According to a recent survey of business leaders at financial services organizations in 12 countries, a staggering 86% report that they lack confidence in using their data to drive decision-making. This lack of confidence largely stems from both an inability to access data from all required sources in a timely fashion – 95% of the data they use for decision-making is more than an hour old and 63% is more than 24 hours old.
Amid ongoing disruption, sudden market changes, and other unforeseen circumstances, the ability to leverage live data to create a 360-degree view of customers is vital for financial services firms. However, for many organizations, a number of data management-related issues currently stand in their way. Along with access delays, there are issues with getting it in the right format and turning the data into actionable insights.
Most of these concerns stem from overly complex data infrastructures that rely on a disjointed set of production applications and data management technologies. These environments, which developed over time, have resulted in data and application silos that make it difficult to quickly obtain and share information and insights. Nearly every one of our survey respondents reported struggling with data and application silos within their organization.
The impact is significant: More than a third of respondents say they are basing decisions on assumptions rather than real-time information. This hinders their ability to gain accurate and current visibility into their distributed data assets to further vital initiatives such as business 360, customer 360, improving enterprise risk and liquidity management, and data-driven decision-making.
Solving data challenges
Gaining a holistic view of the customer requires firms to pull together all available information on each customer. As customers are likely to interact with a variety of different departments and personnel within the firm, this information can be spread across multiple systems, both internal and at external sources and suppliers. The data is often in dissimilar structures and formats with different naming conventions and metadata. Making sense of this dispersed data and using it to make accurate and fast decisions presents a major challenge.
As organizations look to solve these problems, next-generation architectural approaches, such as data fabrics, have emerged to provide financial services firms with a way to speed and simplify access to data assets across the entire organization.
Data fabrics connect to existing systems and data silos containing relevant data, both inside and outside the organization, and ingest the relevant data on demand. By accessing, integrating, and transforming the data as it’s being requested, data fabrics provide a 360-degree view of the customer. Three out of every four survey respondents say they would consider implementing a data fabric, and among financial services firms in the U.S., the figure rises to 93%.
Being able to leverage the wealth of customer data inside and outside of the organization for customer 360 can empower firms to offer a vastly improved customer experience.
For instance, with a single current and accurate view of each customer, advisors and support teams are able to provide customers with immediate answers and recommendations and thereby enhance their interactions with the organization.
Armed with a comprehensive and current 360 view of every customer, firms have the ability to increase revenue streams by predicting customer behavior to maximize cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
For example, incorporating and analyzing dozens of data points from different systems enables firms to determine which customers are likely to respond to a premium credit card offer and least likely to default on payments. This allows firms to identify which customers to target with particular offerings and services. They’re also able to predict high-value customers at risk of churning, so that they can proactively intercede to maintain the relationships.
As competition intensifies within the financial services sector, customer 360 is something that all firms must confidently be able to obtain. Doing so will empower firms to provide clients with the products, services and hyper-personalized experiences they have come to expect across all aspects of their lives.
But this depends on gaining access to accurate, consistent and real-time data encompassing all touchpoints. Consequently, the road to success starts with addressing the underlying issues with their data architecture.
Joe Lichtenberg is director of product and industry marketing at InterSystems
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