Information management in financial services

Data deluge, data desert or both?


Published/updated: January 2012

By Martha Bennett

Making sure that the right information is available at the right time to the right people is more important than ever in todayís volatile economic and political environment. But how are financial services firms doing in actually living up to the ideal? And what can they do to improve?

KEY POINTS

The current economic and political environment has many impacts
Having to cope with a steady stream of new regulation has been a fact of life for the financial services industry for a number of years. The ongoing economic and political turmoil adds to the uncertainty surrounding planned regulation, while also putting pressure on revenue streams and increasing the need for the most up-to-date, sophisticated risk management and reporting systems.

Investment has been focused on regulatory compliance
When it comes to putting in place the processes and technology required to make available the right data when itís needed, financial services companies have put the emphasis firmly on improving their ability to comply with regulatory requirements and to meet ad hoc information requests from the regulator, as well as supplying the finance department with up-to-date and timely information.

Key areas related to customer acquisition and retention are being neglected
Companiesí desire to ensure regulatory compliance and to service the needs of the finance department has led to a comparative level of neglect when it comes to areas of the business that are directly or indirectly tasked with retaining existing customers and bringing on board new ones. While client satisfaction, customer service and delivery of value to clients are regarded as important, key supporting capabilities such as understanding customer profitability and client/prospect segmentation donít get the level of attention they deserve.

Access to business intelligence remains restricted
In the majority of firms, provision of business intelligence remains largely limited to senior management. Despite the fact that decision making is increasingly taking place away from the centre, and at all levels of the organisation, few are making BI facilities available at departmental level, or to the broader workforce.

Technology investment is key, but itís not sufficient
Companies who are doing better at making available the right information at the right time to the right people have invested more in supporting technologies, and intend to continue investing. Those companies also tend to have a more collaborative culture, encourage local empowerment, and take a less product-centric view of the business. In short, they have done better at dismantling the organisational boundaries that tend to get in the way of effective information management.



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