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Neglecting data kills transformation programmes

The industry needs to start thinking about data differently. If you want to get the best possible outcome from your transformation programme, you need to pay adequate attention to your organisational data.

Banks' data is the blood in their veins. It's the key ingredient of everything they do. Yet, data is often neglected. When it comes to new architecture and transformation programmes, data is typically unavailable or incompatible or pushed to the bottom of the priority chain. Is it any wonder that numerous transformation deliveries are then delayed or face failure?

Does this sound familiar?

Let's assume that you are a bank running from pillar to post to meet regulatory reporting demands, increase efficiency of capturing and settling transactions, improve transparency and get to grips with books and exposure.

You enthusiastically hire functional analysts, architects and developers to look into your issues. They do a fantastic job analysing the gaps in your architecture, your system landscape and your business processes and give you recommendations for improvements.

You cannot wait to reap the benefits. You allocate a lot of time and resources and build brand new, shiny, state-of-the-art data warehouses and faster data extraction systems and life looks good.

The square peg doesn't fit into the round hole!

Then you realise that your data is still of inferior quality and not fit to take advantage of the new infrastructure.

Reality sinks in and so does your heart. Your programme is nowhere near realising a return on your investment, which would have probably already reached tens of millions.

Unfortunately, the above is not an exaggeration - in fact it's close to how many large change programmes are run in banks today. This scenario is similar to a toddler getting frustrated when trying to force a cube into a circle-shaped slot of his shape-sorter. Starting a programme and building slots without first knowing which shapes are available? I thought we'd have learned by now...

Sadly, the reality is that data is considered unglamorous and monotonous. Change programmes fail, are delayed or result in heavy investing to redesign newly built systems because the bank puts off tackling real data issues.

So, what IS the solution?

The industry needs to start thinking about data differently – and this change in mindset is already underway. If you want to get the best possible outcome from your transformation programme, you need to pay adequate attention to your organisational data. When you own faster and more robust systems, it only means that the data that flows through them must receive an equal amount of TLC.

The good news

A large number of banks have already taken notice and have changed their approach while dealing with data. Many have already added a dedicated Chief Data Officer to the traditional C-suite, whose primary responsibility is to help the business reap the benefits of better data.

The residual benefits of data are tremendous and better data management can help banks to:

  • Become future-proofed against regulatory pressures
  • Use their better understanding of data and data analytics to make better and more informed business decisions
  • Increase efficiency and significantly reduce cost of operations
  • Create opportunities for more customer-centric products and reaching new markets
  • And, actually reap the benefits of any transformational programmes. 

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 02 December, 2015, 14:25Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Mr Kapoor,

A tip from an old hand: When rebuilding a system start out by redesigning the archive this will work both ways: You find out what knowledge has been lost over time and you will do this out of the view of the customer and senior management.

Also: this enables you to extend the life of the archive to at least 10 years.

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