Why The Financial Services Sector Can’t Afford To Let Smart Data Fabrics Pass It By

Michael Hom, Head of Financial Services Solutions, InterSystems, explores the rising prominence of smart data fabrics and why it’s no longer just larger financial institutions that stand to benefit from their adoption.

For financial institutions, leveraging data to gain insights and inform decision-making has become more important than ever before as digital transformation agendas become more focused on enterprise-wide initiatives that deliver elevated customer experiences. However, these efforts are currently being hindered due to overly complex data infrastructures that rely on a disjointed set of technologies for data management, semantic layers, data pipeline, data integration, and analytics. This is leaving firms unable to obtain data fast enough, and in a way that is easy to interpret and share to drive their organisation forward. 

Consequently, to solve these issues, many are looking for a new approach to data management. This has led some of the world’s leading financial institutions such as Bank of America, Citi, and Goldman Sachs, to implement data fabrics. But it’s not just larger firms that stand to benefit from data fabrics. Slated as the “future of data management”, this new architectural approach to data management can help firms of all sizes to achieve smarter data enablement, ‘information fluidity’, and a simplified and futureproofed data architecture to maximise the value of their data. 

The future of data management

The growing popularity of data fabrics is down to their ability to speed and simplify access to data assets across the entire business. A data fabric accesses, transforms, and harmonises data from multiple sources, on-demand, to make it usable and actionable for a wide variety of business applications without creating additional data silos. This is a far cry from the overly complex architecture most firms are currently used to. 

Smart data fabrics extend these capabilities even further by embedding analytics capabilities directly within the fabric, such as data exploration, business intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning. This makes it faster and easier for organisations to gain new insights and power intelligent predictive and prescriptive services and applications. 

Another major benefit of a smart data fabric is that it allows data to remain at source while adding new functionality and levels of flexibility. This means existing legacy applications and data can remain in place so firms can maximise the value from their previous technology investments, including data lakes and data warehouses, which is particularly beneficial for smaller firms with tighter budgets. Additionally, this approach ensures firms don’t have to worry about moving data to a centralised store and all the challenges that can entail, such as latency and duplication of data. After all, it’s these issues that can call into question whether the data can be trusted and if decisions based on it are truly informed. 

Elevating the customer experience

Once implemented, smart data fabrics give financial services institutions the ability to more fully leverage their data, customer and otherwise, and open up a world of possibilities. By weaving together different data sets and providing easy and uniform access to data, a smart data fabric can help generate insights to better understand customers, predict behaviours, and provide customised experiences in real-time. These capabilities promise to help firms to elevate the customer experience and enhance business results. This has the effect of helping organisations to expand customer opportunities, retain existing customers, and gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly competitive landscape.

The use of a smart data fabric also caters to business users’ demand for more direct and simplified ways to derive insight from the firm’s data assets, while also helping firms keep up with regulatory imperatives that require support for advanced data quality, lineage, security, and governance capabilities. 

Smart data fabrics for all

With their ability to unify data from both internal and external sources on-demand, without creating additional silos, and provide accurate and seamless access to that data, smart data fabrics present the opportunity for financial services firms to do more with their data. This will put the power to accelerate business innovation and obtain or maintain a competitive advantage firmly within the grasp of organisations of all sizes. In what can be a challenging and volatile environment, this can make a significant difference to how firms respond to changes within the landscape and position them to use their data to inform their next move.  

As firms turn their attention to implementation, working with experienced technology providers and partners will offer the best path forward and ensure they are able to make the best use of the various data management, integration, and analytics technologies that make up a smart data fabric. 

By taking this step forward by implementing and embracing this next-generation data management approach, financial firms will set themselves up to succeed both in today’s landscape and well into the future, giving them the capabilities they need to deliver an elevated, customised, and differentiated customer experience every time.

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