5 Business Value Drivers to Optimize Your Data Warehouse Investment

Data warehouses can yield a tremendous ROI for organizations that leverage them properly. However, many financial institutions that invest in a data warehouse are not maximizing the potential business outcomes that will drive a positive return on investment.

The amount of stored data and exceeding interest in data analytics has resulted in the growing popularity of data warehousing solutions and analytics platforms. Over the years we have seen that as data management and analysis needs have skyrocketed, the market has introduced data warehouse solutions to address the evolving data centralization and storage dilemma. Well-built data warehouses offer the ability to store vast amounts of data and deliver fast results that a traditional database could not compete against.

As credit unions move away from the traditional database to a data warehouse, whether it is built, purchased, or in the cloud, it’s essential to use the data warehouse strategically to optimize all the potential value it promises.

If your credit union has invested in or is considering purchasing a data warehouse solution, are you leveraging its full value?

Here’s a quick Q&A on value drivers to get you started:

Value Driver #1: Are you gaining faster insights and better decision making?

The goal of a data warehouse is to help answer business questions faster.

In what once took days, can now take seconds. This provides management the ability to make clearer and more accurate decisions regarding the credit union’s members, products, services, branches and so much more. A data warehouse allows the credit union to analyze their data effectively as well as trust it! It creates accuracy, dependably and democratizing data so that more than just the purely technical employees can access it— your team can use and benefit from the insights gleaned from running data queries. This avoids bottlenecks and allows management to make decisions based on pure, clean, data—not on gut instincts.

The data warehouse provides a way to mine, refine, and harvest actionable insights faster – increasing the amount of time available to realize the benefits from those insights. The best data warehouses allow you to gather and analyze various types of data from diverse sources and not only collect and convert that data, but turn it into action plans that drive business decisions for the organization.

Value Driver #2: Are your business units/departments aligned and embracing the benefits of the data warehouse?

Each line of business in your organization (e.g. sales, marketing, lending, product management), and third-party tools should have a centralized data warehouse.  Your data warehouse should not limit data access or produce silos of data. Data remains centrally stored and can be accessed through any warehouse, as long as the user has the necessary permissions.

Most credit unions operate hundreds of disparate application systems.  Individual departments in an organization often focus on their own narrow system and information needs and don’t see the corporate value of integrating data.  A data warehouse helps breakdown those silos of disparate data so your data doesn’t get out of sync.  Best-in-class data warehousing technology will enable better department alignment, a single version of truth that ensures clean and accurate data management that everyone can rally around.  All this leads to more informed managers, making data driven, objective decisions – for which you’ll see the results to your credit union’s business outcomes.

Value Driver #3:  Is the data warehouse automating data collection and scaling with your credit union?

The best data warehouse solution should provide automated end-to-end data management—from initial data collection to analysis and reporting.

Your organization’s data assets will continue to increase, therefore, a data warehouse is one of the best available tools for managing data growth by enabling archival, aggregation and analysis of data from many different data sources. Whether an in-house or cloud-based solution, data warehouses can be highly scalable solutions. Having scalability to meet business needs is an important value driver to take advantage of as it will allow your organization to automatically scale to support any increase in data, workload, and concurrent users and applications without the need for data movement or expensive upgrades down the road.

Value Driver #4:  Are you utilizing powerful visualization tools?

A data warehouse makes it easier to work with popular visualizations tools like Power BI or Tableau. This enables non-technical users to quickly build insightful visualizations and dashboards to highlight critical information in an appealing fashion.  These tools can be used for advanced analytics output as well as traditional operational reports.

Value Driver #5:  Are you easily integrating key non-core data sources within your data warehouse?

With the increasing volume of information collected through a variety of channels, credit unions need a single interface where data is collected and stored – integrating data from common non-core applications such as loan origination systems, third-party servicers, credit and debit card processors, GL systems, and much more.

The right data warehousing solutions allow you to easily combine data from multiple sources to create a unified, single view of the data.  The ultimate goal is to provide users with consistent access and delivery of data across the entire credit union.  Data integration benefits everything from business intelligence and member segmentation to data governance and real time information delivery. Data warehouses can help bring disparate datasets together to further increase the value of your information.

Are you ready to drive greater business value? Getting the most out of your data warehouse means making smarter, quicker business decisions.

