Financial Services Must Tap Into the Data Cloud to Remain Competitive

The overwhelming opinion among financial professionals is that cloud-based data sharing is vital for firms to stay competitive in a growing market.

Matthew Glickman, VP of Customer Product Strategy, Financial Services at Snowflake, examines the benefits that the data cloud can bring to financial services.

In the wake of COVID-19, financial services have had to adapt almost overnight to the economic challenges presented by the pandemic. With cities across the world going into lockdown, consumers expect banking to deliver digital-first experiences that match their usual expectations. Digital innovation is very much at the heart of this transition. To navigate and thrive in the current climate, capitalising on the data cloud will enable fintechs to respond nimbly to customer demands and remain competitive.

According to an Accenture survey, over half of respondents in the retail banking industry believe cloud technologies have the biggest impact on improving operational efficiency, and 40% believe that it can also generate business value for the industry. The data cloud can provide the foundation on which companies can build a technology stack that delivers business agility and growth. Here are three ways financial services companies can benefit from harnessing the data cloud.

Personalising Customer Experiences

The cloud offers companies the opportunity to house all their various types of data in one secure place, enabling them to personalise services for customers. By using the data cloud,  companies have a consolidated governed location for all types of data (for example, clickstream, transactional, and third-party) that can ingest data from new sources such as IoT devices. This enables organisations to gain a 360-degree view of customer behaviours and preferences from multiple inputs.

The cloud offers companies the opportunity to house all their various types of data in one secure place, enabling them to personalise services for customers.

A full customer view is fundamental for a successful personalisation strategy as it enables organisations to pinpoint high-value customers and ensure they have a good experience at every touchpoint. Without real-time visibility into customer interactions, providing the best possible customer experience just isn’t possible.

Over time, digital banking platforms will evolve to incorporate ML predictive models to drive even more personalised banking behaviours. This will only be achievable for organisations who successfully tap into the data cloud, as the success of ML models will require support from ever increasing volumes and access to datasets, both within and external to an organisation. The more an organisation can tap into customer personalisation, the better equipped they will be at customer retention and remaining competitive.

Boosting Data Visibility

To ensure fintechs can continue providing the best possible customer experiences, and adapt to any demands posed by the pandemic, having an acute awareness of all data available will be key for these insights. Adopting a cloud data platform that offers the direct and secure sharing of data without the complexity, cost, and risk associated with legacy data warehouses is one such solution. With simpler, enhanced data sharing, companies can quickly and easily add new data products, and get near real-time insights across the business ecosystem on how this is operating. Offering a standalone data product to data consumers can lead to substantial revenue. For example, financial companies that collect tick-by-tick stock market data can use a cloud data platform to create a data project that they can sell to hedge funds.

A cloud data platform can also reduce the manual effort and copying that is necessary with traditional data sharing tools. Instead of physically transferring data to external consumers, companies can provide read-only access to a segment of their information to any number of data consumers via SQL. By breaking through barriers between disparate data systems, companies will find new sources of revenue and opportunity.

Cross-Collaboration

The rise of digital-first banks, the increased availability of online services and the ongoing surge in mobile banking all represent the modern evolution of how customers now interact with their finances. To meet the demands of today’s customer, financial organisations will see big benefits in collaborating with other finservs through real-time access to data. For instance, if a customer is using a third party fintech to track their finances, a financial institution must share data with that fintech organisation so their customers can access their accounts.

Last year, 65% of banks and 76% of credit unions said partnerships with fintech companies will be an important part of their business strategies in 2020. These numbers represent an increase from 49% and 60%, respectively, in 2019, showing a clear trend towards a more open banking landscape. Financial institutions that do not take steps to improve the accessibility of its data risk frustrating their customers or losing them to a more agile and collaborative financial institution.

Data collaboration can also help improve instances where investment banks may otherwise have been forced to hold excess capital. This is because aligning on risk exposures and liquidity is executed through nightly correspondances instead of what could be real-time data sharing through the cloud.

With fully governed, secure data sharing, companies can also easily determine who sees what and ensure all business units and business partners access a single and secure copy of their data. Not only does this enhance efficiency, but centralising data into a single source of truth, rather than in separate locations, will boost data security.

Data is the lifeblood of the financial services industry. By migrating to and capitalising on the data cloud, companies can build a future-proofed technology stack that delivers business agility, enhanced customer experiences and data sharing capabilities that ensure business continuity during this volatile economic period. Prioritising these digital-first experiences for customers will ensure financial organisations have the competitive edge that these times demand.

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