Why financial services should strive for data independence

Data Independence in Financial Services
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Data is a hot topic. And yes, people have been saying that for years. So it’s nothing new.


But, innovation in financial software and financial data services is at an all-time high. Which means you probably have more data sources that you’ve ever had before. More resources. More partnerships. And more systems.


The data risks

Accessing all these different systems and different data sources gives you an advantage. But it also poses a risk. Hot topic reason number one.


Meanwhile, data transformation projects that were put on hold during the pandemic might be back on the agenda, you’re constantly worrying about a data outage which would affect Business As Usual, and the FCA are pushing for greater transparency and reporting. Hot topic reasons 2, 3 and 4.


All of which means getting control of your data and protecting your business from data-related risk, is pretty important right now. The good news is it's never been easier to do it and there are some incredible tools on the market. The bad news is that to extract maximum value, your data needs to be flexible and available.


Enter the holy grail of data independence.  


The data struggle


In financial services, the vast quantity of data you consume is critical to the outcomes you achieve for clients. And yet, much of this data comes from reports… reports which are connected to 3rd party data files and formats… files and formats which are associated with platforms, providers and systems that are outside of your control.


The data struggle is real:


X     Inflexible, siloed data

X     Reliance on 3rd party data files and formats

X     Fragmented datastorage

X     Poorly structured data

X     The risk of broken reports


And if you’re thinking about changing systems or embarking on a data transformation project, you don’t want to lose any historical data, because enriching old data with new data sources gives you more leverage.


Your goal? Data that is fully flexible and available. Which means you need to own it.  

The holy grail of data independence

To have data that is flexible and available is to own it. And to own your data means you need to strive for data independence.


So how do you go about achieving data independence in a world of data dependencies? The key is to get the foundations right. So here are 2 actions you can take today to get your data transformation project off to a great start:


Think data transformation. Not software.

Data transformation and data independence projects are often positioned as software projects. Put simply; they’re not. A data transformation project is, funnily enough, a data project. So position it as a data project and try to avoid reading those well-publicised technology transformation horror stories, which have very little to do with data.


Partner up

If you don’t have data transformation skills in house, you’ll need a partner. And you should insist on getting business value from day one.  


But if you don’t already have a partner in place, this alone can be enough to stop you starting. You want to get going but you also need to manage risk which means you need someone you trust to move the dial straight away.


Pick a partner before you start to plan. You don’t know what you don’t know, so involving a partner right from the start gives you experience in your corner.


Do your due diligence and research; ask about previous mistakes and how they dealt with problems, ask for case studies and references and consider whether this partnership could work long-term.


Finally, ask to speak to at least 3 of a potential partner’s customers, including one that experienced problems.


Data is a hot topic. But data independence is hotter. Because if you want to squeeze the most value out of your data and avoid all of those report-breaking risks, you need to take ownership of your data just like you take ownership of your customer investments.


Ready to kick-start your data transformation project?


Book a 30 minute Clarity Call with one of our data specialists with expertise specifically in financial services.

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