Staff had to be sent to work remotely while customer demands needed to shift from face to face to virtual channels. Digital innovation has been very much at the heart of this transition, and a significant proportion of this has been focused on increased use of cloud platforms and services.

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According to a survey by consulting firm Accenture, more than half of respondents in the retail banking industry believe cloud technologies have the biggest impact on improving operational efficiency, and 40 per cent believe that it can also generate business value for the industry. The data cloud can provide the foundation on which companies build a technology stack that delivers business agility and growth.

Improving customer experiences

One of the ways the cloud can help improve customer experiences is by giving companies the opportunity to house all their various types of data in one secure place. This then enables them to personalise customer services. Organisations can also gain a 360-degree view of customer behaviours and preferences from multiple inputs.

Having such full customer views is fundamental for a successful personalisation strategy as it enables organisations to pinpoint high-value customers and ensure they have a good experience at every touchpoint. Without real-time visibility into customer interactions, providing the best possible customer experience just isn’t possible.

Over time, digital banking platforms will evolve to incorporate predictive models to drive even more personalised banking behaviours. This will only be achievable for organisations that successfully tap into the data cloud, as the success of such models will require support from ever-increasing volumes and access to datasets, both within and external to an organisation.

Improving the visibility of data

To ensure financial firms can continue to deliver the best possible customer experiences, and adapt to any demands posed by the pandemic, having an acute awareness of all data available will be key for these insights.

The best strategy is to adopt a cloud data platform that offers the 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, and get near real-time insights across the business ecosystem on how this is operating. Offering a stand-alone data product to data consumers can lead to substantial revenue.

A suitable cloud data platform can also reduce the manual effort and copying that are 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.

Better collaboration

The rapid development of digital-first banks, the increased availability of online services, and the ongoing growth of mobile banking are changing the way customers interact with their chosen institution.

To better meet these demands, financial organisations will see big benefits in collaborating with other firms through real-time access to data. For instance, if a customer is using a third-party fintech to track their finances, a financial institution must share data with that fintech organisation so their customers can access their accounts.

Financial institutions that do not take steps to improve the accessibility of its data risk frustrating their customers or losing them to a more agile and collaborative financial institution.

With fully governed, secure data sharing, companies can also easily determine who sees what and ensure all business units and business partners access a single and secure copy of their data. Not only does this enhance efficiency, but centralising data into a single source of truth, rather than in separate locations, will boost data security.

It’s clear that there are some significant trends that will continue to reshape the financial sector in coming years. By making the most of data and cloud platforms, innovative firms will be best placed to take advantage of new opportunities as they appear.

Peter O'Connor, vice-president – sales, Asia Pacific, Snowflake