By Charles Southwood, Regional VP – Northern Europe and MEA at Denodo
As the market continues to evolve, today’s consumers are becoming increasingly savvy. When it comes to the brands with which they associate, they want seamless and personalised interactions. If these expectations are not being met, they aren’t afraid to look elsewhere. It can take months, even years, to convince an individual to engage with a certain company. But it takes just seconds for them to move on.
This is certainly true within the financial services (FS) industry. For traditional banks, customer experience used to be simple. In-store, transactional interactions made it easier to deliver services with a human touch. Perhaps as a result of this – alongside convenience – few people ever considered changing their provider. However, with the advent of online banking alongside the emergence of challenger banks and the introduction of the UK’s unique Current Account Switching Service, the balance of power has undoubtedly shifted.
Customers now demand more from the banks and other financial institutions they work with. In fact, three quarters of consumers say they would spend more money with a company that could provide a good digital experience. Of course, the key to delivering this type of experience is data. Its insights could be the differentiator which enables a financial institution to stand out in one of the most competitive markets in the world.
So whilst the good news is that, in our online sphere, every action, reaction and interaction produces data, the paradox is that more data doesn’t automatically equal better customer experience.
Turning data into insight
Thanks to the digital transformation taking place across the sector, financial institutions are juggling an unimaginable amount of data. This data is often complex and of poor quality. Structured, semi-structured and unstructured, it is stored in many different places – whether that’s in data lakes, on premise or in multi-cloud environments. FS organisations can find it extremely difficult to even find out exactly what information they are storing, let alone how they can use it to optimise and improve their customer experience initiatives.
Modern technologies and the logical approach of data virtualization, is helping organisations to get a handle on their data, regardless of where it is stored or what format it is in. Through a single logical view of all data across an organisation, data virtualization boosts visibility and real-time availability of data. Unlike traditional extract, transform and load (ETL) solutions, it does not move and copy the data, instead it leaves the data in the source systems. In other words, rather than replicating, data virtualization simply exposes an integrated view of all the data to the data consumers. This is also a valuable attribute when issues of data sovereignty arise, where the movement and copying of data outside certain countries is forbidden. As users access and navigate reports, data virtualization solutions can fetch the data in real-time from these underlying source systems – applying the necessary security and obfuscation whilst delivering the performance, the agility and the accuracy needed through the seamless connection of data.
For many FS organisations, data virtualization is already helping improve overall performance and efficiencies, reducing costs and project cycle times. It is also significantly bolstering the customer experience by enabling business leaders to think strategically and make decisions based on real-time insights.
Delivering the CX promise
Landsbankinn is just one of the financial institutions to have embraced data virtualization and its benefits. Despite being the largest financial institution in Iceland – with around 40% of the retail and 33% of the corporate banking market share – Landsbankinn, like many well-established businesses, used to face challenges when it came to data sharing and analytics.
Over 45 siloed data sources – including Oracle databases, data warehouses and APIs from internal and external sources – meant that users from across the business were often unable to find and access the right data at the right time. This made the use of real-time data for informed decision-making impossible which, in turn, was having a negative impact on both customer experience and operational efficiency. Landsbankinn needed a data makeover in order to streamline and integrate its infrastructure.
To consolidate its intricate data landscape and aggregate data in real-time, Landsbankinn implemented the Denodo Platform, a data integration and data management solution built on data virtualization, to build a logical data warehouse. Through this self-service platform, the Landsbankinn team can now aggregate data from disparate data sources, transform that data based on the applied business rules, and then make it available to consuming applications. Essentially, this means that throughout the bank, data can be accessed and analysed by all kinds of users, even those with limited IT skills. It enables business leaders to make informed decisions and deliver a vast range of services to Landsbankinn customers quickly and efficiently.
With customer experience more important than ever before, banks and other financial institutions must harness data management architectures – such as data virtualization – to stay one step ahead of fierce competition. The ability to transform data into insight is invaluable in a world where the margins between success and failure have never been slimmer. With data virtualization, financial services organisations can make sense of the chaos and continue to put their customers first.