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Cloud-Based Analytics and Business Intelligence for Risk and Finance Advancement
Dimitar DILOV, Chief Risk Officer, Member of the Management Board, Raiffeisen Bank International AG
From the 2007 financial crisis, it was concluded that bank information systems and data architecture were inadequate to support prompt decisions on the management of financial risks. Since then, a lot has changed in terms of technology advancement, but also data requirements from regulators, clients, and internal users have amplified. To enable an efficient data-based decision-making process on the verge of a new financial crisis, it is even more important to ensure an adequate data infrastructure.
In my writing, I focus on the way how cloud-based Analytics and Business Intelligence (ABI) platforms could be used to enable a better internal decision-making process. It will not be focused on the platform available on the market, but more on the principles for choosing one and sharing my experience.
ABI platforms could be defined as software that can act as an operating system capable to process complex and sizable data from diverse sources whose outcome can be shared easily across the entire organization by providing actionable data insights enabling proper, ahead-of-the-curve making decisions.
Why is it important to consider a cloud-based ABI platform? There are a few reasons for that-
1) data is everywhere, but more convoluted and sizable so it requires computing capacity to be processed adequately,
2) a systematic approach to decision-making would allow all relevant stakeholders to use a ‘single-source-of-truth’ environment,
3) timely and hassle-free decision-making process would enhance business-continuity,
4) focus on the outcome of data usage and decision, instead of data itself.
In our work, Banking Risk management, we deal with many different stakeholders – regulators, internal and external partners and as such it is required to use most aggregated to a very granular type of data, based on which we take decisions or advice decision-makers.
At the same time, data increases its size and complexity which is time-consuming to clean, structure, process, and transmit into a useful business decision-making outcome. Moreover, the time to react to specific events or proactively take action on data becomes shorter and shorter. To overcome these challenges, we looked for a cloud-based ABI which would enable the following-
• Accessibility. It is critical to have access from everywhere and all business type of devices based on pre-defined user and access rights to respective users i.e., the way how information is shared and promoted.
• Sharable. To make our findings and analysis accessible to others, we need a solution that will allow sharing with our existing communication solutions or a solution that has its own communication platform.
• Integrability. It must be easy that the platform can be integrated into the existing or future, targeted data, and communication environment
• Scalability. A platform that enables constant advancement of created solutions and increases or decreases their performance in response to usage is scalable. Furthermore, from a business point of view for us, it is important when someone creates a useful data model or data storytelling so that it can be further re-used and developed by others.
• Actionable. Static data, known as reporting, was something that we had anyway. However, we were looking for a solution that could enable data to provoke action with respective stakeholders. These actions could be follow-ups, action plans to comply with defined thresholds, or simply to congratulate someone for good results.
• Little or no support from IT departments is a must so we do not depend on tech departments to perform our analytical work. Embedded automated insights, data catalogs, and automated refreshes reduce the engagement of IT departments.
Using Cloud-based ABI platforms we have managed to increase our competitive advantages by improving our efficiency in analytics which drive business decisions and actions using the priceless synergy among technology, people, and processes.
• Flexibility to work on-premises and in the Cloud, considering increasing Cyber security concerns and potential change of strategy, from Cloud to on-Prem, and vice versa. ABI supports the development, deployment, and managing of analytical solutions in the Cloud based on data born on-prem and in the Cloud. Claud agnostic ABIs should be preferred.
• Secure and auditable. These structured capabilities enable easier administration, auditing, and authentication.
What I like about these platforms, however, in addition to the above-mentioned, is the fact that we could start small in a close circle of supporters to make sure the system is right for us, and gradually roll it out to other units and tasks. Many of the platforms allow an agile concept of development and implementation, which our team has enjoyed as far as they have seen immediate tangible results from their work. Here we should not underestimate the learning path as the users gradually learn, not only about technology but also about what could they do with our data. To have entire bank risk-related results, which are complex and sizable, on my mobile devices supports me in my decision-making process. Finally, the enormous connection to various data sources and built-in AI capabilities makes our work much easier and more pleasant.
In a nutshell, by using Cloud-based ABI platforms we have managed to increase our competitive advantages by improving our efficiency in analytics which drive business decisions and actions using the priceless synergy among technology, people, and processes.