Business Intelligence Strategy Development

One of the pinnacle offerings of The Knowlton Group is our Business Intelligence/Data Strategy development. Many financial institutions know they can do more with their data, but they don’t quite know how or where to start.

Why do I need a business intelligence strategy?

The financial industry yields a wealth of potential as it relates to business intelligence and developing a successful, sustainable data strategy. However, these financial institutions typically do not have the in-house expertise and skills to define and execute a successful business intelligence strategy. Credit unions and banks that are able to successfully develop a sustainable business intelligence strategy are able to gain significant competitive advantages including:

  • Reduce operational and reporting inefficiencies typically resulting in several FTE savings
  • Gain a 360-degree view of the customer due to data centralization and integration
  • Improved understanding of customer demographics and product utilization leading to greater marketing and new product ROI
  • Analytic models improve strategic decision-making based off of data-backed evidence instead of gut feelings
  • Reduce fraud and card breach exposure through transaction-level analysis of credit and debit cards
  • Dashboards and visual representations of data allow for data to be better understood and digested by decision-makers.

While there are many benefits that a business intelligence strategy can deliver, the aforementioned are but a few of the most valuable that credit unions can yield.

Most strategic consultants have the sole ability to provide recommendations as to what path financial institutions should take. Rarely can a strategic consulting engagement provide a turn-key solution; the strategy and roadmap can be defined while also providing the necessary technical skills to implement the recommended solutions.

“Brewster Knowlton is extremely knowledgeable, easy to work with and service oriented. I have worked with Brewster on individual data mining requirements. He seeks to understand needs and intended uses of the data requested and then provides solutions, advice and alternatives based on his expertise and understanding of the project requirements”

-David J Gosstola CPA, MBA executive at a Top 50 Credit Union

Reporting Process Automation

Ask yourself this question: Is there a business process that you know that should be automated that hasn’t been? A business process that requires several FTEs to complete when you feel there must be a simpler way? Almost invariably the answer is yes. Whether it is a manual lookup of details, consolidation of multiple Excel files, or some other redundant, mundane, time-consuming task The Knowlton Group can help develop automated solutions for your business.

Take the example of a credit union with a slow, bulky lien release process. With no data warehouse in place and no queryable access to the transactional database, they were forced to run slow, un-formatted reports out of their source system; manually scrubbing them just so they can be brought into an Excel worksheet. From there, they needed to append additional member details so that the file could be mail-merged later on. After all the previous steps had been completed, an individual would have to manually check details for each member on the list to validate a certain set of criteria. This process would take, on average, 30 hours per week. To reiterate: a single person spent 75% of their time on this one simple process. Prior to this credit union’s data warehouse in place, a custom macro application was set up to reduce this process time by 50%. After the data warehouse was in production, the time required to complete this process was cut by another 50% – dropping a 30 hour per week task to roughly 8 hours per week.

Simple solutions to these everyday tasks can yield a significant return on investment. The FTE savings can allow employees to complete more meaningful tasks without being dragged down by time-consuming trivial responsibilities. These business process solutions are a key opportunity for your organization to yield a tremendous ROI for your overall business intelligence initiatives. The Knowlton Group possesses the technical skill set and business process knowledge to provide immediately effective solutions.

“Brewster is a highly functioning individual–socially and intellectually. He quickly applied his math skills into the business world of marketing and sales management, from forecasting a previously un-forecastable segment of our business to generating reports that informed us of our most fertile end user customer segments.

To say he is a ‘quick study’ is an understatement, and it’s near impossible to articulate how versatile and quick he is on the job. I can give him 10% of the instruction/guidance that I would give most other employees, and he does 300% more than what I asked of him, in 1/10th of the time it should take. I don’t know how he does it, but he does. I would truly endorse him with full confidence for any task/opportunity that you put in front of him. It was a true pleasure managing him, and would love to be able to hire him again on a more ongoing basis.

-Brian Mauriello, VP of Sales at Kinsley Power Systems

SQL Training

The Knowlton Group offers customized T-SQL training for organizations looking to build the necessary database querying skills for their employees. With the growing emphasis on business intelligence and analytics, understanding the foundation of querying a database is essential before using advanced business intelligence and reporting tools such as Qlikview or Tableau.

Training will be tailored to the goals of your organization and the experience level of the students participating in the training. Practice problems will be designed to allow your employees to immediately solve business problems with the use of their newly developed skills.

If you are interested in getting more information about SQL training opportunities with The Knowlton Group, contact

“I have had the opportunity to work closely with Brewster Knowlton over the past 2 years. Brewster has been working at our facility as a contract technical resource. More specifically, Brewster has provided our facility with high quality SQL Server expertise. Brewster’s technical expertise, enthusiasm, professional demeanor and strong work ethic are to be commended.

Recently, Brewster provided an excellent, week long SQL Server training session to staff members from several different departments within our organization. All attendees to this training were very impressed at the comprehensive and well organized approach Brewster took when he provided the course content.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Brewster is a very personable individual who is a pleasure to work with. I would highly recommend Brewster to any organization that is looking to engage a technically competent, high energy resource. Brewster has my highest recommendation.”

-John Goodman, Applications Analyst at Saratoga Hospital

Data Warehouse Solutions

Most operational databases underlying the many applications that power businesses today are not designed to handle business intelligence endeavors effectively. The presence of a growing number of third-party applications implies an increase in data decentralization. Growth in decentralization makes it more challenging for organizations to efficiently analyze metrics cross-functionally. Exporting reports from one system to compare to reports gathered from another system is an archaic and cumbersome process. With low velocity in data analysis, organizations cannot expect to gather the necessary data and make a data-driven decision in a short window of opportunity.

All of the issues described above can be mitigated with an effectively delivered data warehouse or collection of data marts. A business intelligence solution is most effective with a data warehouse at its core. Centralization of data, the ability to analyze historical trends, improved reporting, faster data analysis and a plethora of other benefits define the many successes a data warehouse yields. Whether your organization is looking to develop a full enterprise data warehouse or a smaller, functionally-focused data mart, The Knowlton Group can provide you with a custom data warehousing solution for your company.