"ACTICO Rules is the logical heart of the system"

Florian Stollenwerk, Specialist for new media

Digital Customer Communication in Real Time with Business Rules & Big Data

“Digital customer communication in real time” is the name of ING-DiBa’s awards-winning project. Besides the Digital Banking Award from the German business newspaper Handelsblatt, the direct bank received the Digital Leader Award from IDG and Dimension Data, as well as the Empowerment Award within the ING Group. In the project, ING-DiBa is focusing on predictive analytics, big data and business rules management to enable needs-based customer communication in the online channel, and in real time.

Digital transformation as a trigger

Digital transformation has greatly changed communication between customers and companies. Instead of static mass communication, customers want timely communication based on their specific needs and situation. Be it for product information or services, customers expect the digital channels to provide the same level of individual communication that they are already familiar with from personal contact with their bank advisors. From a technical perspective, this is a special challenge for which Florian Stollenwerk, product owner for this topic at ING-DiBa, had a solution.

Digital customer communication in online banking

With online banking and brokerage, customers of ING-DiBa have access to a comprehensive range of online services for their banking activities once they log in to the customer portal. To optimize this service, customers should be automatically informed of relevant offers and helpful services. Simple graphical banners displayed in the online banking portal require well thought-through communication and the coordination of a variety of systems.

Predictive analytics, big data & business rules in action

To implement the customer next best action requirements, ING-DiBa opted for a combination of predictive analytics, big data and business rules management. Predictive analytics ensure the selection of the correct database, big data enables the processing and use of large amounts of data in real time, and business rules management selects and controls optimal content.

In the runup to a communication activity, rules are defined using the integrated business rules management system (BRMS) ACTICO Rules, which controls the communication measure displayed to the customer. In addition, the customer base is preselected in order to take age restrictions, communication preferences and customer product affinities into account. If a customer logs in to online banking, this information is evaluated in runtime on the basis of the previously defined rules in the BRMS. This automatically determines the most relevant content for the customer at this time. The results are then displayed in the online banking portal via the content management system, which stores content such as texts and banners.

Collaboration between business departement and IT

In addition to high technical complexity, the project of ING-DiBa is characterized by a high level of business expertise, since the knowledge to determine the relevant content for the customers lies in business departments such as sales and marketing, which maintain the underlying rule and decision models. This is where the graphical approach of the BRMS provides huge benefits: It enables subject matter experts outside of the IT department to intuitively and transparently create and maintain rule and decision models. Thus, business departments gain autonomy, while IT departments are relieved.

ACTICO Rules as the „logical heart“ 

The graphical business rules management approach provides maximum agility, transparency and consistency. By extracting the business logic from IT systems and applications, and maintaining it centrally in the BRMS, subject matter experts can implement changes quickly and easily. They enable and disable content, adjust conditions and priorities, and model new marketing activities independently. The BRMS then ensures the efficient, automated execution of the business logic. For example, it automatically checks whether a service message is relevant for the customer at the moment of customer contact. “ACTICO Rules is the logical heart of the system”, concludes Florian Stollenwerk. The strategy of the specialists was to combine modern, high-performance technology and a consistent digital strategy so that the bank can optimally meet the needs of the customer while simultaneously becoming more agile.