This is a sponsored post from Tim Fitzgerald, EMEA Financial Services Sales Manager, InterSystems.
Innovation undoubtably will help firms keep up with market volatility, changing customer demands, and the competition – not just today, but in the future. This is reflected in the thoughts of financial services leaders themselves as almost three-quarters (73%) believe innovation is vital to their survival as a business. Yet, despite widespread recognition of the critical nature of innovation, financial services firms are facing difficulties in successfully executing their innovation initiatives.
In particular, firms cite skills gaps and integrating disparate data sets as significant barriers to innovation. With the uncertainty and upheaval of the last few years showing no signs of slowing down as we head into 2023, finding ways to better leverage their people and data to further innovation, therefore, must be front of mind.
Obtaining a 360-degree view
Data has a vital role to play in innovation initiatives. Being able to access and use accurate, real-time data from all business units to obtain a holistic 360-degree view of the enterprise and its customers will enable firms to better identify and respond to growth opportunities, address challenges in an agile manner, and make more informed, in the moment decisions. This requires firms to address the data integration challenges they are currently facing and connect their myriad data and application silos.
One way of doing this is by adopting a smart data fabric which accesses, transforms, and harmonizes data from multiple sources, on demand, to make it usable and actionable for a wide variety of business applications. Ideal for complex data environments, the smart data fabric eliminates delays which lead to errors, missed opportunities, and decisions based on stale or incomplete data.
This approach allows existing legacy applications and data to remain in place, thereby enabling firms to maximize the value from their previous technology investments, including existing data lakes and data warehouses, without having to “rip-and-replace” any of their existing technology.
By obtaining this instant insight into their organization and customers, financial services firms will be able to make better, more accurate decisions to drive innovation, improve customer experiences, and get ahead of the curve.
Power to the people
Implementing new technology alone is not enough to help firms overcome the barriers that are currently standing in the way of successful innovation. People also have a significant part to play in innovation initiatives, so giving them the capabilities to conquer current skills gaps and to use data effectively to drive innovation are also key. Firms can achieve this by implementing a holistic innovation strategy which brings together all the critical elements required for successful innovation – people, processes, and technology – and identifies how to empower business users with data.
By putting data directly into the hands of business users, firms will be able to mitigate some of the impacts of skills gaps and help people to actively contribute to innovation initiatives. Self-service analytics capabilities embedded within smart data fabrics will provide immense value here. These capabilities will enable business users to freely explore the data, ask ad hoc questions, and drill down via additional queries based on initial findings.
In doing so, not only will firms be able to leverage their data more fully, but also they will be able to mitigate the impact of skills gaps by empowering employees to read and interpret data and make the data-driven decisions needed for successful innovation. This also will reduce reliance on IT teams to surface and interpret data, while avoiding the need for business users to learn a whole host of new skills and tools.
New year, new approach
As firms look to 2023, likely with a mix of excitement and trepidation about what the year may bring, ensuring they address the barriers currently standing in the way of innovation success is essential to help them respond to whatever comes next. By addressing issues with data integration and skills gaps head on, financial services organizations will be able to make more effective use of both their data and people to drive forward innovation initiatives.
Arming themselves with a clear innovation strategy and a team of empowered and data-enabled employees will give firms the capabilities overcome any challenges that may arise, but also critically, to grow their offering, future-proof their organization, and meet changing customer demand. Ultimately, adopting this approach will help firms to set themselves up for long-term innovation success, not just for 2023, but beyond.