December 28, 2012

Eric Stettler
Eric Stettler, A.T. Kearney
Capturing, processing and rapidly using Big Data to continuously improve products and services is the central challenge facing banks in 2013. If they have not already done so, banks must put a clear Big Data strategy together in 2013 that will enable them to compete in a complex global economy where institutions are fiercely competing for discerning, high value customers. Banks that survived The Great Recession have proven their resiliency, but are emerging from it into a world that absolutely requires the capacity and resources to mine enormous and ever growing volumes of quantitative and qualitative data—with speed and agility. The institutions that fall behind in this competition will lose customers.

Like customers across all industries, the banking consumer interfaces with the institution across multiple devices and channels, yet demands an integrated experience and becomes frustrated when encountering inconsistencies. Creating an integrated customer experience requires an integrated, holistic purview of multichannel data.

Resolving channel conflicts is no easy task, especially for the oldest and largest institutions, as work groups and channel data are often ‘siloed’ in old line, traditional structures. Yet, if a competitor is mining the data that flows in with great velocity across channels and, as a result, has identified high leverage points for serving needs more efficiently and effectively, customers will find out about it and give their business to them. It is a tightly connected, internet-driven, social economy out there.

A few institutions have, indeed, made great strides in extracting data from widely dispersed channels and employing it to innovate in areas of product and service development, and to integrate the customer experience—while addressing privacy concerns and meeting regulatory needs. We urge all banking leaders to step up to the Big Data challenge that is testing all industries today and will profoundly impact the banking industry, as those who don’t will find that their business models are out of alignment with customer requirements when it’s too late to catch up. Big Data is both a Big Challenge and a Big Opportunity that holds keys to unprecedented success, and the rewards will go to those who address it proactively.

Eric Stettler is a partner at A.T. Kearney where he leads the IT Operations and Cost Reduction tower within A.T. Kearney's strategic information technology practice.