Technology advances have created an environment where organizations are faced with “big data” – data that is large, complex or collected at such a fast pace that it challenges the capabilities of traditional data management systems.
This has created an environment where organizations are collecting more types and sizes of data than ever before, and now, more than ever, are seeking ways to gain actionable insights from that data. Harnessing big data can be especially helpful to financial institutions.  

Simply put, banks have three things: people, buildings and data. In other industries there are physical items sold. In banking, products are the result of data assembly and calculations - the banks that can best manage their data become the most efficient, best at managing risk and can build the best products for their customers. Data has become the new competitive differentiator.

To stay ahead of the competition, banks are looking for ways to gain insights from data and create new business value. Firms require an analytical and visualization platform to deliver actionable data discovery across the organization to gain insight into many aspect of their business, including customer behavior.

For example, what if a bank could give business customers a platform for building offers and incentives. Then – through the analysis of demographic, social and payments data – the bank sends those targeted offers through mobile channels to its retail banking customers. Those customers create new transactions for the bank’s business customers. In this case, the bank uses big data analytics to create a new value cycle across the bank’s lines of business. That is innovation! It’s also real: Our partner FreedomPay, a mobile payment and incentive company, has developed the Commerce Platform, available first on Windows Phone 8 to provide exclusive mobile incentives, benefiting benefits banks by letting them target consumers based on buying habits and use the app to deliver highly relevant offers.

Microsoft provides the platform to help make this happen. With user visualizations built on Office productivity applications, our business intelligence technology enables the broadest set of users to have access to business analytics tools previously only available to BI professionals. Excel is the most widely-used analytical tool used by information workers today, so we help provide actionable insight on familiar tools, providing banks with incredible opportunities wherever they may be.

We provide powerful customer and product analytics, which enables employees at every level of the organization to get the insight they need, helping them to increase efficiency and profitability, enhance brand perception, and improve customer acquisition, cross-selling and the all-important retention.

Our financial performance analytics provides better analysis and understanding of what impacts costs, revenues and shareholder value. Staff can use the comprehensive set of accounting and financial performance reports at all levels, from strategic, big-picture goals and key performance indicators, to branch and line of business financials.

We also enable financial institutions to get actionable insight they need to manage and estimate risks exposure. Risk management departments today rely heavily on data accuracy and calculation power. By providing easy-to-use data validation solutions, integrated in Excel or SQL Server, we help businesses improve market risk valuation. As more resources are added to the cloud, more calculation is possible. This means enabling better estimates of position and exposure and thus reduction of risk.

Both Credit Suisse Asset Management and Great Western Bank are utilizing our business intelligence platforms to drive great results. Check out our Business Intelligence website for more information on our BI tools and capabilities.

Thanks for reading this week about how Microsoft technology can help innovate the financial services industry. Make sure you visit the Microsoft Business Newsroom for updates on how we are innovating with businesses around the world.