Financial services are built upon data. For every payment and bank transaction, data is generated that can be utilised to build business insights. However, with data silos and legacy data platforms, converting data to insights is often a challenge for many firms within the industry. Without a unified view of their data, strategic goals such as providing personalised customer experiences, meeting global regulatory standards and increasing overall operational efficiency are bound to fail. 

Clearly, data is a key business asset and organisations within the financial services industry (FSI) must revisit their operating models to maximise the value of their data. By embracing emerging cloud technologies, companies can leverage their data at speed and remain agile amid shifting business environments. 

Due to the volatility of the economic landscape, the pandemic has put increased pressure on banks and financial services companies. The finance and insurance industries are sentiment-sensitive sectors. Thus, heightened uncertainty and concerns over the pandemic has compelled businesses within the industry to accelerate digitalisation and modernisation initiatives. In Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has launched programs to help financial institutions and fintech firms strengthen their long-term digital capabilities. 

Efficient and seamless banking experience with cloud 

The cloud offers an array of innovative products as-a-service (aaS) that can help banks implement business and operating models to improve revenue generation, increase customer insights, minimise costs, deliver market-relevant products quickly and efficiently, and help monetise enterprise data assets. 

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With cloud systems to store and compute data more efficiently, banks and financial service institutions will be able to adapt quickly by offering digital products and online services to their customers. 

Cloud platforms can assist banks to provide more personalised customer experiences and compete with rapidly-evolving fintech firms that are gaining traction in the market. By utilising cloud-based solutions, enterprises can mobilise their data with near-unlimited scale, concurrency and performance. 

Here are three key business advantages to be gained from deploying the Data Cloud:   

1. A 360-Degree customer view

By using the Data Cloud, companies have a consolidated, secured and governed location for all types of assets such as clickstream, transactional, and third-party data. It can also ingest data from new sources such as Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices. This provides organisations a 360-degree view of customer behaviour and preferences from multiple inputs. 

A full customer view is fundamental for a successful personalisation strategy as it enables organisations to pinpoint high-value customers and ensure they have good experience at every touchpoint. 

Over time, digital banking platforms will evolve to incorporate machine learning (ML) predictive models to drive personalisation further. However to achieve this, ML models will need to draw out insights from the ever-increasing data volume and tap datasets, both from within the organisation and externally. The more an organisation can lean in to personalisation, the better equipped they will be for customer retention.

2. Real-time data insights

The Data Cloud offers real-time, direct and secure sharing of data without the complexity, cost, and risk associated with legacy data warehouses. With simpler, enhanced data sharing, companies can quickly and easily add new data products, get near real-time insights across the business ecosystem, and open new revenue streams. For example, financial companies that collect tick-by-tick stock market data can use the Data Cloud to create a data project that they can sell to hedge funds. 

In addition, it can reduce the manual copying that is necessary with traditional data sharing tools. Instead of physically transferring data to external consumers, companies can provide read-only access to a segment of their information to any number of data consumers via SQL. By breaking through barriers between disparate data systems, companies will find new sources of revenue and opportunities.

3.  Collaborative data sharing

The increased availability of online services, the rise of digital-first banks in Asia, and the ongoing surge in mobile banking, represent the evolution of how customers manage their finances. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the adoption rate of new digital banking products and services, which challenges the position of the incumbents within the banking industry. Digital banks, especially in Singapore and Malaysia, are seen as the next frontier in terms of innovation. In addition, adjacent financial services such as insurance and wealth products are also starting to offer online services as consumers are still unable to visit physical branches.

To meet the demands of today’s customers, financial organisations can benefit from collaborating with other financial organisations through real-time access to data. 

Data collaboration can help investment banks improve risk assessment by utilising real-time data sharing through the cloud. 

With fully governed, secure data sharing, companies can determine who sees what and ensure all business units and business partners access a single and secure copy of their data. This will help enhance efficiency by centralising data into a single source of truth and boost data security. 

The challenges and uncertainties of the current market makes it impossible for financial companies to ignore the capabilities that the cloud offers. 

Moreover, customers are paying close attention to which institutions can best meet their needs and act in their best interest. Incumbents and established names within the financial sector will need to review their business models and respond to these challenges. The competitive landscape will continue to evolve and both digital banks and traditional financial institutions must keep an eye on the developments in the Data Cloud to remain agile and competitive.

This article was contributed by Geoff Soon, Managing Director of South Asia, Snowflake

About the author

Geoff Soon is a managing director leading Snowflake’s business growth across South Asia, which includes India, ASEAN, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. He is responsible for establishing the region’s go-to-market strategy and scaling Snowflake’s adoption across verticals. Geoff is a senior executive with over 20 years of experience in the information technology industry and has a deep-rooted passion for growing businesses. He spent his career in Asia and Australia building successful teams.