Embracing Data-Driven Culture in Financial Services

Embracing Data-Driven Culture in Financial Services

Paul French

Director of Business Intelligence at Nationwide

Views 2434

Embracing Data-Driven Culture in Financial Services

01.09.2020 05:15 pm

It’s no secret that access to the right data, at the right time, in the right context, is integral to helping businesses accelerate value, not least in financial services. Timely, accurate data can be a gold mine for businesses, empowering them to make more informed decisions that have significant impact on the bottom line. But despite it being acknowledged that equipping people to understand and use data is essential, the financial services industry has historically struggled to realise the maximum benefits data can offer. Even if the sector has historically equipped its people with the tools to effectively integrate and analyse data, it hasn’t always trained its people with the requisite skills to understand and work with that data. If we want our industry to keep up with consumer demand and remain competitive, a cultural shift in attitudes toward data needs to take place – and quickly.

Acknowledging the skills gap

Although some financial services companies have done well to adapt to the rapid change brought about by digitalisation, many others have been left playing catch up. And this is having an impact on how businesses are operating in this Fourth Industrial Revolution. Qlik’s recent research into the Human Impact of Data Literacy revealed that employees often struggle to make sense of the swathes of data that they are expected to work with on a daily basis. Despite 87% of employees recognising that data is an asset, three quarters of staff admit feeling overwhelmed or unhappy when working with data. What this reveals is that a lack of cultural immersion and empowerment around data literacy is one of the biggest barriers to embedding self-service data use in our industry. Eliminating the gap between access to data and the knowledge of employees to use it is imperative.

Driving cultural change

Acknowledging that change needs to take place is the first step to ushering in a new era of a data-empowered workforce. When looking at our own drivers behind this shift, we wanted to encourage data self-service across the business, but had to first recognise that there was a history of teams using their own data solutions in silos. When introducing analytics tools including Qlik, we had to look at how we were going to encourage employees to embrace change. Motivating colleagues to invest in their own skills development has been critical, and we are in the process of encouraging that by creating an accreditation programme. By acknowledging and nurturing those that were highly skilled with the new technology as ‘platinum level Qlik-experts’, we will provide them with greater freedom to do more with data because we know they understand both the technology and the strategy.

Encouraging this level of education is an important aspect in ensuring our employees embrace change. It also facilitates an environment where peers are eager to learn new skills when it came to data literacy. Our approach to education and cultural change is working well, with now 90% of our internal communities using data in our interactive BI tools as a key part of their roles, this compared to around 25% just 12 months prior. 

We’ve recently taken this a step further by developing a resource using Qlik Sense that provides employees across the organisation with a simple, visually appealing way of organising data. The Visual Vocabulary Application allows users to create a simple dashboard to display insights in a way that is easy to consume for employees at a range of data literacy levels. By breaking down visualisations into logical categories and making it easy to consume for users of all abilities, we’ve developed a timesaving solution for employees to adopt data strategies more readily.

Making data accessible

Raising the general awareness of the importance of data has, in turn, encouraged employees to engage with it and learn more about how it can improve their day to day work lives. Creating drop-in days where Qlik’s analytics tools were showcased helped emphasise the benefits of increased access to data. The process of education and awareness-building also validated our belief that a huge portion of our teams time was being spent on data preparation, reducing capacity to provide value and uncover insights.

As colleagues have become more aware of the benefits data can offer to help deliver results, we are making sure that data is more freely accessible. By democratising access to data throughout Nationwide, in easy to engage with BI technology, we’re building creating an ethos of data being a critical enabler and basis of new ideas and insights.

Creating a data literate industry

To keep up with the pace of change in our industry, change needs to take place across the sector. Consumers have come to expect rapid technical innovation from financial services, and with new, innovative financial solutions continuing to appear at pace, traditional financial services companies need to recognise the value in investing in employee data literacy.

Growing a data literate workforce will empower teams with the access to the right information to make decisions that give businesses a competitive edge. While investing in access to data is the right place to start, without fostering an environment where data literacy is embraced, the data itself has limited value. If the financial services industry wants to evolve in line with an increasingly digitised workplace, embracing a data-enabled culture is the only way forward. 

Latest blogs

Simon Black Awaken Intelligence

Boom or Bust: How the Financial Services Sector is Coping

Covid-19 has had an impact across all industries and businesses are feeling the sting. However, is it equally devastating within every sector? As industry and individual concerns grow during the inevitable economic crisis, financial services are Read more »

n/a n/a

Tips on How to Successfully Trade CFDs

A CFD or contract for difference is a financial product that allows a trader to speculate on asset classed without owning a portion of the underlying asset. A CFD trade is not an investment but high-risk speculation that carries the risk of losing Read more »

Patrick McKinney and Joe Fuchs Wolters Kluwer Finance, Risk & Regulatory Reporting

Building an Integrated Data Management System: A Guide for Digital Banks

Digital banks and other FinTechs are emerging as more nimble competitors to established legacy banks. The digital banks that are on their way to becoming fully chartered have the opportunity to setup fully automated processes and systems without Read more »

n/a n/a

How COVID-19 Is Ushering In a New Era of Cashless Technology

  Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-shopping-online-3944405/   Cashless technology isn't a completely fresh concept. People have been using credit cards for decades, and the market for fintech services has been Read more »

Jean Shin tyntec

Using WhatsApp for 2FA is the Future of Banking

From user authentication and password resets to transaction verification, two-factor authentication (2FA) offers basic but useful protection for consumers. The 2FA process typically sends an SMS sent to the customer with a one-time password (OTP). Read more »

Related Blogs

Patrick McKinney and Joe Fuchs Wolters Kluwer Finance, Risk & Regulatory Reporting

Building an Integrated Data Management System: A Guide for Digital Banks

Digital banks and other FinTechs are emerging as more nimble competitors to established legacy banks. The digital banks that are on their way to becoming fully chartered have the opportunity to setup fully automated processes and systems without Read more »

Ian Pestell TIBCO Software

Data Management Platforms as the ‘building Blocks’ That Inform Risk Strategies

Data speed and scale require real-time analytics and accurate predictions for financial trading companies   Read more »

Marieke Saeij Onguard

Instinct or Data?: The Key to Making Business Decision During a Crisis

During times of crisis such as these, making the right business decisions can be more difficult than usual, but perhaps also even more crucial to ensure the survival of organisations. From furloughing staff to deciding if it is both safe and viable Read more »

Abbey Shasore Factbook

Successful investment reporting: it’s always about the data

Heads of Performance or Client Reporting at any asset management firm are responsible for the outputs to the end consumer. Their biggest worry is always: ‘Can I trust the numbers (and text) on those outputs? Is it ‘good to go’? Has it been brought Read more »

Rossana Thomas Fiserv

Why Data Rules the Payment

Intelligent information is invaluable to businesses. In the payments industry, data can open the doors to innovation, improved operations, and better, quicker decision making. In fact, the value of payment data has begun to rival that of the payment Read more »

Free Newsletter Sign-up
+44 (0) 208 819 32 53 +44 (0) 173 261 71 47
Download Our Mobile App
Financial It Youtube channel