Data management burdens hobble APAC financial services firms

Almost all (98%) financial services firms in the Asia-Pacific region are seeing data and application silos within their organisations while 87% are frustrated trying to use their data to drive decision-making, according to a report from InterSystems.

The study is based on a survey of 176 business leaders within financial services companies — including commercial, investment, and retail banks — from across Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Other major challenges that were identified 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 Delayed access leads to firms accessing outdated data, leading to inaccuracies.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.

“Digital transformation and technology adoption in the APAC financial services sector is still in the incremental stage,” ,” said Kenneth Kuek, Country Lead at InterSystems. “However, it is encouraging to see that financial institutions are focused towards meeting changing customer demands by leveraging on tech. 

Kuek said the challenges largely stem from overly complex data infrastructures, implemented with a disjointed set of technologies and applications. 

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. Three in every five (60%) of organisations responded that 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.

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

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. 

APAC financial services firms cite mastering data management (54%), replacing legacy systems (49%) and gaining access to real-time data to improve decision-making (48%) as their highest technology priorities for the next 12 months in the InterSystems study.