Following her virtual session, ‘Democratising data-driven decisions with self-service tools’ at the Apidays conference, Yojas Samarth, senior data engineer, tech speaker and tech trainer at DBS Bank, speaks to Finextra Research regarding the nuance of training teams to effectively utilise data platforms.
Scenario based workshops and animated tools are some of the favoured methods Samarth employs in her efforts to teach the DBS workforce how to make use of the data assets at their fingertips - a resource that is quickly becoming a necessary competitive differentiator rather than a luxury.
Data democratisation is a force for good in financial services, however training is needed not only to interact with data legally and securely, but in order to distil relevant and valuable insights in a manner that works to promote the business goal.
“In a very simple way, when democratising data we get visibility for meta data across the bank.,” Samarth says.
“If I’m in the internet banking side and know the data inside out, I may not know what is happening in foreign exchange. This results in potentially huge missed opportunities to service the client in a proactive way.”
Samarth elaborates that there can be significant opportunities to collaborate across departments within the bank by using prediction tools, for example between the internet banking and forex divisions, but in order to do this data access cannot be siloed. Data must be both accessible and in a form that is useful to employees - data visualisation can be invaluable here.
“One of the first things people think of when considering a data platform is ‘how am I going to consume the available data?’
“A recent project of mine was to reassess and streamline the process of crafting data into digestible formats with a plugin that would allow teams across the bank to get true value from the data we hold in our platform. This type of useful insight is what we call data ‘on the fly.’”
The reality is, Samarth explains, that it’s simply impossible to be updated about every project and product across the bank every day. While having access to the relevant data significantly assists workers across divisions understand the current business context, the process of data democratisation requires specific tools and training.
Data misuse should not inhibit confidence in a centralised platform either.
“If established correctly, without any loopholes in the architecture data misuse shouldn’t be a concern. Enforcement points therefore become essential in order to protect the 30 or 40 different technologies which may exist within the centralised platform. If each of these individual tools have their own architecture, we need to actively consider how we control access.”
While control may not be a simply task, tokenisation can be put in place across all layers within the platform so that end-to-end these technologies are properly encrypted and data isn’t going to be compromised.
Even if it were believed that centralised data platforms create more opportunities for data misuse, Samarth posits that the traditional approach to data use simply cannot compete in the contemporary financial services landscape.
“In an agile world where everything is changing quite often, to upscale or cross-sell in competitive ways using data for predictive tools aimed at hyper personalisation is what will make all the difference.”
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