As part of the digital transformation of Lloyds Banking Group, it was clear that creating a digital analytics team with expertise pulled together in one place and equipped with the most up to date tools and capabilities was vital. Setting up the team also showed the value of partnerships. We worked with the ASI (Advanced Skills Institute) and Google to develop our capabilities and use of new tools.
The partnership with Google allowed Lloyds to test Google’s big data platform technologies and analytics on non-personal behavioural data using a secure Lloyds Banking Group account on Google Cloud Platform. Tools included BigQuery, Dataflow and Bigtable (the openly accessible version of Google’s internal analytics tools Dremel, Map Reduce (Hadoop) and Big Table respectively). In a trial project the Lloyds digital analytics team and a team from Google rapidly prototyped real time systems to help inform future customer-focused propositions.
Having these tools in place allows for massive, low-cost analyses of anonymised datasets. For example, the team was able to analyse a year’s worth of front-end analytical data in under a minute. This project fits within a wider strategic collaboration with Google which, in the last 18 months, has supported a rapid acceleration of the Group’s move to having a first-class digital marketing function as well as a shift in the digital mind-set.
Gary Sanders, Head of the Digital Analytics function, states, “Right at the start of the partnership we were able to reduce time to insight from 96 hours to 30 minutes by using BigQuery, allowing us to react in real time to customer needs and provide better service, and we were able to do this in a quick 6 week proof of concept. Such early success helped cement our partnership and motivated teams to work in an agile way.”
Reza Rokni from Google continued, “We thoroughly enjoyed working with the Lloyds team. Having real-life use cases of massive data sets allowed us to understand client’s requirements and this fed into the development of tools like Dataflow during the project. It was great to use Dataflow on live streaming data. This is the first time we’ve done something like this with a bank and it’s placed Lloyds about 18 months ahead of peers in the use of data analytics.”
As well as the tools from Google, the team is examining the wider market to make sure it has the expertise, knowledge and capabilities to remain at the forefront of this space including machine learning, the application of AI and advanced algorithms.
The partnership with ASI allowed us to offer two eight-week fellowships to PhDs from Cambridge and Warwick to run data science experiments, which led to them both joining the team full time. Having colleagues join from academia as well as industry has allowed the team to have diversity of skillset and perspective.