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JPMorgan: A Digital Strategy Without A Data Strategy Is No Strategy

These are busy days for Lisa Davis, managing director, head of digital channels at J.P. Morgan Chase.

As she told Karen Webster in a recent interview, bringing commercial clients’ far-flung activities together in one digital effort — from mobile apps to file transmissions to APIs to the portal experience — is no simple task.

No matter the client, she said, as they make their respective ways across their digital journeys, J.P. Morgan’s commercial clients have some commonalities: They all are concerned with ease of use and worry about taking complex processes and boiling them down into one- or two-step processes.

To get there, “underpinning all of this are two things,” said Davis, “data and architecture.”

Moving toward new growth opportunities (especially digital ones) is a task that strives for simplicity as its outcome — where those same clients can streamline their own back-end operations and banking activities.

“A lot of time is spent thinking through the development of various channels, thinking through how we create consistency across those channels, and how we bring them together in a way that makes sense for our clients,” noted Davis.

As she related to Webster, a “day in the life” sometimes could feel like several days packed into one 12-hour period (which is already, in and of itself, a long day).

At a high level, J.P. Morgan’s corporate clients are getting “smarter and savvier” about their processes — and increasingly, their near- and long-term strategies include digital roadmaps (journeys, really) that transform the way they do things internally and how they reach their own end customers as the connected economy continues to evolve.

Design Thinking 

The great digital shift demands a shift to “design thinking” — which, in Davis’ illustration, means bringing clients into the process itself, gaining insight on what works best, having them test prototypes, and entering into a collaborative, co-creation relationship that benefits all stakeholders.

Those clients, she said, benefit greatly from the availability of a platform and ecosystem where J.P. Morgan can exist as a “point of entry,” helping them find ways to improve operations across the channels of their choice and have a responsive banking relationship in place, enabling J.P. Morgan’s services in their own platforms and enterprise resource planning (ERPs).

As Davis put it, if the client company’s choice is to continue with file-based transmissions, the impetus is on the bank to have the best possible file transmission channel in place. Other clients are more technology-oriented and want to embrace application programming interfaces (APIs and test them as they embrace those new interfaces). The platform model, which brings channels and corporate interactions together in one centralized location, enables J.P. Morgan to create microservices across applications.

In business, of course, outcomes are key. And against the backdrop of the great digital shift, where transactions are ever digital and gaining speed — and consumers want what they want, well, now — everyone wants to be real time, said Davis.

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To get there and to have a coherent and comprehensive digital strategy, J.P. Morgan’s clients must break down the walls of their internal silos and not have to log into scores of systems just to manage banking activities and data flows, she said. In the process, they can improve forecasting activities and reduce reliance on manual tasks, reducing friction wherever it may be found.

Delving Into The Data

As Davis noted, the platform approach can help J.P. Morgan work with commercial clients’ information across various functions to help them with authentication and onboarding — and ultimately simplifying their own relationships with end users, or even with their own vendors and supply chains.

“It’s an opportunity for us to continue to bring our clients front and center, and to put them at the center of the problems they are facing — to think about better data, better taxonomy of our information or a better architecture and ecosystem,” she said.

In the end, Davis said, no firm can have a digital strategy without a data strategy.

Data can be messy, she said, a bit tongue in cheek. But data can, if harnessed well, help firms (J.P. Morgan included) be more predictive and proactive in anticipating users’ needs and personalizing everyday interactions.

“We’re all sort of learning this together,” she told Webster, of the collaborations and co-creation between JPM and its clients in developing new digital pathways. “The technology is changing so fast that everyone’s just trying to keep up.”

See also: Helping Banks Get Rid Of ‘Technical Debt’

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