ING Innovation Day 2017

Every year ING organizes the ING Innovation Day for a group of its employees. On this day, ING asks several of its strategic partners to present innovative ideas related to a certain IT domain. This year’s edition was all about artificial intelligence or AI applicable for ING Group Services.

Together with SAS

One of the strategic partners that was asked to participate on this special day was SAS. Not only were they asked to show some innovative ideas in the field of artificial intelligence using SAS, they were also asked to give a “deep dive” session about their idea. This session wasn’t only to inspire employees of ING Group Services, but also to show them how to actually achieve similar innovations.


Given the speed at which Finaps can translate ideas into innovative solutions and positive experience in the past, SAS therefore immediately asked Finaps to join them for the ING Innovation Day. After an intense brainstorm session, we concluded that a workable demo would be the best way to inspire employees of ING Group Services. The core idea behind the demo was to show an innovative idea and for employees to have a demo where they could relate to. It had to address a hot topic for ING Group Services and the demo had to be completely tailor made.

A chatbot for Human Resources

We came up with a chatbot called “Sir Botsalot” for the Human Resources (HR) department. It is one of the departments to which ING Group Services provides IT solutions. Employees from all departments within ING often ask relatively simple questions to employees of the HR department, interrupting other more important responsibilities.

With a chatbot that can answer various HR-related questions for all employees within ING, employees from the HR department can spend their time on complex questions and topics. Chatbots, however, have several flaws. Their answers might be incorrect, or they get stuck in a loop. Either way, people tend to get bored or annoyed with chatbots and want to talk to an actual human. Let’s face it, when you have a complex problem a chatbot is not going to provide you with the correct answer.



Our chatbot was designed with a unique approach. Based on the context of the question, the chatbot itself answers the question or it lets the decision engine of SAS determine the correct answer. If still no good answer is found, SAS is used to determine the best suiting employee within the HR department that can be contacted, based on the conversation. Within the custom created mobile application, the relevant HR employee can directly be called or e-mailed.

The Innovation Day

On the 23rd of March the Innovation Day took place in the Amsterdam Arena. With over 150 employees of ING Group Services joining us, it was a very successful day. We had multiple phones with the chatbot ready for testing and almost all employees could do so. They were very enthusiastic about the demo and even asked when the application would be ready to use.



Besides testing the chatbot at our stand, a “deep dive” into the application, data service layer and SAS-backend was given by a combined team of SAS and Finaps. We showed how easily existing enterprise software could be combined with open source software, and how to create new services and solutions with minimum effort. We can say we truly inspired ING Group Services to develop similar innovations because they are easier to find than one might think.

Our innovative solution was chosen by ING as the best of all the suppliers that were present.