Patrick Hegarty is the Ecosystem & Partnerships Lead for The Dock, Accenture’s Global innovation and R&D centre. It’s Hegarty’s job to identify and build partnerships that discover new ways to fulfill human needs, in areas like in finance, healthcare, and supply chains.
Hegarty first heard about Hazy through the Accenture financial services account team via the London fintech acceleration programme.
“Quite often one of our biggest challenges as we develop solutions is obtaining customer data,” Hegarty said.
He said The Dock is probably better at this as they partner with a client from the beginning, but still they find it hard to find data to build and train solutions on.
“Hazy can help accelerate with synthetic datasets,” he said.
One of the projects in The Dock is Fostering Better Finance, a collaboration between Accenture’s Banking business and pilot clients. It’s a behavioural, research-driven digital banking solution, which looks to help individual consumers make better financial decisions.
“We had identified the first pilot client but had not begun to put them into development yet. We were waiting for the data to do that. And when we engaged with the team at Hazy, we went from the first take-off meeting to receiving the first synthetic data set and training the model in under three weeks,” Hegarty said.
He said they were in the middle of the first pilot, with the goal of offering new digital finance solutions to build models on.
“From our side we need to build a solution that identifies interventions based on the research and testing we’ve undertaken, like irregular customer spending habits or a number of different triggers,” he explained.
“We’re using the Hazy dataset to verify different sequences and different assumptions we made around customers. It was qualitative and quantitative assumptions before, but Hazy allows us to test that on as realistic customer data as we can.”Patrick Hegarty, Accenture
When asked how they knew if the Hazy data was accurate or high quality, he responded that The Dock’s analytics team got involved in testing the level of distribution and verified how consistent the transactions were, and that there weren’t any anomalies.
Hegarty underscores this project isn’t just to drive more transactions or to increase customer convenience.
“We are looking at delivering the next generation of digital banking. It’s a behaviourally driven digital banking platform that seeks to promote financial wellness,” he said.
They were looking to identify avoidable customer spending habits. Not necessarily the big spends — people remember saving up and dropping a chunk of money on something exciting. They were looking for that “death by a thousand cuts” like buying two cups of coffee a day — could be two euros apiece but that adds up over 60 bucks a month. He says we take note of our macro spending, but we need more awareness of our micro discretionary spending habits.
They had interviewed a lot of banking customers to understand what makes people feel they are financially well off and identify ways to add real value.
This led to a number of use cases that they wanted to test out, but their client’s data was locked behind government processes. Hazy synthetic data enabled them to test these questions that are rooted in financial wellness.
With the first dataset, Hegarty admits they “would have liked to see perhaps more outliers every now and again,” but that they hadn’t given those instructions before, so the Hazy team made sure some were added later.
Overall, Hegarty describes his experience with Hazy as pleasant and quick, “always at the other end of the call. Getting buy-in from everyone in the organisation for the hand over.”
He says he appreciates the regular status calls and that the Hazy team is “really happy, helpful and flexible.”
“For us, Hazy was solving a pain point we deal with often at The Dock, running around obtaining accurate customer data,” Hegarty said.
He admitted that Hazy would further “make our lives easier if their data went beyond financial.”