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Our blog is about all things data: data analytics, data management, data governance, data quality, data visualisation. Gain insights from our data and analytics professionals working across all industries.

12 June 2018

The role of analytics in wellbeing

Back in the analogue days, annual appraisals were the main tool organisations used to find out how their employees were feeling. Appraisals could be a hit-and-miss affair for many reasons – not least that the appraisal process itself is enough to put some people in a bad mood. And if the employee is having an ‘off’ day on appraisal day, that’s it, as far as their employer is concerned they’re unhappy for a year.

05 June 2018

Financial crime: Four essential rules for effective transaction monitoring

By Jeremy Davey and Scott Samme Money launderers are, by definition, a devious bunch. They quickly learn the rules that banks set to detect suspicious transactions, and adapt. They are, in other words, dynamic – so transaction monitoring should be equally so. In our previous blog we talked about the problems with many legacy transaction monitoring (TM) systems, which tend to be rules-based. That’s not to say that rules-based systems are obsolete; but in the complex world of global finance, they’re not enough on their own. If banks are to efficiently root out complex illegal trades they need to know far more about the connections between parties to transactions. Fortunately, advanced technology and analytics allow us to do this.

29 May 2018

When automated pricing becomes collusion

By David Geere Machine learning systems are not unlike raising a particularly brilliant child – they could move ahead and gain knowledge at speed, but you need to give them guidance and an ethical framework or they could break through lines that adults wouldn’t cross. The possibility of automated collusion is one of those lines. As I’ve written previously, pricing is one of the most important issues for any business and Data and Analytics is bringing huge advantages to companies in making pricing decisions. Competition is tough in every sector, and companies are understandably keen to get the best prices for their goods and services

21 May 2018

Connecting with senior females in data

By Cathy Wilks For a long time we’ve thought about how do we really connect with more like-minded female technologists who all share the same passion for data, analytics and emerging technology. There are many events that we could, and often do attend, however, as senior females in data, we really want to understand how we can make a difference. As two of the female data leaders at PwC, last month we hosted the first gathering for ‘female leaders in data’ in our offices at Embankment Place. We recognise how important it is to form support networks, particularly with female peers, given there are fewer women in senior technology roles.

14 May 2018

Blockchain, a solution to securing and managing personal data?

By Jeff Handler and Leigh Bates It’s no secret that the amount of personal data being collected and processed is rapidly increasing. It’s estimated that over 20% of all of the world’s data has been collected in just the last couple of years, and that this will continue to increase exponentially moving forward.  

09 May 2018

Transaction monitoring: Why segments and thresholds are never enough

By Scott Samme and Jeremy Davey In our last blog we talked about the difficulties banks face with transaction monitoring (TM) for anti money laundering (AML) purposes. Rapid developments in data analytics and machine learning will make TM far more efficient in the very near future – but banks need to get their existing systems in order first.

02 May 2018

Managing AI and machine learning model risk - PwC’s AI Quality Assurance Framework

By Sudeshna Sen and Aldous Birchall Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are increasingly touching our lives every day through medicine, social media and banking. At PwC, we’ve delivered several AI solutions that provide augmented decision making to help our clients act with speed and precision at scale.

16 April 2018

Personalised Policies

By Sam Jones The insurance sector has always been known for being data-driven, in fact, some of the most early data analytics was with actuaries and insurance underwriters. The new challenges we face today is the sheer volume and variety of data which is increasing exponentially; a wealth of data is being generated by the increasing number of devices we interact with on a daily basis – from our mobile phones to the Internet of Things (IoT) - all of which provide high volume, mix-structured information on a real-time basis.

05 April 2018

Financial crime: Towards better transaction monitoring

By Jeremy Davey and Scott Samme In our last blog we explored how to use data and technology to understand your customers, for the third blog in our financial crime series we've looked at transaction monitoring systems and how technology and data analytics can help make transaction monitoring more efficient. 

29 March 2018

Outperforming the human: How can machine learning help your business?

By Matthew Tomlinson Every week, it seems someone produces a new estimate for how much data we produce. According to the research company IDC, by 2025 we will have created 163 zettabytes. That’s the equivalent of 40 trillion DVDs, or the entire Netflix catalogue 489 million times over. Technology allows us to gather, organise and analyse these vast volumes of data – but a potential weakness remains, and that stems from human involvement.

19 March 2018

Data visualisation: following the money

By Andrew Souyave I was talking to a friend recently who has an IT system where she works that gives things away free. It doesn’t mean to, it just lets the users close out contracts without going through the manual step of raising an invoice. When the friend had looked...

12 March 2018

Unlocking the power of data to track and manage business traveller risks

By Arjun Kumar and Sarah Mullen In an increasingly connected world, business travel is essential for companies to maintain and expand their global footprint. So it's no surprise that according to the Global Business Travel Association, in 2016 worldwide organisations spent US$1.3 trillion (approx £1 trillion) on business travel. However, together with great opportunities, this can equally be problematic for companies, as authorities are increasingly scrutinising the activities of mobile workers.

05 March 2018

Tech for good: Using data and technology to pick out the bad apples

By Scott Samme and Jeremy Davey In our first blog we talked how organisations can protect themselves against financial crime, for the second blog in our series we’ll look into more detail about how to use data and technology to understand your customers.

01 March 2018

Stop. Think. Automate. Repeat.

By Peter Chastin  People are amazing. They can perform incredibly complex tasks, and achieve astounding goals, especially when working together. They are an organisation’s most valuable asset, and often considered to be irreplaceable in their role. Despite this, there are daily tasks that are performed by people in their jobs that are, quite frankly, not worth their time. Time is valuable as well as finite, and can be better spent on innovation than on the same task every day.

