Big Data Opportunities for the Banking Sector

Big data is a buzzword in a myriad of industries. In fact, analyst firm IDC recently predicted the market will grow to $16.9 billion by 2015, up from just $3.2 billion in 2010. However, the customer-centric model of financial services firms gives data unprecedented opportunities to further market research and boost customer satisfaction.

In an internet-enabled world, key learning about customers can be gained everywhere from mortgage applications to Twitter, providing financial services firms with an unprecedented amount of data. While this data offers valuable insight for financial services firms, it also has challenged the industry with new areas to monitor for feedback.

As an industry still plagued by high churn rates and customers having numerous options for where they bank, financial services companies should be looking to emerging big data tools as the answer to finding hidden consumer sentiment on a real-time basis.

The importance of big data relies on the right format for analysis. Emerging big data tools provide companies with the ability to analyze far greater quantities and types of data in a shorter span of time. For example, both structured and unstructured data sets such as RSS feeds, text messages, and e-mails can be analyzed to uncover insights. Retailers and other technology companies have already made huge strides in this area, but the doors are now open for financial services companies to improve customer segmentation, product development, and customer service.

Sentiment analysis and predictive analytics are two of the best techniques financial services companies can implement to address the retention challenges of the industry. These tools create economic value by providing the technology to tailor products to customer wants as well as understand fraud patterns, reduce credit risk, and build strategy according to customer expectation.

While these technologies are still maturing, many are advanced enough to drive real value by allowing financial services companies to understand customer likes, dislikes and preferences for product and service improvements, and help them gain a competitive advantage in a crowded market.

Using Predictive Analytics to Capitalize on Customer Insights

One trend infiltrating this industry is customer demand for simple, fast and inexpensive means to conduct both financial and purchasing transactions. However, this becomes a challenge as consumer needs are becoming more diverse and unpredictable.

Financial services companies can also find value in predictive analytics ability to help in fraud detection. This increase in data allows for a more complete profile of customers, helping banks and brokers detect fraud earlier than existing approaches. “Predictive Scorecards”, which help determine the likelihood of customers defaulting on payments, are also enabled by these emerging analytics tools, helping banks to mitigate the risk they take on.

By starting small, growing organically and striking the right balance between gaining the desired insight and becoming overloaded with data, financial services firms will truly recognize the gains they can make in customer satisfaction, retention and expansion, boosting profitability and finding the economic value.


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