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Smart human brains enables Danske’s AI technology to predict IT breakdown

Danske Bank has taken the first steps towards machine learning technologies for prediction and resolution of IT issues by launching a cognitive program together with IBM. But it takes human brains to make artificial intelligence work.

It is easy to see if an IT system is experiencing a break down. The difficult thing is to be able to identify it in advance and this is what Danske Bank wants to be able to do. 

The whole idea of focusing on cognitive technologies is to be one step ahead and avoid incidents, which affect the customers negatively. The tool Danske Bank is using to do so – and which the bank is the first in Denmark to use on such a large scale – is IBM’s Predictive Insights, a technology that applies artificial intelligence. 

Integrating cognitive technology takes time
According to Ona Juodkiene, Co-Head of IT Operations, setting up cognitive technology takes time and human brains, as the quality of the output you get from the data is very much dependent on the data you put in.

Image: At the Enterprise Command Centre, multiple screens are monitoring Danske Bank’s IT systems activity. It is easy to see if a system is experiencing an outage. The difficult thing is to be able to identify and be a step ahead to avoid incidents. Cognitive technology helps doing this.

Highly skilled employees calibrate the system in an ongoing iterative process, and e.g. helps teach the system, when it is just a so-called false-positive that is not a problem and when it is an actual problem that needs be “predicted”. In other words, the technology in no way provides value out-of-the-box. Ona Juodkiene explains:

“It takes time and talented IT professionals to tailor and adjust and integrate these systems into the organisation’s IT environment. But when you invest in this, it makes it possible to create a culture across the organization. Already now, we see that some employees, who might have been a little sceptical initially, have had what we call an AI moment, where they really see the value for both the customers and themselves in their daily work.” 

Cognitive Intelligence helps Danske Bank maintain a competitive edge

Danske Bank puts such a high priority on applying machine learning not only because of the immediate positive effect on the costumers, who will experience fewer IT crashes. In a broader perspective, it is paramount to keep the competitive edge.

It is important for us to adopt this technology relatively early in time, because it allows us to be a first mover when it comes to achieving cognitive technology expertise in the organisation. We could also chose to say that we would wait a little bit until artificial intelligence expertise is more widely available and for the technology to mature. This might be less time consuming in relation to a specific task, but it would entail a huge risk that we as a company might not be able to catch up with the early adopters.

Ona Juodkiene

Co-Head of IT Operations, Danske Bank

Other initiatives on it's way: Watson chatbot

It is not only customers, who will benefit directly by experiencing fewer IT breakdowns in the future. Employees across the bank will also meet cognitive technology. Soon, they will be able to get help from a virtual agent in the shape of an IBM Watson chatbot, when they address internal user queries to Service Desk as a supplement to getting help solving IT issues by a colleague at Group IT’s Service Desk. 

As with the customer oriented use of artificial intelligence, the Watson chatbot both helps the employees with their specific queries, as well as it is meant to promote a first mover culture in the organization, when more employees across functions are expected to get their AI moment.

What is cognitive technology?

Cognitive technology is a field of computer science that mimics functions of the human brain through various means, including

  • natural language processing
  • data mining
  • pattern recognition.