Big Data in Financial Services: From Buzz Word to Business Benefits

Big Data in Financial Services
Big Data in Financial Services

The global financial services industry processes hundreds of billions of transactions daily. From managing ATM withdrawals and insurance policies to administering payments and buying and issuing securities—financial services institutions generate massive volumes of structured and unstructured data. But what good is all this data if it sits in silos, or if it can’t be used to gain more complete views of who financial services customers are and what they want?

The financial companies using our solutions are showing the world how to tap into this wealth of information and translate it into actionable insights that drive growth. Let’s take a look at Western Union, a 165-year-old company known for moving money around the world. On average, Western Union processes more than 29 transactions per second. With data coming from legacy, mobile, and online channels, Western Union built a data platform based on Hadoop and Informatica Big Data Edition to integrate, access, store, and process data—becoming one of the world’s earliest adopters of Hadoop on a global scale.

Another one of our customers taking advantage of the full power of data is Transamerica. Founded in the early 1900s, Transamerica is one of the world’s leading financial services companies, offering insurance, investment, and retirement services to more than 27 million customers. Mastering customer data on such a large scale is no easy feat, especially when you factor in legacy acquisitions and multiple, fragmented data warehouses. For Transamerica, the ability to quickly understand its customers and their needs is key to effective marketing. The company needed to do more than just know which product a particular customer bought. That was just the beginning. Transamerica also wanted to combine that information with other factors, including: Who else lives with that customer? Which offers has he responded to in the past? What life events might impact the company’s interactions with him?

With that in mind, Transamerica took up it Enterprise Marketing and Analytics Platform (EMAP) initiative. EMAP combines data from Transamerica’s online and offline channels—ranging from agent activities and website and mobile interactions to responses and outreach—and makes it readily available for planning, operational analytics, marketing analytics, predictive modeling, business intelligence and other activities. The Informatica Platform does much of the heavy lifting around big data, including data integration, data quality, data profiling, and identification management.

The results so far? Faster time to insight and improved productivity, with even more benefits expected.

But, you don’t need to be a 100-year-old company to reap the benefits of an integrated, customer-centric data strategy.  A 10-year old bank in Eastern Europe operates without brick-and-mortar branches, and quickly grew into a top credit card issuer for the region. Since then, the areas traditional banks have launched their own online banking services to better compete.

To stay ahead of competitors, this bank integrated its structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data for faster analysis and decision making. By standardizing on Big Data Management solutions from Informatica, the bank has transformed its business and IT operations. For example, the marketing department boasts a ten-fold improvement in conversion rates for certain upsell campaigns, while the risk management team has a clear, near real-time view of prospective customers’ credit risk.

One of the basic tenets of marketing is to know your audience—and these customers are doing just that. How are you harnessing big data to transform your business?