Banks won’t benefit from big data on their own

Financial institutions that gathered at the recent international Sibos confernce organized by SWIFT say they want to get more value from information, but one major obstacle remains


Changing the culture of banking and embracing digitization requires innovative thinking and leadership. But it also requires good technology. Fortunately, there’s never been a better time to innovate.

Enterprises have more data at their fingertips than ever before, said Michael Fish, CIO of SWIFT, speaking at the Sibos 2013 conference in Dubai two months ago that is organized by the global provider of financial processing services. And they can take that big data and transform it into competitive advantage and commercial opportunity.

In an informal poll during the Big Data: Big Deal Technology Forum at the Sibos conference in Dubai two months ago, audience members said the most promising uses of big data in financial services were for product development (29 per cent), fraud detection (23 per cent) and customer segmentation (15 per cent).

One of the key challenges, they said, was technology, which won out over governance issues, privacy and compliance. That shows a pressing need for strong IT partnerships in this area.

Cloud is another technology the industry needs to embrace. “When it hit us three or four years ago in the financial industry, it was more hype,” said Fish. “Now it’s more reality.” Security is still a concern, but cloud-based solutions offer new ways to be nimble — and to innovate. And big data could be aligned with private or hybrid cloud computing models.

Mobile technology, too, provides new ways to reach younger demographics, as well as emerging markets (where people who previously didn’t have access to technology now do everything on their smartphone).

Sure, there’s a long, long way to go. But you don’t have to overhaul everything overnight. It’s about taking small, calculated risks over the next six to 12 months. It’s about finding the right partners. And, ultimately, it’s about starting the journey.

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