When Barclays announced that it would separate from the Absa group, Absa’s brand team got busy. With a limited period to identify and remove all Barclays logos and mentions from key documentation, websites, contracts, database structures, marketing and communications, it needed an innovative alternative to man hours. Specialist software provider Synthesis stepped up with an agile approach to help deliver a solution using machine learning and a microservices cloud-based architecture.
Says Craig du Toit, Brand Technology Lead, for Absa: “In June 2017, we were given 12 months to remove all Barclays brand and logo references in South Africa. It was a massive project. By the end of 2017, we had identified 40,000 artefacts that needed to change across 300 systems.
“To meet our deadlines, our technology and brand team worked together to design an intelligent, innovative solution. We began to explore the creation of a brand learning system that would automate brand analysis. We knew we needed intelligent technology, the flexibility of a microservices architecture and the infinite scalability of the cloud to meet our deadlines.
“Synthesis, with its strong microservices and cloud capabilities, brought the skills and insight we needed to get the new technology in place in record time, without forcing us to turn a complicated toolset into a high-cost long-term product or vendor commitment.”
Michael Shapiro, MD of Synthesis, described the approach taken: “Our solution was to take the varied Absa-branded artefacts and run them through our AWS-powered process engine. The process engine would analyse each file type, anchor the record in the AWS-hosted database, then deconstruct that artefact, extract the images out of it, use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to identify logos and text, and finally execute a search to find a brand match.”
Absa’s initial proof-of-concept system could assess 100 documents in a day. The Synthesis/AWS solution is virtually infinitely scalable and can analyse 5,000 records in 30 minutes.
Du Toit continued: “The Synthesis team understood quickly what needed to be done. AWS provided the ingredients, Synthesis helped us create the recipe and put it together. This solution allowed us to complete the brand audit for South Africa by the end-of-June deadline, and has the potential to add great value to the brand in future.”