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KPMG Ignite – the Swiss Army Knife of AI?

I recently had an opportunity to speak with a KPMG partner in their Canadian risk consulting practice and with the head of data science for Canada about several things, including KPMG Ignite. This is what I learned.

Ignite is an extensible, customizable artificial intelligence (AI) platform assembled from state-of-the-art open-source tools, IP developed by the firm, and frameworks and technologies provided by their alliance partners:

Source: KPMG Ignite, Accessed November 2019.

The firm created Ignite so that it could accelerate development of solutions and time to market for intelligent automation, cost and contract management, smart contracting, customer engagement, and risk and regulatory compliance, among several other applications.

The platform’s foundational capabilities include document ingestion and optical character recognition (OCR), natural language processing (NLP)/natural language generation (NLG), and machine learning (ML), including deep learning. It is capable of processing structured, unstructured, and semistructured data, as well as voice data and images.

It is reported to have been used for:

  • Cognitive contract management – in procurement, legal, and finance
  • Intelligent forecasting – in finance, supply chain/demand planning
  • London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) transition – contract assessment for financial instruments
  • Qualified financial contract (QFC) analytics – in financial services
  • Cognitive vouching – in internal audit, audit, and compliance
  • Cognitive transfer pricing – in tax and finance

Ignite is provided as part of a service or through a managed service (accessed through APIs), integrates with a number of user-interface and low-code frameworks, and can also be replicated on premises. It is fully containerized.

In addition to its cutting-edge tools, the platform leverages KPMG’s extensive business knowledge and is designed to keep humans in the loop – to leverage client know-how for tasks including labeling of training data, review and validation of results, and manual processing of exception cases where needed.

In the client case studies that were shared, the platfom constantly achieves significant cost savings and error rate reduction when compared to manual effort when, say, reviewing contracts. Its accuracy is frequently as high as 94% to 97%. In one engagement (a LIBOR project) the client compared the system with a solution by a well-known boutique firm used by a number of law firms and was pleasantly surprised that Ignite achieved 96% accuracy on a test data set, compared to 50% by the competitor.

Our Take

If you are looking to take advantage of AI and ML for procurement, contract management, forecasting and demand planning (both in finance and supply chain), legal and regulatory, customer service, and other areas, you might want to consider KPMG Ignite.

While Ignite may not have the cheapest price tag – consulting offerings typically don’t, even when they are based on an asset like Ignite – it usually pays to get a single comprehensive platform to solve as many bespoke problems as possible across a range of processes and business areas, rather than assembling a patchwork of technologies and integrating them one by one into your environment or building your own.

Another benefit is that you will have only one relationship to manage, with a partner who has broad and deep technical and business expertise and capabilities to support you along your entire AI journey, regardless of where you are now.

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