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Business Intelligence

Banks increasingly are turning to business intelligence (BI) tools to transform data into actionable information. By helping banks better understand customers' needs, BI initiatives can create competitive advantage and lead to increased customer wallet share.

Q: What technologies help banks achieve BI? What are the metrics of success for these tech investments?

Barnes, IndyMac Bank: Among the technologies that contribute to BI are underwriting, risk-based management, product analytics and customer profitability analytics systems. As for success metrics, that's an age-old question. If we're more profitable after implementing a new system, was it the system or other factors, such as added staff? It's tough to isolate all the variables to measure just the initiative itself and determine the return.

Shao, EMC: To be more customer-centric, banks need a single, unified approach to classifying, managing, accessing and retaining both structured and unstructured information. Structured information in the form of statements, invoices and loan applications, and unstructured information such as call center notes, e-mails and collector notes, contracts, pitch books, financial analyst reports, etc., should be managed within a single, common information archiving framework. This framework can eliminate the complexity of disconnected silos and provide banks with a more holistic, contextual view of customer data in order to predict future customer behavior, purchasing patterns, etc. In addition, it can help banks be better prepared to respond rapidly to legal inquiries. The success of this archiving approach can be measured by looking at increasing shares of a customer's managed wealth, acceleration of product creation, more-precise segment focus and customer acceptance.

Q: What is the future of BI?

Dugan, Canandaigua National Bank and Trust: Predictive modeling is the next wave, but I think the real challenge will be to capture the next customer. Much of BI is focused on gaining greater wallet share of existing customers, but the barriers to acquisition -- such as the National Do-Not Call Registry and other information-privacy concerns -- are growing. We ultimately will need to figure out how to use the information we have not only to predict what our customers need, but to identify and predict the needs of our prospects.

Shao, EMC: BI is becoming more of an integral component within the enterprise, capable of managing both structured and unstructured content. As companies begin to realize the potential of BI technology, the next level of BI tools will have built-in metadata intelligence, essentially making application data "storage aware." The data will be tagged automatically with a set of instructions that determine exactly where it's stored, what protection and service levels it requires, who's allowed to access or change it, when it should be archived, and when it is to be destroyed. As metadata becomes richer, its contributions to the enterprise become richer as well. Business intelligence will move beyond the boundaries of storage and IT to become vital parts of supply chain and CRM applications.

Barnes, IndyMac Bank: Business intelligence is allowing us to place technology in the customers' hands. They decide when they are ready to have their paychecks electronically deposited or to pay their bills electronically. They determine when it makes sense to set up a high-balance money market attached to a checking account where funds are swept as needed to cover bills. Bankers are moving away from a role of merely executing keystrokes and into a true consultative role. This places a greater burden on us, but opens up unlimited possibilities. Our offering is our intelligence -- our ability to help customers make sound financial decisions.

Duchesneau, SAS: Banks are looking to expand BI throughout their organizations. They'll continue the transformation of traditional reporting environments, where information is created and delivered via complex spreadsheet reporting systems with limited accessibility, to a self-service BI environment offering information not only about the past and present, but also about the future. In addition, they'll continue to reduce the time to intelligence -- the time it takes to create and deliver information to the appropriate people. **--Peggy Bresnick Kendler

Peggy Bresnick Kendler has been a writer for 30 years. She has worked as an editor, publicist and school district technology coordinator. During the past decade, Bresnick Kendler has worked for UBM TechWeb on special financialservices technology-centered ... View Full Bio

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