation. The solution allows the company to include all type of external news sources ranging from traditional newswires, to social media and in some countries even the inclusion of chat services. The system in place lets the company include the local subsidiaries and other stakeholders to contribute to this monitoring approach. A federated system setup guarantees local relevance and availability while allowing corporate headquarters to stay in control as the situation evolves. The company realises substantial risk mitigation by staying on top of developments.




Squirro Selected along six other Leading Financial Innovators for FinTech Innovation Lab London

January 13, 2014. Filed under squirro, fintech, london, fintechlab, accenture.


Seven Leading Financial Technology Innovators Selected for the FinTech Innovation Lab London

Erudine, FinGenius, Logical Glue, PhotoPay, PixelPin, Squirro, uTrade Enter 2014 Lab

Jan. 13, 2014 – Artificial Intelligence Big Data systems and a much easier way of paying bills by smartphone are among the new innovations from seven financial technology entrepreneurs selected to participate in this year’s FinTech Innovation Lab London.

The Lab, which was launched by Accenture (NYSE: ACN) in 2012, is a collaboration between Accenture and leading financial institutions in London, supported by the Mayor of London, the City of London Corporation and the Technology Strategy Board. It is designed to nurture early-stage companies from the UK, Europe and elsewhere that are developing new technologies for the financial services sector. Annual venture investment in such technologies nearly tripled globally between 2008 and 2012, according to CB Insights.

The seven startups were chosen by leading industry executives from a wide range of applicants and will receive senior level mentoring to help them develop and commercialize their innovations and connect with potential customers at top institutions. Those taking part in the program include: Erudine, FinGenius, Logical Glue, PhotoPay, PixelPin, Squirro and uTrade. Their innovations include advanced analytics systems, collaborative, open source trading systems, and financial control systems. 

Richard Lumb, Group Chief Executive — Financial Services at Accenture said: “In the past nine months, the startups involved in the 2013 FinTech Innovation Lab London have collectively raised over $10 million in investment and have increased employees by 41 percent. More than half of the class have doubled their revenues since graduating from the program. After last year’s success, we have seen a major increase in applications from outstanding fintech companies and are extremely excited to be working with this year’s seven entrepreneurs.

“The FinTech program reflects our ongoing commitment to our local communities. It is these innovative technology startups that are essential to promoting economic development and help to keep London as a global financial center. It is these innovative technology startups that are essential to promoting economic development and help to keep London as a global financial center.”

Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor of London for Business and Enterprise said: “Start-ups are critical to driving growth in our economy and it is absolutely vital that we foster their entrepreneurial talent. These types of companies can struggle to get their products in front of large organisations and accelerator programmes like the FinTech Innovation Lab provide a gateway to success while helping to ensure that London maintains its status as the global centre for finance.”

The chosen entrepreneurs will be mentored for 12 weeks by leading executives from financial services, venture capital and angel investment firms through a series of panel discussions, workshops, leadership coaching and networking opportunities. At the end of the program, the entrepreneurs are given an opportunity to present their concepts to potential investors and participating industry executives.

Supporting financial institutions include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Lloyds Banking Group, Morgan Stanley, RBS, UBS and VocaLink, the UK and international payments systems provider. Other participating organizations include Euclid Opportunities, the Greater London Authority and UK Business Angels Association.

The FinTech Innovation Lab London is modeled on a similar program that was co-founded by Accenture and the Partnership Fund for New York City, which has already proved highly successful in helping 18 young financial technology startups. The 18 alumni companies have generated over 50 proofs of concept at banks, raised $47 million in venture financing, and created approximately 150 jobs since they participated in the Lab. In 2013 True Office, which provides compliance training based on a mobile game platform, received a $3 million Series A Preferred round from Contour Venture Partners, Rho Ventures, and Partnership Fund for New York City. Narrative Science, whose patented artificial intelligence engine mines data to automatically produce reports and communications in easy-to-understand narrative form, raised $11.5 million in equity funding.