26 February 2018

Chatbots - Let’s talk about them

There are three things you should know about me - I’ll tell you two of them now. Firstly, I like talking. I’ll talk to strangers, to colleagues, to clients; I’ll talk to the radio even though I’m reasonably sure they can’t hear me. Secondly, I hate filling out forms. I hate that once you’ve filled out one form you have to fill it out again twenty minutes later. I hate having to navigate to section 27b if I don’t own my own home or have a pet with arthritis. Wouldn’t it be good if we could use technology to get rid of this, whilst increasing the data integrity? This is why I believe chatbots are so appealing.

19 February 2018

Algorithmic trading: Flash crash or flashback?

By Aminul Ali, Leigh Bates Earlier this month, when the Dow Jones fell by almost 5%, what followed quickly overshadowed any blame on human error. Prices in the US stock market experienced free fall over a period of 15-20 minutes. The shocks were felt sharply in the S&P 500, Japan’s Nikkei and, closer to home in the UK, the FTSE 100.

29 November 2017

Data and analytics: Protecting us against financial crime part 1

By Jeremy Davey and Scott Samme The Chicago mobster Al Capone is famously (and perhaps erroneously) credited as the source of the phrase ‘money laundering’ in the 1940s, after his laundromat businesses were used to legitimise cash he gained through less salubrious means. Even Capone might have been surprised at how the money laundering business has boomed since his days. Our Global Economic Crime Survey shows the scale of the problem: global money laundering transactions worldwide are estimated at between $1 and $2 trillion – that’s 2% to 5% of the world’s total GDP. Less than 1% of this money is ever recovered by the authorities.

16 November 2017

The Gender Big Data Gap

By Harjinder Kaur - PwC, Navin Haram - UN Women and Fiona Bayat-Renoux - UN Women “To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” is the fifth of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out in the United Nation’s plan, Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In our previous blogs we’ve discussed how big data can be used to monitor and evaluate international development. Big data can give us great insights into aid effectiveness and development projects, but it also comes with its own challenges.

18 October 2017

A better way of getting to the heart of the matter

By Umang Paw E-discovery tools are reinventing the art of the possible in complex investigations, and even pointing the way towards ‘self-policing’ enterprises The power of e-discovery tools has grown enormously. Enabled by the breakneck pace of technological change new capabilities draw on artificial intelligence (AI), advanced analytics and big...

28 September 2017

Big data, big deal?

By Maaike Platenburg, Freddy Bob-Jones and Friso Wiegman Benefits and challenges associated with Big Data for results measurements In our last blog, we explored the use of big data for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) purposes in international development. We concluded that big data can provide us with great insights into aid effectiveness; it can show whether development projects have been successful and facilitate a more adaptive process toward designing programmes that deliver better outcomes for disadvantaged people. However, current projects are still in the pilot phase and much still remains to mainstream the use of these techniques. With this blog we would like to build on our first blog by exploring the potential benefits and practical challenges associated with applying big data.

15 August 2017

Deploying Machine Learning in claims reserving

By Paul Delbridge Many insurers are investigating how Machine Learning can be best deployed to both improve risk segmentation and enhance pricing models. Many insurers have already acknowledged the speed at which both supervised or unsupervised Machine Learning can be used to build new types of high-quality models, leverage Big Data, and identify new relationships between variables. Relatively little has been made to date of the capabilities of Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence to dramatically increase both the speed at which claims reserving can be undertaken, and the extent to which highly sophisticated automation can be introduced.

31 July 2017

Simplifying Fraud Analytics

By Neil Houston ‘Big Data’. Personally, I view the term as a bit of a misnomer, it is after all just data. Though I’ll grant that there it is more of it being created, and more importantly, organisations are holding on to it for longer. There appears to be a view in some organisations that the more data you have access to then the better chance you will have at deriving value or insight from it. Over the last 10 years I’ve seen that it is becoming more challenging for those responsible for detecting or investigating fraud

17 May 2017

Overwhelmed by complex data?

By Jonathan Watters Businesses have never had more access to data – and that brings enormous problems as well as benefits. The more data you have, the more difficult it can be to organise. Fortunately, there’s technology available to help. Managing big, data-heavy projects can be daunting. To give just two examples, we’ve worked recently with a company that needed to review its data for thousands of counterparties for compliance with anti-money laundering legislation. The company was given six months to complete the review, which would mean processing, checking and (if necessary) remediating 5,000 case files, each one of which had many supporting documents. In another, we worked with a national government that needed to review more than 1,000 capital projects and decide on a case-by-case basis

03 May 2017

The future of AI through our children

By Rob McCargow It’s becoming increasingly clear that the recent flood of technological breakthroughs, principally the growing maturity of AI, are going to fundamentally reshape our world and how we live and work in the future. And how we collectively respond will have profound implications for future generations.

26 April 2017

Reviewed your bank’s chat metadata lately? Maybe you should – before the whistle blows

By Amjid Mahmood Imagine this scenario. You’re the head of compliance at a leading bank, and an employee who works on the trading floor comes forward with some very serious allegations about a senior trader. According to this whistleblower, the trader has been disclosing confidential information about clients to external parties and sharing information on their trading positions. You know you have an obligation to conduct a thorough internal investigation and report any significant findings to the regulator. But you also know that the sheer volume and diversity of data that you’ll need to comb through will present challenges if you use in-house resources to do it.