While many companies recognize the importance of data, they are still coming to grips with the challenges of managing big data, and they run the risk of falling into another problem – technology looking for a solution. As conversations around big data move from IT departments to executive suites, it is critical that organizations focus on the business problems they are trying to solve. Then they can move into a discussion on the best technology response.

Great Western Bank, one of the bright spots in an otherwise difficult era for banks, managed to grow 300 percent since 2008 and has even higher hopes going forward. Great Western is a pioneer in harnessing its data, using big data solutions from Microsoft to get more out of its information and become an analytical enterprise. But the bank didn’t start with Microsoft tools and then go looking for a way to crunch numbers.

Instead, the bank started with the goal of better understanding customer activity to drive more effective interactions and long-term relationships, and was able to eliminate activities that don’t add value. Big data gives Great Western Bank a full view of its customers, analyzing clicks on bank webpages or ads and comparing that activity with the products the customers use to determine whether they are happy or looking for new services. It is critical for Great Western Bank to analyze customer interactions, so they can talk to customers in increasingly effective ways and establish longstanding relationships.

Financial institutions are not new to data. They have been making their living by leveraging information for years, but the volume of data and the potential to do much more with it give a new sense of urgency. Today’s
corporations have the opportunity to create a greater level of granular insight into customers, products, employees and processes.

The massive amount of data generated by consumers across the internet, through social networks and their location-aware devices provides a rich source of intelligence on lifestyle preferences and changes. This allows firms to develop a new level of customer understanding and intimacy, replacing the ‘spray and pray’ marketing model of the past with a more targeted and personalized approach. The new opportunity here for retail banks and credit card businesses is unprecedented.

Check out this white paper on how companies can transform into analytical enterprises by using the right data management strategy to take advantage of all of the information available. Analytical enterprises leverage analytics, visualization and collaboration tools to gain better insight and therefore make better business decisions.