According to historians, it’s been 8,000 years since the Egyptians realized they could harness the wind with a sail to move a boat across the ocean. It was almost another 6,000 years before the first windmills were used to grind grain and pump water. Now 2,000 years later, scientists are still working to tap into wind energy, hoping it can someday replace fossil fuels to power the world. That’s quite a historic journey.
In the financial services industry, we’re on a historic journey of our own. Over the past decade, we’ve awakened to the realization that within our firms lie massive amounts of powerful data, collected over decades. And while we’re learning to tap and use that data to achieve new levels of client acquisition and loyalty, we’ve really only just begun. The possibilities that lie ahead for us will transform our industry.
Using Big Data in Financial Services
In one way, our industry is in a far more advantageous position than others. Thanks to regulatory requirements, we’ve been capturing and warehousing client data for years, while other industries are just beginning to build their databases. But having the data and being able to use it are two very different things.
Before I joined Hearsay Systems as chief business officer, I was involved in the emergence of big data, helping early adopters by bringing to market products and solutions that could capitalize on big data and eventually leading the data integration and analytics product portfolio as the market matured. I’ve examined the journey from all sides—IT, risk management, marketing, enterprise management, customer service—and I’m eager to share my insight with you. This blog is where, with help from many of my learned colleagues, I plan to do it. I hope you’ll join me.
Challenges to Data Integration
Almost since big data’s inception, the technologies and capabilities to store data foreshadowed the unlocked value and transformative effects we would see over the next 10 years. But with change comes challenge, and big data certainly poses its share. For example:
- How do we identify the right business outcomes to apply the appropriate technology to achieve them?
- How do we remove the almost 80% of time that is spent preparing data for analytics?
- How do we integrate our many internal platforms?
- Do we have the right analytics tools?
- Who has the skills to interpret the data?
- Can we remain compliant?
- What role does automation play?
- What can social media analytics tell us?
Before we can begin to capitalize on the promises big data holds, we need to explore a lot of questions. That’s why I say it’s a journey. I hope you’ll take it with me. I’m eager to hear the insights you’ve gleaned and the questions you still have. Please leave your comments and join in this conversation.
The Benefits of Digital Transformation
Already, digital evolution has led to the development of products that allow us to connect advisors to clients and enterprises to advisors with unprecedented insight and speed. In just a few short years, we’ve moved from having massive silos of data held hostage to enabling advisors to have all the tools they need delivered to their mobile phones.
Take, for instance, Hearsay Advisor Actions mobile solution, our most recent product release. It enables financial advisors, insurance agents and regulated relationship managers to turn their mobiles phones into smart work systems synched with their CRM.
Today, advisors around the world waste over two-thirds of their day on manual processes like client research, compliance verification, and activity logging, laboriously switching between systems for each task. Advisor Actions frees them from those tasks, allowing them to spend their time instead on quality interaction with clients, the best weapon to combat the increasingly competitive landscape of robo-advisors.
From an enterprise perspective, Advisor Actions’ real-time tracking of field activity helps firms to actualize the ROI of business intelligence, customer relationship management, and other expensive core systems.
That’s how far we’ve come to date. But, consider how far we can go. Big data holds the potential to continue to transform our industry in ways we are only beginning to imagine. I look forward to hearing how digital transformation is changing the way you do business. It’s going to be a journey. Let’s go together.
Hearsay’s Chief Business Officer Donna Prlich is responsible for global strategic business initiatives, marketing and partnerships at Hearsay Systems. You can reach her with comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.