Researchers say the so called Big Bang was at the origin of everything: time, space, eventually, life. Replacing one letter in the word Bang yields the Bank, which has a role as essential in our society as carbon for life. Interestingly the prefix Big makes sense in both cases. In the first, it’s the very name of that famous explosion or whatever it was. In the second, I’m hoping this post will make it clear. So let’s start defining the Big Bank.
Banks have more data about their consumers than companies such as Google, Facebook or Amazon. These companies have revolutionized consumer intelligence, i.e. techniques to have a 360 degree view of the consumer. This is why we love them, as we get a very intimate experience while using their services (think about the personalized product offers). In order to create those offers and show them at the right place and the right time, these companies need a 360 degree view of every consumer. Now let’s consider the bank. It has our credit card purchase history and buying preferences. The question is, if they have this data, why do we still receive completely irrelevant offers, such as a coupon for a shop we rarely visit and that is at least 100 miles away? The answer is simple: Banks have a fragmented view of their consumers. What does this mean?
Several internal data sources. Even worse, several technologies used to store and manage this data. Part of it could be plain text. Part of it XML. Clearly, it is not easy to aggregate such silos and extract meaningful knowledge about the consumer.
External unstructured data. The consumer’s Facebook and Twitter feed and web clickstream data. This is key for understanding their preferences and opinions. If a consumer shares information from an iPad, why recommend him/her the newest Samsung Galaxy? A coupon for an Apple device would make more sense, right? Also, if he/she is a fan of Lady Gaga, a coupon for Rigoletto at the MET would probably not make any sense.
Contextual data. More and more payments will be performed with a mobile device, so called mobile wallets. Thus, the location of the consumer can be retrieved. Remember those coupons we used to get for stores 100 miles away? History!
We have listed only a few challenges banks are facing to get a 360 degree view of their consumers. Big Data technologies are key for building the infrastructures that allows the unification of data silos. Our world is increasingly interconnected and banks should definitely think about leveraging Big Data technologies to gain business insight from the massive amount of data at their disposal. And we have just defined Big Bank.