I made it happen

Vincenzo Opeka: BEAT

Making ideas happen is tough; it takes confidence, discipline and passion. It’s not always easy, but is it worth it? ‘I made it happen’ celebrates those who are leading innovation projects and making new ideas happen. Below you will find a personal account from Vincenzo Opeka at Deloitte who is turning his idea into reality.

Why did you make it happen?

It was a chance to shape a new product from its inception. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take something new and exciting to our clients.

What’s the idea?

The financial services sector is facing unprecedented levels of regulatory scrutiny, with a particular focus on conduct risk and specifically firms’ ability to identify and monitor the risk of delivering poor outcomes for customers. We wanted to help our clients monitor voice interactions with their customers and highlight any which have the potential for mis-selling or delivering poor outcomes. As part of our portfolio of regulation technology (regtech) solutions, we developed BEAT (Behaviour and Emotion Analytics Tool) to address this need.

BEAT is an outcomes based voice analytics application, which uses machine learning to analyse audio interactions. The application ‘listens’ to different types of audio interactions and doesn’t just analyse what a customer does or doesn’t say, but also how they’ve said it and the emotions conveyed. For example, the application can identify potential vulnerability or confusion which allows organisations to intervene earlier and offer a different treatment for customers if necessary.

How did you make it happen?

I managed BEAT through its entire development lifecycle, from inception to creation and taking it to market – I could be seen as the glue between the various teams to ensure the idea progressed into something tangible. We started with a blank piece of paper and came up with specific use cases before identifying solutions and ways to build the application. I had to oversee the front end; manage the team developing the technical aspects in the ‘engine’; work closely with the Artificial Intelligence lead; and finally help take the product to market. It’s been fascinating and truly insightful being involved in literally every component of BEAT’s development and I’m thankful for the opportunity and experience. I’ve really enjoyed every minute…even though there were many challenges along the way.

What has been the highlight so far?

Backed by Innovation funding (a fund dedicated to developing our people's disruptive and proven ideas), we developed BEAT from idea generation stage through to client readiness within remarkable time scales. Within this time, we’ve also gained client recognition. BEAT was called out as a clear differentiator in the market following a competitive bid process, where BEAT achieved superior results for a client. Looking back, these have been extremely satisfying achievements. 

What have been the challenges?

Every time we thought we were over a hurdle, something else completely blind-sided us. When developing a product from inception, absolutely nothing can be taken for granted and no stone can be left unturned – it can be overwhelming at times. The key is to strike a balance between over analysing a situation and taking an educated risk – be pragmatic! There may not always be a known and correct answer to a problem, so don’t be afraid to try several options quickly, pick one and move on.

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