9 in 10 finance firms stymied by data use for decisions 

Image by Nicholas Cappello

Nine in every 10 (87%) financial services firms in the Asia-Pacific region are frustrated trying to use their data to drive decision-making, while almost all (98%) business leaders are seeing data and application silos within their organisations, a study done by InterSystems revealed.

The study covers financial services companies in commercial, investment, and retail banks. The survey includes 554 respondents from across Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore, plus the United States and six countries in Europe in the global version of the report.

Other major findings include not being able to report on all relevant data (36%); not being able to get the data from all the needed sources (35%); and delayed access to data (34%). 

The implications of these data challenges are significant, impacting a firm’s ability to properly serve its customers.

Easy and improved access to data is critical to the growth of financial services. Delayed access leads to firms accessing outdated data, leading to inaccuracies. 

Worse still, business leaders are forced to rely on assumptions – due to lack of relevant data – and compromise on the accuracy of information, adversely impacting decisions.

Kenneth Kuek, country lead at InterSystems said digital transformation and technology adoption in the APAC financial services sector is still in the incremental stage. 

However, it is encouraging to see that financial institutions are focused towards meeting changing customer demands by leveraging on tech. Overcoming their data management challenges will be the key to financial services providers’ success in the coming years.

“The challenges largely stem from overly complex data infrastructures, implemented with a disjointed set of technologies and applications,” said Kuek. “This leads to silos that make it difficult to obtain information and insights in a timely manner, and in a way that is easy to interpret and share.”

The study suggests there may also be a disconnect with how financial services organisations perceive themselves versus actual practice in data management, as 60% said they are keeping pace with the rest of the industry in data management. 

However, 46% responded that their organisations have a range of one to 24 data and applications silos, and 33% said that their data used for decision-making is at least one to three days old.

Kuek said that in order to address data silo issues and getting up-to-date data, architectural approaches like data fabrics can speed up and simplify access to disparate data across the organisation by providing an integrated source of information. 

“When the concept of a data fabric was explained, 79% of the respondents across APAC said they would consider implementing one,” he said.

A data fabric accesses, transforms, and harmonises data from multiple sources, on demand, to make it usable and actionable for a wide variety of initiatives. 

Hence, organisations gain more accurate, current, and comprehensive information while maximising the value from their previous technology investments. 

Besides data fabrics, financial services organisations can consider other next-generation solutions to manage their data effectively such as analytics tools, AI and machine learning platforms, and cloud-first data platforms among others.