If your credit union is embarking on a business intelligence journey, or already down the path and looking to increase ROI of your data analytics investments with a powerful data warehouse, learn more about VeriCU data warehouse platform created by the Knowlton Group.  You could be up and running in 72 hours driving value data insights right away.


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By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard the terms “artificial intelligence” and “machine learning”.  If you haven’t already, take a quick read of our previous article where we explain the basics of machine learning.

Today, banks and credit unions are learning how to use the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to boost customer engagement, decrease costs, improve revenue, and pin-point fraud. AI is poised to truly revolutionize the way financial institutions gather information, harness data and interact with customers and members.

So, what exactly is AI?

AI all started out as science fiction: computers that can talk and think like humans.  Industry experts use the term artificial intelligence as an umbrella term that includes multiple technologies, such as machine learning, deep learning, and computer vision.  AI is the general field that covers everything that has anything to do with programming machines with “intelligence,” with the goal of emulating a human’s unique reasoning ability.  Think of AI as developing computer systems to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, translation between languages, and much more.

Uses Cases and The Power of AI

From Google’s development of the driverless cars to Skype’s launch of real-time voice translation, AI is now becoming an everyday reality that is changing aspects of our lives. To give you a better idea of how AI is becoming more prevalent and how it’s evolved, here’s a short list of popular AI use cases and some applications FI’s are widely embracing today:

Voice enabled assistants. Did you know the first tool enabled to perform digital speech recognition was the IBM Shoebox, presented at the 1962 World’s Fair? Today, everyone is familiar with voice assistants and other smart device voice technologies. As more and more people gain familiarity with voice assistance to quickly gather information, we will be seeing an increase in acceptance of and a rise in the demand for other applications that rely on voice enabled technology.  From healthcare to driving directions to workspace operations, this form of AI can make a significant impact on how businesses operate.

Financial services are a high-profile industry for voice assistance. In December 2017, Jack Henry’s Symitar® division introduced voice-enabled financial transactions to Amazon® Alexa®  through its Financial Innovations Voice Experience (FIVE) solution. Consumers can simply speak to Alexa to conduct a wide variety of transactions such as: check account balances, transfer funds, make payments, get loan payoff amounts, cancel payment cards, and more.

Smart Assistants: Smart assistants and home robots like Aido have come into the domestic scene. From assisted healthcare to automated customer service, consumers are experiencing the power of smart machines all the time. Even the Drone technology has been re-designed to accomplish tasks for you autonomously by a command on your smart phone.

The capabilities and usage of smart assistants is expanding rapidly, with new products entering the market. An online poll found the most widely used in the US were Apple’s Siri (34%), Google Assistant (19%), Amazon Alexa (6%), and Microsoft Cortana (4%).

Marketing Automation: Retailers and big brands are investing in the power of AI to further personalize and customize marketing emails based on customer preferences and behavior to engage them more and to prompt consumers to make a purchase. AI tools and software allow companies to send customized email newsletters based on previous interactions recipients have had with content to create a richer, more engaging brand image.

Risk Management: Fraud detection and risk management is an imperative focus for banks and credit unions. That’s why AI is being applied to fraud mitigation technology at a rapid pace. Through AI and algorithms, financial institutions are more effectively mining data to uncover suspicious activity and meaningful patterns, which then translates to information used to detect, spot, and mitigate fraud. Using AI to identify accounts, customers or transactions, for instance, that have unusual characteristics can expedite warning signs of abnormalities and verify suspicious activity that fraud is taking place.

Analytic Tools: Financial institutions realize they have a head start with the application of AI, since they have large data sets and experience with analytical tools.  Improving the customer experience is one of the greatest use cases for banks and credit unions since AI and advanced data analytics provides the opportunity for improved and faster decision making by deriving deep and actionable insights (e.g. customer behavior patterns). Some of these interactions will be with new voice or chatbot technology, while other applications will be behind the scenes, supporting marketing communication.

The use cases of AI are limitless—especially for financial institutions. AI helps us open our minds to how machines can help perform task more efficient and more accurate, while delivering greater overall results.

By partnering with right data analytic professionals, the power of AI and the insights it leads to can be realized faster, ultimately determining the financial institutions’ competitive differentiation in the future. If you have questions regarding AI or machine learning, contact The Knowlton Group today.


Financial Brand:  How FI are Turing AI into ROI. Sept. 2017

USA Today: June 5, 2017: Apple Unveils $349 HomePod to bring voice to home audio

Dataversity: AI overview May 2017
Internet of Things: Tech Target