Banks and Data – potential for greatness!

Friday 29th, January 2016

It is no secret that banks have a tremendous amount of data about their customers. This data has the potential to change the way banks do business, the way they engage with their customers and the way they operate itself. But the truth is that most enterprises, not just banks, have no idea what to do with all this data.

There are many reasons for this –

Since there are so many touchpoints that a customer uses to interact with a bank (branch walk-ins, ATM transactions, the bank’s website, mobile apps, phone calls, social media, etc.) and each of these touchpoints produces data, the sheer volume of data that a bank has, is staggering.

The legacy systems that most banks use to manage operations are just not equipped to handle or process all this data. Data sets that have grown so large and complex.

Most of the time, managers and handlers of this data are not sure what they are looking for. Or how to go about finding it. It takes a huge change in mindset and a robust strategy in place to make sense of all this data and draw actionable insights from it. But for that to happen, they need to know where to look, how to sort the data, etc.

Not all the data that banks have, is clean. There can be duplicate records. Inaccurate information. Data that can contradict existing information about customers. The list can be endless. The biggest problem is that most banks don’t think of the possibility that the data they have can be dirty!

If all this data has to be processed – cleaned up, studied, analyzed and insights drawn from it – it needs the right tools. And the kind of infrastructure that is needed to process this volume of data needs to be robust and scalable – and that costs a lot!

Banks need to know that old legacy data about their customers is no longer relevant in many ways. Today’s customer is a digital, evolved, multi-channel hopping impatient one. He needs real time offer management. Things like relationship pricing. All that can’t happen when old systems work with dated data. There is a great need for real-time data that various people in the Bank have access to, in order to offer great service to all the customers.

Just like old and dated systems can’t handle all this data, regular managers of systems who used to be great earlier, can’t do their magic now. Or it isn’t magic any longer. Takes a different kind of skill set that includes analytics to be able to handle all this data and make sense out of it.

The way Banks have been handling this data itself is no longer relevant. All this while banks have been replicating the information they have and storing it in several different places. So the data itself is heavily duplicated, may not be accurate and the way they have drawn insights from this itself won’t work anymore. And they haven’t paid any attention to it or valued it as anything apart from it being just plain records. That’s about it. Now the mindset is changing with bankers looking at data as the receptacle of valuable insights.

All this has to change – and things are changing.

When banks see data as valuable pieces of a puzzle that it can gain insights from, it will end up with effective marketing processes, efficient customer management, a plethora of new products that have been developed based on customer needs, processes that work without a hitch, and happy customers.

And that spells exponential success.

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