The world is on the move and within the financial services sector, banks, insurers, asset managers and pension funds are facing a set of common challenges as they transition from a technology-focused view to a business service view in relation to data. It amounts to a real fight in how organizations can better identify, share and derive value from the data they hold by adopting a new set of conditions, not least creating a collaborative “data culture” that extends throughout the business.
Establishing this culture requires working toward a data-literate staff and establishing data “trust” across the business in how data can be used. Certainly, the benefit of such a move is borne out by the experts who see the principal hurdle as being the need for businesses to face the challenge as one team.1
Working in silos is not unusual, but when it comes to data, it means that businesses lack a strategic focus, preferring instead to operate at a department level without anyone owning a holistic view of the importance and potential value of data across the organization. It means, therefore, missing out on the benefits that enterprise collaboration can bring.
Of course, it is tempting to lay the responsibility at the feet of the chief data officer, but a CDO juggles many responsibilities, from creating value (for example, improving the customer journey or building new products/services based upon data analytics) and harnessing the good that data can bring through to compliance (e.g., privacy and protection, financial irregularities) and managing risk.
It seems that once a CDO is hired, regardless of how small the associated resources and team, every data problem that crops up, however minor, falls into their lap.2 Put more simply: they get the problems and the challenges but not the budget.
What is immediately wrong with this mindset is it shows that the culture within organizations toward data is inherently “defensive” and not aligned with the new reality of recognizing and managing data as a valuable asset, crucial to the future success of the business. It demonstrates a negativity toward data based on a fear of getting it wrong, and falling foul of the appropriate regulatory authority, as opposed to a more forward-looking approach to data that enables corporates to transform business operations, inspire new product development, and revolutionize the customer experience.