Simplifying data architecture within financial institutions

By Jon Payne, Manager – Sales Engineering, InterSystems

Banks and financial institutions collect, store, and manage enormous amounts of personal data, from names and addresses to rich insights on payment transactions. To protect sensitive data and ensure it is used and shared appropriately, they have to adhere to strict regulations. However, data governance is something many still struggle with.

More often than not, the reason for this lies within the IT infrastructure itself. With disparate systems scattered across different departments, financial organisations find themselves struggling to bring all the necessary data together for analysis. With many of these systems holding differing or duplicated information on the same customers, it is nearly impossible to build a full and accurate picture of the customer and of data across the enterprise. This results in the inability to collate the most up-to-date information and achieve a 360-degree view of a customer, possibly exposing the risk radar to false negatives and not flagging for enhanced due diligence. Struggling with Know Your Customer initiatives, financial institutions can also find themselves unable to understand and deliver the types of products and services that will most resonate with their customers, losing competitive edge as a result.

It should, therefore, be a priority to find the best way to simplify the data architecture in order to gain a single source of truth. By utilising the latest technologies, financial services firms can benefit from up-to-date, accurate and consistent information that they can use to better inform their future decisions.

Simpler access to data

To overcome the ever-present data governance challenges, enterprise data fabrics could be the answer. This is an emerging architectural approach which speeds and simplifies access to data assets across the entire institution. It accesses, transforms, and harmonises the data from multiple sources, on demand, making it usable and actionable for a wide variety of applications.

Smart data fabrics takes this initiative one step further by embedding a wide range of analytics capabilities, including data exploration, business intelligence, natura language processing and machine learning directly within the fabric. This makes it faster and easier for financial institutions to gain new insights and power intelligent predictive and prescriptive services and applications.

Another benefit of a smart data fabric is that it allows data to remain at source. That way financial institutions can maximise the value from their previous technology investments, benefitting from new functionality and flexibility at the same time.

Implementing this technology will make data more accessible from a smaller number of places, which will allow financial firms to gain the agility required to enhance data governance and operational efficiency. With a more connected ecosystem, the sharing of data will also become more seamless and, when using the right data platform technology, more secure.

Better data practices

The use of smart data fabric will help financial organisations overcome many complex data management and data governance challenges by streamlining their data architecture. It can help them better understand data lineage to ensure accurate, complete and trustworthy information is being used to drive important decisions. In addition, it can give them greater controls and visibility over who uses the data and for what purposes. Poor data governance can put the whole institution at risk, therefore, these capabilities can’t be overlooked.

Gaining agility

Simplifying data architecture will also help financial organisations gain agility to rapidly evolve to changing market trends and future-proof their operations. After all, simple systems are far easier to understand, use and adapt than those made up of hundreds of different applications dispersed across many locations. The need to gain this agility has certainly become more prominent as a result of recent global health emergency and will allow financial services firms to better respond to everything from changing regulation to customer demand and market volatility in the future. It will also help keep on top of regulatory compliance by ensuring high data quality.

The possibilities ahead

As financial firms turn their attention towards implementation, it is worth working closely with experienced technology providers to make the best use of various data management, integration and analytics technologies that make up a smart data fabric. This will go a long way to not only help financial services organisations improve their data governance, but also security, speed and agility to future-proof operations and offer better customer experience.


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