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Southard Jones
Southard Jones

3 Reasons Financial Services Benefit From Cloud-Based Business Intelligence

The answer to big-data success lies in the cloud.

Financial firms are sitting on a gold mine of data, from traditional transactions and customer relationship management data to social media posts and voice call logs. The ability to quickly assimilate, analyze, and act on this data means the difference between gaining loyal customers and losing them to competitors.

While the financial industry has insight into valuable customer data, it’s bogged down by outdated technology that inhibits organizations from fully realizing the potential of powerful analytics. Today’s landscape calls for business intelligence solutions that automatically integrate all types of data and bring consistent business insights to everyone in an organization, especially those directly interacting with customers. If you want to win in today’s data-driven era, you need a solution built to meet these needs.

More and more executives are recognizing the need to invest in these solutions, with technology investments expected to account for one third of IT spending in 2014, according to a recent American Banker report. As executives set out to invest in the right BI tools, they should look to the cloud to deliver on these demands. Equipped with cloud-based BI and analytics tools, financial organizations can empower themselves at every moment with insights derived from all data sources.

So how do cloud-based BI and analytics solutions deliver on the promise of big data?

Access to all data
Legacy BI solutions were built to integrate and analyze a few key sources of data, but in today’s world of explosive data growth and user demand, they can’t keep up. According to research from consulting firm Capgemini, one of the biggest impediments to the financial industry’s big-data success is too many data silos, with 57 percent of those surveyed stating that data isn’t aggregated for the benefit of the entire organization. Today’s cloud BI solutions eradicate that obstacle by offering unified solutions built with the ability to access all data regardless of size, speed, or structure.

In the past, a financial services agent might know that his current customer recently traded some stocks, but his knowledge ended there. With cloud-based BI tools he now has insights from every data source at his fingertips. A customer representative may see that the customer has two kids and recently tweeted about her frustration with her current life insurance policy. Armed with this information he can intelligently and strategically offer a new life insurance policy that protects her children and results in improved customer satisfaction.

Unrivaled speed
According to the same research from Capgemini, 44 percent of financial organizations surveyed said one of the barriers to realizing big data’s potential is the time it takes to analyze large datasets. In the financial world, speed is vital because you must capture customers at the moment of interaction.

If a customer changes jobs and searches online for 401K plans, financial firms need to be immediately able to act on those insights so they can engage within minutes, rather than weeks later. Financial institutions need data analytics tools built to capitalize on this small window of opportunity.

Luckily for the financial industry, cloud-based BI tools were created to deliver insights as quickly as possible so that frontline workers have access to, not only the data, but also practicable insights derived from the data -- at the time they need it. If organizations invest in tools that are data agnostic and speedy, they can rest assured that every customer interaction is informed by smart data insights.

Ubiquity of access
Data insights are only valuable if they’re in the hands of the people who can act on them. If a customer talks with a representative about a personalized portfolio recommendation, what good are data insights if they only reside in the hands of C-level executives or data scientists?

Big-data success will only come when organizations enable access to data to every customer-facing employee, at every location, at every instance, at the same time. And that is what the cloud does. With ubiquity of access, hundreds of financial services representatives can simultaneously log in and access data analytics, just as they access Gmail or Yahoo mail. By bringing these data insights to the forefront, financial organizations can consistently deliver unprecedented customer value.

The opportunity that big data presents to the financial industry is significant, but it takes tools built for today’s landscape to truly realize it. Investing in cloud-based BI tools ensures the integration of all data sources, fast insights, and ubiquity of access, which are necessary for big-data success.

Southard Jones is Birst's VP, Product Strategy. Southard was previously the Vice President of Products at SCIenergy, a leading provider of Energy Management Analytics to commercial buildings, where he transformed product and go-to-market strategy leading the company to a ... View Full Bio
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