Data – well, it’s pretty much at work everywhere these days, but as is the case with so much in life, it’s what you do with the information that counts.
Rightpoint’s Stephanie Bannos, vice president and global leader of CX, and Kathleen Lukasik, groups analytics director, said that data “intentionality” is key to helping companies – particularly those in the financial services space – navigate the great digital shift.
At a high level, said Bannos, data intentionality boils down to a clear purpose for that information – not just what needs to be collected, but why. Used effectively, said Lukasik and Bannos, data can be leveraged to craft experiences that can delight end users. But all too often, that is not the case, and data just sits there.
As Bannos said, “many companies, over the past several years, have just focused on collecting as much data as possible. And that deviates from the concept that data is really an asset.” All assets have carrying costs, she remarked – tied to maintaining that information, storing it and training employees on how to use it most effectively.
Lukasik noted that a significant number of companies that strive to be data-driven are not finding the value they need. The analysis and reports can only go so far in bringing the information to life. As Lukasik said, “you need to align it to the objectives that will help you drive good decisions.” Otherwise, firms run the risk of going “KPI overboard.”
For financial services firms, said Bannos, the need for data intentionality is front and center. With so much information is flowing in and out of banks as consumers move to digital formats, financial institutions (FIs) can make each interaction more meaningful if they harness those data points strategically. That added wealth of data cuts across all demographics, she noted, from boomers (who used to bank in person) right down to millennials.
Of course, having access to and harboring all of that information begs the question of security and privacy. Lukasik noted that regulations “will continue to be top of mind for anyone in the data space, regardless of the function – from analytics to engineering.”
Bannos pointed to the fact that many FIs have taken the initiative to appoint “data czars” – individuals in an informal role who are tasked with understanding regulations and their implications for the institutions.
Crafting The Data Strategy
A strong data intentionality strategy, said Bannos, starts with defining the use case that the FI wants to promote – crafting an experience for a certain demographic at a well-defined point of interaction. “Once those use cases are defined, we then ask, ‘okay, now what data do you need to bring them to life?’”
Once the FI understands what data is needed, it can drill down a bit more granularly into how they are collecting and using the information, how it’s stored and who can access and analyze it.
There is an urgency to dispense with superfluous data and focus on what’s really useful, said Lukasik – especially as consumer behaviors are shifting so rapidly and fluidly online. The dashboard is not enough, she noted – analytics frameworks must take into account all aspects of data collection and analysis, so that FIs gain not just a snapshot, but an insight in context.
As Bannos said, data can power personalization. FIs can define the “next stages” of the customer journey – the next best actions and how to get individuals to those actions. “Anything that doesn’t fit into that use case is superfluous,” she added.