Through the looking glass

How data has become a key technology driver

As data continues to grow to become more than just numbers, statistics and analytics, it has grown to have influential economic and societal value. The internal process of transmitted data, and its spiraling growth is steadily affecting the world economy. Global businesses are disrupting age old models to build products and services that can predict and preempt value.

In 2017, we saw an uplift in data disruption, as firms were continuously taking advantage of data networks on a daily basis, illegitimately accessing new information reserves. From consumer firms to enterprises, all worked towards learning more about their users to better target them. This held especially true for consumer facing industries such as banking.  

The Importance of being data-driven in banking

In March of 2017, Darryl West, chief information officer, HSBC Bank, stated that, apart from HSBC’s $2.4 trillion assets, the core asset of the company is its data bank.

HSBC is not the only one to make such claims. Earlier in 2017, ANZ bank appointed Emma Gray as chief data officer, a move to showcase how the corporation is looking at identifying new opportunities through better decision making, underpinned by its data operations. Such examples show how the sector is on the move towards becoming more data-centric for the future, especially with evolved customer service demands in mind.  

Consumers are now constantly wanting more and more personalisation. Banks are undertaking focused investments in understanding trends, needs and wants of the existing and future consumers.

Data collection has moved from just the collection of the individual or categorisation, to actual likes and dislikes, where they spend their money, when they are travelling etc. The year witnessed banks improve both the collection and usage of data for a more proactive and contextual customer experience.

In fact, into 2018, the term ‘open banking’ has been established to change the way everyday Australians interact with their banks. Customers will be able to advise their banks to send data to competitors, which can then be used to compare price, or compete for an offer of a different product or service.

The ruling gives control back to customers with their data. So now we are existing in a data ecosystem that enables the use of data to drive better results for both parties. At the same time these movements do raise the question of security, and what measures are in place to ensure that customers’ personal data is secure.

How to balance the need to be data-driven with data privacy and security

Whilst we’ve seen corporations take advantage of data, over the past 12 months there have been an increasing number of cyber data breaches that contradict the way we view new wave data economy.

With more and more data being collected, the more security is needed to store the information, as the main concern for individuals is the uncontrollable whereabouts of their personal information. Therefore, it has become apparent that individuals as well as the enterprises need to work towards creating an ecosystem that balances data driven business with data security and privacy.

Organisations have realised that they need to clearly outline the purpose of how and why they assemble consumer data. Right from the individual to the collective, organisations need to translate their messaging into action all the while being consistently conscious of data privacy compliance with their customers.

The Australian government’s new approach towards banks and their customer data is a sign that enterprises attitudes are changing towards the impact data can have and the importance of its use. From customer personalisation and control, to security and privacy. All need to be considered as data becomes a key driver for businesses in the future.

Glenn McPherson is managing director at NetApp Australia and New Zealand.