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The value of data and analytics lies in its ability to solve real-world problems through precise integration of data, statistics, mathematics and technology. Picture: SUPPLIED/STANDARD BANK
The value of data and analytics lies in its ability to solve real-world problems through precise integration of data, statistics, mathematics and technology. Picture: SUPPLIED/STANDARD BANK

In a world of increased competition and ever-evolving customer expectations, companies are using data more than ever to make more informed business decisions.

The  approach to using data has been integrated into almost every industry, with financial services being one of the front-runners. The value of data and analytics lies in its ability to solve real-world problems through precise integration of data, statistics, mathematics and technology.

However, to harness the power of data and make informed data-driven decisions, a data culture must exist at the heart of an organisation.

The use of historical data and traditional data points has always formed an integral part of a bank’s decision-making processes. But with the evolution of digital and omnichannel capabilities, the quantity and recency of data has exponentially increased — allowing banks to make real-time decisions based on comprehensive data sets.

As banks try to solve customer problems and address unique customer needs, using comprehensive real-time customer data provides a bank with the opportunity to recognise customers as individuals and engage in a way that makes them feel unique, appreciated and understood. 

Banks need data and analytical capabilities which extend beyond business as usual

This often translates into contextually relevant conversations packaged for the right customer, and presented at the right time through the customer’s preferred channels, and delivered in a personalised manner. This enhances the bank’s ability to meet and exceed customer expectations, deliver market-leading experiences and achieve the desired commercial outcomes for shareholders. 

To remain relevant, amid the rapid changes in the financial sector which are driven by increased customer expectations, digital innovations and fierce competition, banks need data and analytical capabilities which extend beyond business as usual.

At the core of banking is the ability to provide personalised financial products and services to customers.

The key to achieving personalised experiences lies in the ability of the bank to translate complex data meaningfully, decipher key insights from the data, pair it with relevant recommendations and package this as purposeful conversations. This informs the way in which the bank interacts with its customers and the specific recommendations they will make to meet customer needs. 

Using data and analytics to solve customer and business problems, and transforming the bank's decision-making capability to one that’s anchored in data, can be achieved only with a data culture that is ingrained in its organisational structure.

There needs to be a top-down approach to creating a data culture. Leaders need to embrace and encourage the use of data in decision-making processes. Second, managers should comprehend, appreciate and value the language of data. Finally, data and analytics teams must be passionate, competent and creative in producing data outputs to inform decisions. 

This allows the value of data to be recognised and, importantly, used as a key input at all levels in the organisation. This data culture further needs to be geared towards attracting, nurturing and growing data and analytical skills as a specialist capability within the organisation.

Standard Bank's data-centric approach has allowed them to understand customers better and improve the personalised solutions and experiences they deliver. Through this, Standard Bank has remained relevant in the markets it serves and gained credibility with customers.

Data allows for decision-making based on factual insights rather than instinct or intuition

By prioritising data and appreciating its true value as an input into making sound business decisions, the organisation equips every individual to use data in solving real-life customer and business problems.

Combined with the correct technology, data allows for decision-making based on factual insights rather than instinct or intuition. Data-based decisions can be made in real time and have a higher outcome predictability. They also have the ability to integrate new or the latest data for a precise change in course or decision–making. 

With technological and digital expansion, organisations must use the power of data to expand their business capabilities beyond the basics. Creating a data culture, investing in the skills and technology, and creating an atmosphere to nurture data and analytics will undoubtedly hold the company in good stead and provide a competitive advantage.

The universe of data, the frequency of data and the technologies available to manage data life cycles are growing exponentially. Every single online interaction leaves a digital footprint and provides an opportunity to generate deep insights. A shift from an isolated use of data to integrated use as the norm in its operations means an organisation can tap into the power this data provides.

It is necessary to invest in the required technology and skills to set up a data and analytics capability geared for solving real business challenges in live customer environments.

In a rapidly evolving data space where the only constant is change, organisations need to keep abreast of new developments in this field from a science and technology perspective. If done correctly and consistently, the possibilities of data in driving a business forward are endless.

This article was paid for by Standard Bank. 

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