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79% of these organisations are not confident in their data literacy levels

72% of FSI firms agree shorter decision making cycles will be the new normal after the pandemic


88% of financial services organisations have revealed they are under increasing pressure to make decisions faster as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly three quarters (72%) agree that the shorter decision making cycles they are working to will become the new normal, according to a survey of data decision makers, commissioned by high-performance analytics database provider Exasol

Whilst increased pressure to make decisions faster with existing data resources comes with its own set of infrastructure and strategy challenges, as outlined in the report “Financial Services: Decision making in times of uncertainty”, most pressing and concerning is the fact that the majority of financial services organisations in the UK (79%) are not confident in their levels of data literacy. 

One of the ways in which financial services organisations respond to crises such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is by expanding the number of people with decision-making authority (39%). However, lack of self-service analytics (data democratisation) is hindering data-driven decision-making. When people aren’t confident in their data literacy skills, it is imperative that organisations make it as easy as possible for their business units to consume the data in accessible ways.

“Thanks to Exasol we are a true data-driven business. We wanted to ensure everyone has access to the data they need for their daily work. Not only that, but we wanted it to be available to them in a simple and efficient manner. We are proud to have achieved that,” said Demeter Sztanzo, head of data engineering at Revolut. “Thanks to Exasol’s high-performance, we have reduced the time it takes to crunch data across large datasets that span several sources. This means that queries and reports that used to take hours can be completed in seconds — saving hours across every business department. This enables us to make decisions faster, without sacrificing valuable data insights.” 

Encouragingly, 88% of respondents to the survey say that action is being taken within their organisations to improve levels of data literacy. This will be crucial for any business looking to accelerate digital, something that has become more relevant than ever in the face of the ongoing crisis. In the financial services sector, an industry that is experiencing disruption from new, digital-native players, competitive advantage will hinge not only on infrastructure –an essential part of the equation– but on digital strategy and culture across the entire organisation. 

“The financial services sector is one where data volumes are huge due to, amongst other things, the amount of touch-points per customer per day that the industry sees. As we move to a more digital world as part of the lasting legacy of COVID-19, this will expand even further. But financial data can be siloed and difficult to navigate, so defining a data analytics strategy is crucial. Good data governance and a single source of truth are key if FSI organisations are going to adopt a business-wide data-driven culture where every employee is able to use data insights to make faster and better informed business decisions,” comments Helena Schwenk, Market Intelligence, at Exasol.

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