2. Investing in a future-proof data foundation which facilitates further integration, scale and data use
Re-evaluate your current technology stack and data architecture
Many traditional financial institutions are dealing with huge quantities of data for which they are ill-equipped to take full advantage. In our experience, most banks cannot even access let alone use and analyze all the data they acquire. Legacy IT and data architectures which in some cases have been built decades ago are rendered obsolete by today’s requirements.
Legacy technology is costing financial institutions in two major ways. First is the increased cost of running the bank on outdated technology, leading to increasing operating expenditures. This is because more is being demanded of systems compared to the reason for which they were developed in the first place. Moreover, tinkering with existing systems and corresponding implementation of end-user-computing for reporting purposes results in more and more technical debt being accumulated. This in turn renders the transition to a more future-proof architecture more difficult than before.
Second is the opportunity cost of forfeited income from innovative use cases. This is the consequence of investing in keeping legacy architecture in the air, instead of building the bank that customers want and regulators demand. In this sense, legacy systems are inhibiting institutions to grow and keep up with more digitally native FinTechs.
Given these challenges and your defined data strategy, it is imperative to critically examine your current tech stack and data architecture. Is it future-proof, and does it enable or inhibit your strategic objectives? The cornerstone of most modern data architectures nowadays is the data lake or data mesh. We see two considerations that play a major role here as far as financial institutions are concerned.
First is zero-data latency, which refers to the ability to use and process real-time data. This includes the capability to use both batch and real-time data processing. The ultimate objective here is to be able to provide customized products and services on demand and in real time. But using a data architecture with high (real-time) availability also enables data consumers to create tailor-made and automated reports used for both management and regulatory reporting, which are often time-critical.
Second is increased data consolidation. As information is historically stored in different departments and legacy systems, data is often not readily accessible to end users, and complex data exchange processes need to be established in order to comply with reporting regulations. This is further complicated by scattered data management and a lack of semantic integration of different data concepts. A data lake as the cornerstone of your data architecture enables organizations to break down data silos and create a Single Source of Truth for all data necessary for consumption.
Making all source data available according to pre-defined definitions and data governance principles enables the consumption of data from different domains through a single platform. At the same time, a platform of this nature enables end users to create specific views and tailor-made data products at the consumption side of the lake. Key prerequisite here is the right technological know-how and a well-functioning data governance organization. Further to the last point, the focus should be on data quality. This will be a key consideration on the consumption side, especially as it relates to regulatory reporting.