The 2014 FinTech Innovation Lab London participants:

  • Erudine provides systems to the finance industry that look at operational processes and behaviours and suggests improvements in line with regulation and compliance. The system uses a case-based reasoning approach to build and maintain systems that manage complex changing regulations. Changes to the rule sets and classification of underlying data structures can be made with minimal downtime.

  • FinGenius (a London Brand Management Company) uses Artificial Intelligence and real-time big data analysis to make it easier for non-technical users to find information through the use of natural language processing.

  • Logical Glue is a new approach to predicting business outcomes in real-time using a platform that has been built from the ground up, incorporating patented, next generation predictive analytics.  Designed for ease of use and deployment, the models also provide insights at the same time as predictions

  • PhotoPay simplifies payments by allowing you to take a photo of a bill, scan a payment slip or open a PDF file with your mobile banking app and make a payment with one tap.

  • PixelPin provides a personalised user-friendly single sign on using pictures instead of passwords. PixelPin’s technology reduces fraud, increases activity, and reduces the risk and cost of forgotten passwords.

  • Squirro is the leader in Context Intelligence, combining structured and unstructured data to provide the ‘Why’ behind the data. The “Why” turns disparate data points into a coherent story for better, more effective decision-making.

  • uTrade Solutions provides Open Source Trading Technologies creating a more efficient, innovative & collaborative ecosystem for financial markets.


About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 281,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries.  Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments.  The company generated net revenues of US$28.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2013.  Its home page is



New Year - New Office, in London that is.

January 06, 2014. Filed under london, fintechlab.


Today we setup our first foreign subsidiary office in London. We’re hosted by Level 39, an incubator, and in fact are on Level 42 of One Canada Square.  



Harvest unstructured content and turn it into Gold

December 04, 2013. Filed under tabigdata, presentation.

Today I spoke at the Tagesanzeiger Big Data Forum on big (unstructured) data, including demo and some recommendations on how to start in your own company. Some asked me for the slides.



Cracking the Code of Social Selling

November 21, 2013. Filed under the-vanella-group, social-selling, dreamforce.

Mari Anne Vanella of The Vanella Group spoke on November 18th at Dreamforce 13 on Social Selling.

In her talk Mari Anne emphasises the need for Sellers to catch up and meet the Buyers at the right information stage.

As we know Buyers today rely less and less on reps for product information as they can find nearly everything on you and your competitors online.

It is therefore extremely important for Sellers to use Social Media resources to get to know their prospect better and to position themselves as experts in their field in order to engage the Buyer.

Mari Anne suggest three simple steps that every Seller enact immediately in order to kick start their Social Selling:

  1. Make sure your LinkedIn profile presents an expert in your field

  2. Research your prospects before meetings

  3. Learn how to interpret the information you discover into actionable discussion and discovery points

You can view here Mari Anne’s complete talk:



Discover.Decide.Do - Joint Event with Qlikview

November 19, 2013.

We are joining Qlikview for a virtual conference on November 19. All online, professionals, business experts and though leaders will discuss how business requirements shift and new developments in data analytics and visualization emerge.

Join us for this conference by registering over at Qlikview.



More people have mobile than save drinking water - IT factoids for everyday usage

November 11, 2013. Filed under gartner.

Ever longed for great quotes to go with your data driven presentation. Here’s a collection of great factoids pulled together by Gartner at a recent symposium from the awesome: 

  • Google’s ad revenue surpasses the entire U.S. print industry

  • More people have mobile access than safe drinking water and electricity

… to the sobering

  • 25% of all clicks are paid

  • People who drive and text look away from the road for 4.6 seconds

Full list is available here.



30 great tools to build great online products

October 23, 2013.

Today we’re at Switzerland’s CEO Day, the annual watering hole of the Swiss startup scene. Roughly 500 people here - yeah that’s about the size…

Our co-founder Toni Birrer does a session presenting 30 great tools to develop great online products. Starting with marketing automation, CRM, touching on issue management, bug tracking, product development, hosting and more, he discloses in essence our operating stack here at Squirro. 

For easy access find all the tools and a short description here