Big Data has been touted as the ‘next big thing’; but it is certainly not new. Data has been present since ages, from stone tablets on which people recorded harvest data and kings’ names on temple inscriptions to the more recent programming framework ‘Hadoop’. In fact, the amount of data it can store is nothing short of mind boggling.
In today’s banking landscape, business is driven by data. Data provides valuable insights for businesses to focus on key areas that need valuable resources such as people and money.
Currently, anything and everything that happens in a bank generate data; I am reminded of a US-based bank that leveraged data to manage its mortgage pipeline. This was done to enable the loan officers to manage and look at applications that needed immediate attention as opposed to the ones which could wait. Say, for instance, the applications which are closing in the next 5 days and are pending approval, flood certificate, and all the other stuff which has a dependency on third parties, potentially slowing down the origination process. Dashboards inform the Loan officer exactly which loans to look at today and what he needs to do.
The key takeaway? Data is helping the individual manage his work easier. Early warning systems help him achieve milestones in the application process on time and ultimately result in speedy loan origination and enhanced customer satisfaction.
Are Reports and Dashboards good enough? The business challenge:
From a simple work prioritization like the one explained above to performing predictive analysis such as analyzing what mortgage pre-quals will end up being an application and which application has the maximum probability of getting funded, business leaders today need a host of business questions answered so that they can take insightful decisions. These questions can be effectively answered by data that drives their decisions and today’s banking operations.
But the biggest challenge today is how do we get this data? And how fast and effortless is it to get data that is meaningful and easy to decipher.
Traditional reports are capable of answering a preset list of business questions; say, for instance, which term deposits are maturing that week or which demand deposits are in excess on that particular day. They are still relevant, but.....
The business need for data has grown beyond that.
Today, beyond the set list of questions related to data, new questions need to be answered. Data questions vary almost every day. Even before a data analyst has understood the data need; analyzed the requirements, identified the sources and query, procured the data and prepared to present the story of the data in a nice visualization of a dashboard on Business Objects or Lumira, you know what? The data questions (requirements) have already changed!
That makes me think…
We captured data; extracted it, transformed it, and stored it in a warehouse/mart where data from a variety of sources from across the bank are integrated. We spent so much time, effort, and money to build this data infrastructure. But is this enough??
NO, a BIG NO is the answer to that.
A lot of business folks DO NOT use data for making informed data-driven decisions because the questions they have today need to be answered quickly and on the fly, for instance how they put across queries on Google or ask Alexa; "Alexa what is the weather today in Dallas?"
This is how business questions get answered today. They need Alexa to tell them; they need searchable data answers and Not SQL.
The way forward:
Businesses today need instant data that is as easy as natural language question answers, like how we speak to Alexa and data that can be explored by the business with no technical expertise like a BO Explorer Infospace.
At HCL, we are better equipped to drive that change and give our clients a competitive edge. When their competitors are waiting for the dashboard to be built, we can help our clients with searchable data, NOSQL, and answers to critical business questions so that business leaders can take data-driven decisions effortlessly.
So, the next time we have a requirement for a BO developer or an ETL resource, let us ask our client "Sir, how about you just ask the question and we tell you the numbers?"