Why Is Data Warehousing Important to the Banking Industry?

Article excerpt

John Beran

Chief information officer

Comerica Inc. Detroit

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To be competitive in this rapidly changing banking industry, many financial services organizations are focusing on getting the ability to quickly shift business directions while maintaining exceptional customer service.

To do this effectively requires easy access to huge amounts of integrated customer data and its subsequent analysis.

Previously in our industry, this data often was locked up in aging applications developed around product requirements instead of customer needs. Today, data warehousing is the structure that allows us to integrate data and to quickly perform the extensive business analysis required for nimble decision making.

It also plays a vital role in customer service and relationship management.

With data warehousing, we can turn raw data into strategic information about customers, their product preferences, and the appropriate distribution channels to reach them.

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Glenn Santmire

President, worldwide financial

Unisys Corp. Blue Bell, Pa.

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Data warehousing is crucial to the banking industry today, and will grow in importance exponentially for the foreseeable future. Banks are now - and will continue to be - as much in the business of managing information as of managing money.

Increasingly, a bank's success or failure in meeting its strategic objectives will hinge on its ability to capitalize on information resources that help it reach new markets in new ways.

The data warehouse is the linchpin in this process. It's the crucial point where raw transactional history and behavioral data about customers can be collected, analyzed, and turned into information that yields insights into how the customers prefer to bank and helps the bank determine how to satisfy those preferences in the future.

Groups analyzed and targeted through this information discovery process can vary from the entire customer base to limited affinity groups to individual "segments of one."

This process of information discovery enables banks to create and target new products and services more accurately and profitably than with conventional "shotgun" marketing approaches. The bank can also link the data warehouse to retail delivery systems to sell tailored products and services at any point of customer contact, whether teller station, customer service desk, telephone service center, or other channel. For example, a bank marketing debit cards can identify and target affluent homeowners with a demonstrated preference for convenience and electronic purchasing, flagging these highly qualified candidates to branch and telephone center personnel who can pitch them on the new service. …