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Leveraging Data Democratization in Finance

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Financial Industry Leaders Will Leverage Data Democratization to Drive Innovation

Accessing and leveraging enterprise data in a timely way has become one of the most definitive ways to outpace the competition in the business world. In the financial services industry, firms must be able to use data to understand what’s happening within the business, and provide these insights throughout the organization.

Until recently, data-driven insights were the sole purview of leaders, stakeholders, and team members with the right technical expertise. Now, financial organizations are searching for ways to deliver deeper insights across their organizations, from the board room to those at every level involved in the day-to-day operations.

This is what’s known as data democratization, and it will be key to driving innovation in the financial services industry moving forward.

The benefits of data democratization for businesses are plentiful, allowing individuals across the organization to drive actionable insights, but require a number of technology and organizational changes. According to a recent study sponsored by InterSystems, entitled “ Empowering Line of Business Users Through Data Democratization,” one of the top requirements of any data democratization tool is the ability to bridge data silos. The study, produced by WBR Insights and published by the Financial Information Management (FIMA) conference series, engaged 250 leaders from the financial industry to learn just how they intend to improve access to data over the next 12 months.

Data Access, Compliance, and Analytics Are Key Projects for the Future

Researchers concluded that any company struggling to democratize data should look to augment their existing capabilities with new data technologies that allow them to get more value from their current data investments. They may also need to consult with third-party experts to assist with enterprise-wide data governance processes.

These steps will be integral to breaking down data silos and improving data access to team members.

Indeed, 62% of the respondents said that providing improved access to siloed distributed data is among their top data priorities for the next 12 months. This result was significantly higher than the next two answers, indicating that this is a top priority for the majority of respondents.

However, improving regulatory compliance is still high on the list as firms recognize the risk and potential liability of not providing current and accurate data, and want to address the associated complexities. These stem largely from data, technology, and organizational silos, as well as inconsistencies among the various silos, and the difficulties of obtaining and reporting on an accurate single source of truth.

Consequently, simplified regulatory compliance could be of real value to the financial services industry, especially when the organization is attempting to democratize its data. Financial firms need a strong data governance framework that ensures only the right information is being delivered to specific areas of the business. Ideally, the data governance process would be at least partially automated.

For example, customer service representatives who are serving customers directly could benefit greatly from access to data and data analytics. But given the sensitive nature of financial data, the organization’s technology tools must allow for certain tiers of access to specific users.

Furthermore, data analytics itself has been difficult to deploy across every level of the organization and as the demands of the business have changed, what they require from data analytics solutions has changed too. Static reports using data that is days or weeks old are no longer sufficient. Instead, employees, partners, and even customers want the ability to drill into current data and interrogate the information to get answers to their specific questions.

Data Silos Are a Top Barrier to Innovation

Innovation in the financial services industry has taken on a variety of forms. Self-service solutions for customers have become particularly attractive to organizations recently, as customers are demanding more ways to connect with their financial companies amidst the pandemic, and as fintechs and modern online services have raised the bar for user experience. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are also making inroads among financial firms due to their ability to make predictions and offer strategic insights.

But a critical asset for all these innovations is data. Without accurate, accessible and usable data, the organization can’t make use of advanced technologies or develop innovative applications for them.

According to the respondents to the FIMA and WBR Insights study, data silos were among their top three biggest barriers to innovation.

Specifically, 54% of the respondents listed “data silos” as a top barrier to innovation. These organizations know that they have valuable data locked away in their systems, but because those systems can’t communicate with each other, there is effectively a barrier between the organization, its data, and the insights that data contains.

In the context of the financial services industry, it should be no surprise that unlocking the potential of that data is a top concern. Data is quickly becoming a new currency, and the ability to use customer data for insights is driving competition across the sector.

Download the Report and Empower Your Business with Data

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.



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Global Head of Financial Services