Data is the lifeblood of any business, but especially for financial services organizations that rely on it to make informed decisions, optimize performance, and deliver value to customers. The financial services industry is undergoing a massive digital transformation, driven by changing customer expectations, regulatory pressures, and competitive forces. Data is at the heart of this transformation, as it enables financial institutions to gain insights, optimize decisions, and deliver value to their stakeholders. However, data also poses significant challenges, such as complexity, fragmentation, latency, and security.
Financial data signaling is the process of extracting and communicating meaningful information from large and complex datasets in the financial sector. It enables banks and other financial institutions to make better decisions, optimize their operations, and enhance their customer experience.
However, financial data signaling is not without challenges. The volume, velocity, and variety of financial data are increasing exponentially, making it harder to process and analyze. The quality and reliability of financial data are also often compromised by errors, inconsistencies, and fraud. Moreover, the regulatory and compliance requirements for financial data are becoming more stringent and complex, requiring more transparency and accountability. In this blog post, we will explore some of the benefits and best practices of achieving data independence and accelerating digital transformation in financial services. We will also discuss how distributed data architectures, advanced analytics capabilities, data mesh concepts, data team productivity, cost reduction, risk management, and people and processes are all essential components of a successful data strategy.
Federated Data Lakes: The Future of Data Management
One of the main challenges of achieving data independence is dealing with the complexity and diversity of data sources and systems in financial services. Data can be stored in various locations, such as on-premises databases, cloud platforms, third-party applications, or edge devices. Data can also have different formats, such as structured, semi-structured, or partially unstructured. Data can also have different owners, such as business units, departments, or external partners.
To overcome these challenges, financial services organizations start to adopt distributed data architectures that allow them to access and analyze data from any source, system, or format. Distributed data architectures enable data independence by decoupling data from the underlying infrastructure and providing a unified view of data across the organization. By reducing the need for data movement and transformation, distributed data architectures enable faster and more efficient data processing and analysis. Distributed data architectures also enable more scalable and flexible data solutions that can adapt to changing business needs and requirements.
Advanced Analytics Capabilities: Empowering Front Lines and End Users
Another key driver of digital transformation in financial services is the need to empower front lines and end users with advanced analytics capabilities. Financial services organizations need to provide their employees and customers with timely and relevant insights that can help them make better decisions, improve performance, and enhance the customer experience.
To achieve this goal, financial services organizations should focus on enabling advanced analytics capabilities at the edge - where data is generated and consumed. By providing analytics capabilities at the edge, financial services organizations can reduce latency and bandwidth issues, improve security and privacy, and increase user engagement and satisfaction.
Advanced analytics capabilities at the edge can include:
- Data visualization: The ability to create interactive dashboards and reports that display key metrics and trends intuitively and engagingly.
- Data exploration: The ability to drill down into data and discover hidden patterns and insights using natural language queries or drag-and-drop interfaces.
- Data science: The ability to apply machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to data to generate predictions, recommendations, or classifications.
- Data storytelling: The ability to communicate insights effectively using narratives, charts, or animations.
Data Mesh: Decentralizing Data Ownership to Data Owners
A third key driver of digital transformation in financial services is the need to decentralize data ownership to the data owners. Data ownership refers to the responsibility and authority over data quality, governance, security, and usage. Traditionally, data ownership has been centralized in the hands of IT teams or data teams that manage all aspects of data across the organization. However, this approach has led to several issues, such as:
- Data silos: The lack of visibility and collaboration among different data owners results in inconsistent or incomplete data.
- Data bottlenecks: The dependency on IT teams or data teams that results in delays or inefficiencies in accessing or analyzing data.
- Data misalignment: The mismatch between the business needs and expectations of data owners and the technical capabilities and limitations of IT teams or data teams.
The traditional approach of centralizing data in a single data warehouse or lake is no longer sufficient to meet the growing demands of data-driven decision-making in financial services. Data sources are becoming more diverse, complex, and voluminous, requiring more processing power and storage capacity. Data consumers are also becoming more diverse, requiring different types of data and analytics for different use cases and contexts. Moreover, data governance and security are becoming more challenging, as data needs to comply with various regulations and standards across different jurisdictions and domains.
To overcome these challenges, financial organizations need to embrace distributed data architectures that optimize for the quickest path from data to insight. This means decentralizing data ownership to the data owners, who are best positioned to understand the context and quality of their data. It also means enabling data access and analysis at the edge, where the data is generated and consumed, rather than moving it to a central location. This way, data can be processed and analyzed in real-time, with lower latency and higher reliability.
Reducing unnecessary data ETL
Another way to improve data team productivity and reduce costs is to eliminate unnecessary data extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) processes. Data ETL is often a time-consuming and error-prone process that involves moving and transforming data from one system or format to another. Data ETL can also introduce delays and inconsistencies in the data pipeline, as well as increase the risk of data loss or corruption.
To avoid these issues, financial organizations should adopt a "data as code" approach that enables them to manage their data pipelines as code. This means using tools and frameworks that allow them to define their data transformations as code scripts or functions that can be executed on demand or triggered by events. This way, they can automate their data workflows, ensure reproducibility and traceability of their results, and leverage existing code repositories and version control systems.
Cost reduction is only part of the modernization equation
While reducing costs is an important goal for any organization, it should not be the only driver for modernizing the data infrastructure in financial services. Other factors need to be considered, such as market growth opportunities, customer expectations, and regulatory requirements. For example, financial organizations can use their modernized data infrastructure
to create new products or services that leverage their unique data assets and differentiate them from their competitors. They can also use their enhanced analytics capabilities to improve customer satisfaction and retention by providing more personalized and relevant experiences.
Moreover, they can use their improved data governance and security processes to comply with various regulations and standards such as GDPR, CCPA, or Basel.
By adopting these concepts, financial services organizations can achieve several benefits, such as:
- Faster time to insight: by reducing the latency and complexity of data access and analysis, organizations can deliver insights to their end users faster and more effectively.
- Increased agility and innovation: by enabling data owners to publish and consume data products independently and collaboratively, organizations can foster a culture of experimentation and innovation.
- Enhanced compliance and risk management: by ensuring data quality, security, and traceability across the data lifecycle, organizations can comply with regulatory requirements and mitigate operational and regulatory risks.
Data independence is a key enabler of digital transformation not only in financial services. By implementing distributed data architectures and empowering front lines and end users with advanced analytics capabilities at the edge, financial services organizations can optimize for the quickest path from data to insight. But achieving data independence is not only about modernizing the technology infrastructure; it also requires a cultural shift in people and processes. Therefore, financial services organizations should invest in building a data-driven culture that values collaboration, trust, and accountability.
Data mesh and data platform abstraction are not silver bullets or one-size-fits-all solutions. They require careful planning, design, implementation, and governance. They also require a cultural shift from centralized to decentralized data ownership and collaboration. Scalytics Connect offers a promising vision for how organizations can harness the power of data to deliver better value for their providers, partners, and stakeholders. Be sure you undergo a brief consultation with your Scalytics representative to address the challenges of implementing Scalytics Connect into your data strategies.