CBA and its no-code machine learning platform partner H2O.ai are hopeful that their relationship will produce data science “grandmasters” at the bank, and more broadly in Australia.
The bank is in the process of becoming “AI first”, and is upskilling its teams to use data and insights more right across its operations.
Part of the reason CBA has partnered with H2O.ai is that the software maker is a source of elite data science talent, in the form of Kaggle grandmasters: top-ranked people on the Google-owned online community and competition platform for data scientists.
At a H2O World Sydney event on Monday – billed by the H2O.ai’s founder and CEO Sri Ambati as “Australia’s largest gathering of grandmasters of data science” – CBA chief executive Matt Comyn said he was “extremely hopeful” that over the next year the bank will be home to some ‘grandmasters’ as well.
“I’ve always been wary of naming them individually in case people go out and try and poach them, but there’s some extremely good talent capability [internally],” Comyn said.
“A couple of them made some pretty strong commitments about the progress we’re going to make over the next year or two.
“I think it’s fantastic to have such a highly motivated, engaged team with really ambitious goals and long-term goals and lots of perseverance to deliver really great outcomes.”
“We’ve got more than 1000 people now using your H2O.ai toolset,” Comyn said.
Equal access to data and retraining delivers “so many benefits” to CBA including “a source of pride for the team to be able to work on exciting projects.”
Comyn said the pandemic had led to a greater emphasis being placed generally on the use of real-time data, with appropriate privacy and data security controls.
He said current use cases for the technology covered areas such as document scanning and optical character recognition, fraud detection and scams.
Without going into much detail, Comyn said the bank is exploring “ways that we can help serve up better predictors for customers to really try to prevent customers from losing money and scams.”
“I think it’s an extremely important topic and one that we want to make sure that we’re leading in that space,” he said.
CBA said it had been looking to harness data as an asset for many years pre-dating its use of H2O.ai, with significant efforts undertaken to build “high quality and consistent ways” to gather and safely store its information.