Data & Analytics

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Bob Olson
Bob Olson
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'In-Memory' Enables Big Data -- Cheaper, Faster, Easier

How in-memory database solutions are allowing banks to overcome their data challenges.

The falling cost of RAM is pushing bank data warehouses away from data storage and straight into memory, significantly reducing licensing and maintenance expense. Imagine all your data running in real-time and your reports available instantaneously -- and all at lower cost.

For decades, banks have struggled to keep up with data technology advances: how to store data economically, how to utilize it effectively, and how to make it pay off. Today, thanks to circumstances that enable in-memory database management solutions, banks have a great chance to get ahead of the big data curve.

One stubborn problem has always been the sheer volume of data and its rapid growth. According to the EMC Digital Universe study, data is rapidly outpacing storage and is expected to balloon tenfold from 4.4 trillion gigabytes in 2013 to 44 trillion gigabytes in 2020.

Another problem, as it has been with all bank technology deployments, is the crippling curse of all those legacy silos. What good is data about, say, a customer's mortgage if the folks in consumer lending and insurance can't access it?

But an even bigger problem for banks' data hopes was the high cost of RAM for storing all that data and the difficulty of getting answers fast enough to be useful. Today, however, the falling cost of RAM has changed that calculation.

With in-memory databases, the data is stored in main memory, instead of on disks, giving users extremely fast response times to their queries. Plus they can skip or reduce data indexing, which lowers IT costs and lets them implement data solutions more rapidly.

Cheaper, faster, easier -- not a bad trifecta
These cost-effective in-memory databases can revolutionize several areas by providing better data while using fewer costly resources:

  1. Collections: Imagine drastically reducing your call volumes and resource needs while increasing payments by determining which delinquent customers can pay, and then swiftly arming your collectors with the relevant evidence when customers answer the phone.
  2. Security: Today banks can draw from so many security sources. In-memory data can let them harness information from them and mine them rapidly. Obviously, that prevents fraud. Just as importantly, it enables good transactions. Nonfraudulent transactions can take place without delays that inconvenience or irritate the customer.
  3. Marketing: That cherished but elusive 360-degree view of the customer becomes a lot more realistic when in-memory data breaks down those silos between deposits, lending, treasury, wealth management, and so on. Now you can not only know your customer, but you can also show you know them with the right offers. Here again, speed matters. You don't want to lag behind your competitors in marketing to your own customers.

You can probably think of a dozen opportunities in your own area where today you have an overabundance of data and latency in using it. So either the data goes unused, or you devise costly workarounds. That's where in-memory databases can revolutionize your operation and help you tap into your ocean of data quickly, economically, and efficiently.

Bob Olson is a Vice President at Unisys where he manages the Global Financial Services Practice.He works with clients by providing a portfolio of IT services, software, and technology to help them solve their mission-critical problems. Prior to Unisys, Bob was ... View Full Bio

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