Amenity Analytics is using AI to help financial businesses turn text into valuable insight

Find out why Natural Language Processing (NLP) is now a must-have in our data-driven business world

There's so much important information that is text based…When you leave it out, you have an incomplete picture about what's going on in your business

By Libby Plummer, Technology Writer

As we all know, data is the currency of the modern business world. But in isolation data is meaningless – it’s only when we extract the value and insight from data that we can accelerate business performance.

One of the technologies powering data insights is Artificial Intelligence and its latest advances are bringing enormous benefits to Financial Services Industry (FSI) businesses around the globe. In particular, Natural Language Processing (NLP) is helping enterprises to get more insights from all of their data in text-based formats. A branch of AI incorporating linguistics, NLP enables computers to understand and process language, just as humans do.

NLP is one of the underpinning technologies for various systems, including search engines and chatbots, but it can also be used to enable enhanced analytics. "There is a need today to add NLP into the analytics toolkit for any sophisticated company, whether it's financial services or beyond," said Nathaniel Storch, co-founder and CEO at Amenity Analytics.

Founded in 2015, Amenity Analytics develops cloud-based text analytics solutions at speed using NLP and machine learning. The company's technology extracts information from a wide range of text-based sources including everything from research reports and earnings call transcripts to news stories and customer surveys. This information can then be transformed into datasets, giving organisations more detailed business insights.

Specialising in the financial services sector, the company works with some of the world's leading financial institutions and has published detailed research with Bank of America*, Barclays* and Prudential*. In all three cases Amenity Analytics have produced detailed reports with the companies which have directly generated new and valuable insights into financial markets. The importance and value of this specialist expertise is particularly significant in the financial sector where businesses are dealing with huge volumes of often sensitive data and information plus regulations which can differ sharply in markets around the world.  

"There's so much important information that is text based," said Storch. "When you leave it out of your analytical framework, you have an incomplete picture about what's going on in your business, what's going on with your customers and what's going on in the world at large. And so, there is an enormous need right now to add text analytics or NLP to your analytics stack".

While many companies already use open source NLP, these systems are generalised and not specifically trained on the issues that are pertinent to each individual company. In contrast, as Amenity's offering is tailored to financial services organisations and, where necessary, to individual companies, it can deliver significantly more value to its customers.

Amenity's customers are able to choose what text-based sources they want to analyse while the next step is to understand exactly what information they want to get out of them. Where these sources are held affects how Amenity processes them. For example, if text being analysed comes from publicly available news stories, Amenity can process this straight out of the public cloud, where it already processes over a million documents a day. The NLP can also be built into a company's existing platform using APIs so that it can be used on premise or in the cloud. Alternatively, Amenity can build a customised dashboard from scratch.

Mike Blalock, General Manager, Intel Financial Services Industry, is keen to highlight the benefits of his company’s alliance with Amenity: “Here at Intel we’re trying to provide innovation around data and security in order to help our partners deliver next-generation services and Amenity Analytics are a great example of this in action. NLP is a leader in financial services for risk management as well as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) which is increasingly a key focus for the financial sector as organisations shift towards a more responsible way of investing, considering factors that were not traditionally part of financial analysis. In general, the service offered by Amenity Analytics offers whole new levels of speed and insight and all of it is run on Intel® Xeon® processors which means businesses can run this on their current infrastructure which is vitally important if you want to execute at scale with quick time to value.”

All of Amenity's NLP offerings are built on one core model which gets smarter over time as it's constantly trained on new data. And  NLP is perfect for companies focusing on ESG, enabling them to transform important issues into datasets. This data can then be used to boost efficiency and insights, enabling them to get more value out of their content and business processes.

Amenity's NLP technology is optimised to work more efficiently on Intel® Xeon® processors, whether that's on premise or in the cloud. “We’ve been working closely with the Intel FSI sales team to make sure that our clients are deploying this most efficiently and getting the most bang for their buck, both from the hardware and software standpoint," said Storch. "It's been a very powerful partnership for us and we're excited to continue to work closely with the Intel team".

As for the future, Amenity is keen to continue working on enhanced features and expanding capabilities in order to spread the message far and wide across the financial sector and beyond. And the message is this: collecting data from text-based sources is crucial for financial organisations that want a full picture of the business landscape – by using NLP to transform text into structured data, financial sector companies can gain new business insights that will help them to thrive in the digital age.