“Data! Data! Data! I cannot make bricks without clay!”…no one could have put the problem more succinctly than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, through his master creation, detective Sherlock Holmes. He has saved many a suspect from the gallows due to astute analytics of facts which was overlooked earlier. It’s a capital mistake to theorize without data. Something which all of us have been guilty of, including large corporations, in dealings with external world. And banks are not immune to this trait.

Banks were comfortable bucketing their customers into “Segments” based on their general net worth. This is like treating an entire population of a city as having the same needs, wants and tastes without respecting each individual’s preferences. One reason could be want of data and another could just be negligence at the bank’s part. Whatever it may be, this practice is about to end, or rather, it has to end.

Personalization and Relevance are key things that will fashion future conversations that corporations have with their customers. It would just not be possible anymore to cluster an entire group of patrons into segments, and cater to their needs ignoring each individual’s whims. Herd mentality is being uprooted and will be replaced with something more specific and definite.

Banks are no longer in competition with themselves, but they are in direct competition with retail biggies like Amazon, Apple, Flipkart etc, where predictive analysis and persuasive tactics are used the maximum. For ex: – Once we buy a mobile from Amazon, we immediately start getting suggestions on mobile covers, scratch guards, ear phones etc. All this is possible due to extensive mining and co relation of customer’s data.

All this requires data…big time data or simply put BIG DATA! Big Data is an outcome of collection, aggregation and analysis of data from various customer touchpoints / interactions. More often, user’s behavior in the outside world will provide some key indicators on their preferences that will shape their spending patterns.

While Big Data provides us with a repository to hold a “360° view”  of each customer, Business Intelligence (BI) is all about Co-relation of various data points within the data store and come up with intelligent analysis. Different algorithms, statistical models are applied on top of Big Data to find out similar designs within seemingly unrelated transactions by customers. It is very interesting to find out patterns emerging out of bits and bytes which reveal unimagined and unexpected commonalities / stark differences between customers. Data that gets measured better, is managed better.

More than wealth, banks are store houses of data. Hard, verified, up to date and real data about their customers. Almost all interactions in public life have a financial angle to it. And this trail ultimately leads to a bank. With such significant hold on a person’s life style, banks have been the ultimate repository of a customer’s life style data. This data is waiting to be monetized, to be put to good use and converted into information that can serve their customers better.

BI helps to convert data into information, and information into insight. Insight helps in really knowing your customer better, before he knows about it himself!! Again, borrowing from Holmes, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”. Together, Vayana will partner with banks in their journey to unravel the truth.

Padmanabhan R

Career Banker, Galleried Photographer and Travel Columnist. Also develop banking applications in free time. Finished my CA and have done my tour of duty with organizations like Times Group, ICICI Bank and Yes Bank, before landing up in Clayfin to create digital banking channel solutions.

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