March 06, 2012

The announcement that Citi is partnering up with IBM to tackle big data was not very surprising. After all, big data is all the buzz these days, and Bank Systems & Technology's February digital issue is all about that topic.

Banks have an almost unimaginable amount of data on their customers, which surely can be mined to optimize the customer experience and for highly targeted marketing campaigns.

[For more on using big data to maximize the customer experience, see related article.]

But how can banks effectively dig through all that massive amount of data located in many disparate places? That's where the famous IBM supercomputer Watson comes in, at least that's what Citi hopes. The bank hasn't issued specifics about how it plans to tackle big data with Watson, but did say it would explore ways to use Watson's deep content analysis and evidence-based learning capabilities to help improve and simplify customer interactions and the banking experience.

Whether the partnership will ultimately prove fruitful for Citi's big data plans won't be known for a while. But I expect this won't be the last announcement of its kind as big data gets even bigger.

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as ...