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Financial Firms Are Struggling with Data Accessibility Across the Organization

Digital padlock on a circuit board

Data accessibility at every level across the organization—data democratization—can be challenging to achieve in a complex industry like financial services. Not only is the sheer volume of data collected by financial enterprises difficult to manage, but financial firms must comply with a range of data regulations to ensure only the right people are viewing and using customer data, with the right permissions to do so.

According to a recent study by WBR Insights and the Financial Information Management (FIMA) conference series entitled “Empowering Line of Business Users Through Data Democratization,” sharing data across the organization and providing secure data access to employees has indeed been a significant challenge, but technology offers a solution. The study, sponsored by InterSystems, engaged 250 leaders from the financial industry to learn how they intend to improve access to data over the next 12 months.

Firms Need Consistent Data Management Technologies

Creating a consistent representation of the organization’s data is a necessary first step to ensure data accessibility and usability. This also enables the company to put more robust data governance specifications in place and develop rules for the tiered access of different types of employees.

To become a more data-driven organization, data teams must first break down barriers between data stores. This can be accomplished by implementing data management technologies that remove barriers or translate data into formats that are usable and communicate with other systems.

According to the study, most financial industry leaders believe implementing data management technologies that enable a data-driven organization is a top priority. Similarly, about half of the respondents to the study (49%) said that creating a single, consistent representation of data by breaking down silos is a top priority.

A modern data management solution could help establish enterprise-wide standards for data governance. This would allow data to flow securely to different segments of the business. If the solution includes an intuitive interface, it could also make data more accessible to more users and free IT from being the company’s data gatekeeper.

Overstretched IT Teams Are Often Data Gatekeepers

Indeed, those employees who are well-versed in data and data technologies, such as analytics tools, are often placed in a stressful position simply because of their expertise.

When the financial organization isn’t data-driven, and when data isn’t democratized, data-powered insights are often only available to high-level decision makers, data scientists, and technology experts. These individuals become the gatekeepers of data for the entire organization, and they must assist any team member who requires data-driven insights.

The report indicated that IT staff are already inundated with requests for data assistance. Most of the respondents (85%) said their IT staff spend between 25% to 50% of their time helping business staff access the data and insights they require.

Only 14% said their IT team spends less than 25% of its time engaged in this task.

Because IT staff serve as a bottleneck for data flow across the organization, there is a disconnect between many functions and the data insights they need. The study found that almost half of the respondents’ IT teams (49%) don’t share data sets for various use cases at all. Another 13% only do so sometimes.

New Systems Could Provide Data Standards and Secure Access

Many new data systems offer a solution to these challenges. Through automation and AI-based processes, some solutions can engage in quality testing to ensure data integrity across the enterprise and generate a single, trusted source of truth from which data can be leveraged. This would eliminate silos and make insights more accessible.

An automated data management system could also help with the IT bottleneck issue. Through automation and rules-based policies, the system could ensure that employees of different levels can only access the data they need. Furthermore, intuitive user interfaces could make complex tasks like analyzing data and generating data visualizations easier for non-technical users.

Begin Democratizing Your Data

Democratizing data by sharing it across the organization is a simple concept. However, executing this project can be complicated if you don’t have the right data democratization tools. This study indicated that a combination of technology and process change could help realize new possibilities for data management in financial services.

These are just a few of the insights offered by the new report by WBR Insights and FIMA. If you’d like to gain actionable insights into how you can democratize data at your organization, download the report today.


Chris Rand

Head of Research & Content Production, WBR Insights.

Chris specializes in project management, industry research, and content development. He has over ten years of professional writing experience, with publications covering enterprise technologies and multiple B2B verticals.

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