Real-time analytics: the key to success in banking?

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Today’s customers expect their bank to provide rapid, reliable, personalised and convenient services across multiple touchpoints—and any bank that fails to meet these expectations will struggle to thrive. With new challenger banks and agile start-ups disrupting the financial services industry, delivering value-adding customer relationships is a key factor for market differentiation.

Don’t just take our word for it. We conducted a study with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services in partnership with Accenture and Intel to learn more about these evolving expectations and how companies across industries are enhancing their business to meet customer needs.

In our study we surveyed 560 respondents from organisations around the world, focusing on banking and financial services as well as other industries such as telecommunications and retail. Here’s a round-up of what we discovered.

Hidden Insights: Real-time analytics: the key to success in banking?

Real-time analytics: the key to success in banking?

Forward-thinking businesses are already successfully harnessing the power of analytics

Our survey shows that most organisations recognise that real-time analytics is key to increasing customer loyalty, growing revenues and driving innovation. Many are acting on this knowledge already, with 60 percent of survey respondents saying that the ability to use real-time customer analytics to improve customer experience across touchpoints and devices is extremely important for their overall performance today.

However, while most companies are aware that real-time analytics could be a game-changer, a significant proportion are struggling to harness the technology. More than 30 percent of survey respondents felt that their organisation was not effective at delivering real-time customer interactions across multiple touchpoints.

No surprise here. It’s a real challenge to put real-time analytics and intelligent decisioning at the heart of everything you do. It’s not just a technology project, it necessitates a willingness to revaluate and adapt your business model—a fact that many financial institutions aren’t prepared to face.

More specifically: to develop real-time analytics capabilities, you need to go further than running individual proof-of-concept projects in far-flung corners of your enterprise. Becoming an intelligent business is an inter-departmental exercise that requires you to unite the systems and processes that your company uses to collect, integrate and analyse data, and realign your whole operational model to take advantage of real-time, automated decisioning capabilities. And that’s just for starters.

We asked respondents to identify the factors that they considered to be the most important when establishing real-time analytics capabilities. The results were intriguing, with the ability to quickly transform data into actionable insight scoring the highest, closely followed by the ability to access and use all available data in their organisation.

Not all of the key ingredients for building effective analytics capabilities were predominantly technical. 61 percent of respondents said they felt organisational support for experimentation was highly important, and 23 percent believed experimentation was key to eventual success—demonstrating that cultural change plays an essential role in achieving success with real-time analytics.

What technologies are banks leveraging to become data-driven organisations?

Banks and leading companies in other sectors are using a whole host of different solutions to support the collection and analysis of customer data for more strategic decision-making. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions, predictive analytics, social media monitoring tools and content management systems were identified by respondents as among the most important solutions for real-time decision-making today and in the near future.

The companies surveyed also indicated that newer technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices, text and speech analytics tools, intelligent assistants and mixed-reality solutions are also expected to become much more significant for designing and delivering valuable customer experiences.

As more new and emergent technologies enter the analytics ecosystem, possibilities for innovation continue to abound, especially if banks can seamlessly integrate these technologies and the data they generate with their existing data and analytics solutions.

Our study doesn’t name one particular technology that can provide your bank with the capabilities required to get a 360-degree view of your customer journey. Instead, it highlights the fact that enterprises need to be able to combine the power of a rich variety of solutions and data sources to get a true understanding of their customers.

What steps can banks take to deploy analytics capabilities successfully?

Deploying new solutions marks the transition from aspiration to reality. However, many companies struggle to get to the deployment stage, or find that their initial deployment doesn’t achieve their analytics goals.

Respondents blamed a variety of factors for slowing down the adoption of real-time analytics and limiting the impact of any benefits achieved: legacy systems, data silos, multichannel complexity, legacy processes and insufficient funding. Responses were distributed between these factors in roughly equal measure, highlighting the fact that there is no single stand-out challenge or simple fix.

Similarly, when asked to describe key success factors for delivering real-time customer interaction across touchpoints respondents also seemed to be in agreement. Most people gave equal weight to establishing a clear strategy, producing intuitive data visualisations, ensuring effective collaboration across multiple business functions, maintaining good data hygiene, and driving strategic alignment throughout the project.

Real-time analytics delivers real benefits

When companies do manage to bring rapid, timely data analysis to bear on every decision they make, they can achieve a wealth of benefits within a short period of time. Of the individuals surveyed, 85 percent felt that adopting real-time analytics led to improved customer experiences, while 58 percent claimed that enhancing their analytics capabilities helped to accelerate decision-making.

Other benefits noted by participants include better collaboration, increased innovation and an improved ability to compete with new digital disruptors. One bank even achieved an eight-point increase in their net promoter score after enhancing the customer experience with real-time analytics.

We conducted a study with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services in partnership with Accenture and Intel to learn more about evolving expectations. Click To Tweet

While these benefits are desired by businesses across almost every sector, they are especially sought after in the fiercely competitive banking industry. Banks that are ready to use analytics capabilities to enhance and refine their customer experiences stand to gain significant competitive advantage in an increasingly digital world.

Learn more

In partnership with Sanjay Ojha, managing director at Accenture and Stephen Thorne, director of AI Business Development at Intel, Alex will explore how banks can reap substantial benefits with real-time analytics solutions. Don’t miss out: sign up today at sas.com/en_us/webinars/real-time-analytics-in-banking.html. And, of course, here is another global survey to understand what defines customer experience today. Find the whitepaper here.

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About Author

Andreas Heiz

Andreas is Director Customer Intelligence Solutions at SAS. He is managing an organization of marketing experts and system architects, providing deep domain expertise in analytical marketing and customer experience to global clients, driving business value by focusing on customer centricity, analytical marketing and strategic execution.

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