How did the Financial Services Sector fare in the Big Data League?


We recently shared the results of our Big Data League study with IDC, which showed that although most businesses recognise the value of big data analytics for their business, many lack the skills or IT infrastructure to make things happen. This research also looked at five sectors individually, testing their ‘big data readiness’. In this post we’ll take a look at the results for the Financial Services (FS) Sector, which shockingly scored lowest across the board.

The sector as a whole showed both a lack of data insights at speed and a lack of data prioritisations for the future. Over half of FS decision makers did recognise the potential to drive revenue streams and better understand customers through use of big data, but at the same time just under half revealed their IT infrastructure simply wasn’t up to the task. See below for some of the highlights:

  • 44% of FS decision makers suggested their IT infrastructure can’t move fast enough to enable the business to make better use of data
  • FS leaders have the lowest concerns around customer backlash over use of data, with only 15% marking it out as a barrier
  • 56% of businesses are recruiting staff with the technical skills to ensure that they have the right data skills
  • 34% are preparing to embrace big data analytics and are working with IT to deploy currently
  • For 19% of financial services organisations, it takes 1-3 days to prototype or build data analysis applications, with a further 39% highlighting a delay of a few weeks

These results came as quite the shock because the FS industry is generally known for aiming to be ahead of the game when it comes to technology – a faster trading platform, lower latency transactions or better financial modelling means a competitive edge. So what has gone wrong?

It seems that with the financial crisis we’ve seen over recent years and attempted reforms to improve the transparency and understanding of risk exposure in FS, the sector is struggling to align its infrastructure, skills and leadership with the opportunities of big data. As it was a self-assessment survey, it’s also possible respondents from the FS sector were harsher on themselves than others, as they are typically under greater scrutiny than any other sector. However, the findings still clearly show the sector is falling behind.

There is a need for action in the industry to embrace the big data revolution, only then will longer term revenue streams and cost saving opportunities start to become reality.

Read the full sector report here, with further insights on what is happening in the sector, and join in the conversation on Twitter using #BigDataLeague with @emcuki.

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