Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) is planning to use Watson from International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) to bring big data access to customers.
The partnership between the credit card company and IBM is centered on Watson, the smart analytics AI. MasterCard will integrate Watson into its platform combined with the transaction data that it collects from Local Market Intelligence. The deal between the two firms will focus on making analytics and big data available especially to small and medium-sized retailers in Asia. These businesses will also get to track the performance of their rivals.
The service will also strive towards boosting manageability of small businesses, bringing down costs as well as enhancing productivity as stated by IBM ASEAN’s head of financial services, Yashesh Kampani. MasterCard Advisors’ Pierre Burret stated that merchants often have access to a lot of data, but they are often not able to manage it due to lack of the necessary skills, knowledge and resources required to take advantage of the data. He added that the partnership between the two firms will work towards making it easier for merchants to take advantage of the data, thus transforming big data into smart data.
The first launch of the service will take place in Singapore in April. The retailers that use MasterCard can gain access to the offering by subscribing to the service through an annual or monthly fee. The two firms will also expand the service to other parts of Asia and the rest of the world. Kampani stated that MasterCard and IBM chose Singapore as the first location because it is a mature market and there is a lot of data which is generated by deep credit card penetration as well as deep internet penetration.
Kampani also stated that IBM was pleased about the partnership with MasterCard to make it easier for merchants to have a better understanding of their business and their competitors. The initiative will help them to boost the value of their customer relationships. MasterCard claims that the latest research indicates that seven out of ten businesses in Asia anticipate higher business costs.