IBM, Deloitte bring Big Data to risk management

The work is part of an ongoing partnership

IBM and Deloitte are betting that computers can understand reams of financial regulatory guidelines more thoroughly, and speedily, than humans.

The two companies have developed a system that can parse complex government regulations related to financial matters, and compare them to a company's own plans for meeting those requirements.

The work is part of an ongoing partnership between the two companies to help financial firms and other organizations use advanced data analysis techniques to improve their practices around risk management.

Risk management is the discipline of understanding, and mitigating against, what could go wrong in an organization's plans. It requires an assessment of conditions that could hamper an organization's plans, and how much monetary damage such events could cost a company.

Businesses have been under increased pressure in the past few years, from governments, shareholders and the public, to provide more information about how they assess and report potential risks. Many enterprise software companies, such as SAP, Oracle and SAS, have offered risk management packages to help.

IBM and Deloitte are saying that recent advances in data analysis and cognitive computing can help an organization better understand, and report on, risk factors.

The two companies have created a regulatory compliance and control service that harnesses some of these new technologies. The service draws on Deloitte's considerable experience in regulatory intelligence, and uses IBM's cloud capabilities and big data-style analysis techniques.

For instance, the service will use IBM's Watson-branded cognitive computing services to parse written regulations paragraph by paragraph, allowing organizations to see if their own frameworks are meeting the mandates described in the regulatory language.

This analysis could help cut costs of meeting new regulatory guidelines, such as the US Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed in 2010 to provide more transparency into US financial services. According to IBM, the IT budgets of financial services are increasingly being allocated to meet these detailed guidelines.

The two companies are also exploring ways that new big data-style analysis can help organizations better anticipate risk factors, by combining Deloitte's financial expertise with IBM's predictive analysis technologies.

Today, much unstructured data - or data that does not reside in a traditional database - tends to be excluded by risk assessments. Corporate email, social networks, or server logs could be aggregated and analysed in real-time to offer a prediction of what events could happen in the future, the companies say.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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