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Financial services takes big data beyond pilot stage

Brian McKenna

Financial services is tipping over into an embrace of big data, according to a survey. More than half of the respondents to a big data in financial services survey, conducted among delegates registered for a conference in Canary Wharf next week, said they have or are considering a big data strategy.

The Big Data and Analytics for Financial Services conference organisers conducted the survey in partnership with Computer Weekly.

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Risk and operational management emerged as the biggest driver for using big data (58.3%), ahead of customer analytics and achieving real-time data management, on equal pegging at (54.2%).

This contrasts with two other recent big data surveys, which privilege customer analytics: an IBM/Saïd Business School survey in which nearly half the respondents reported customer-centric objectives as their number one priority; and a SearchDataManagementUK survey in which “gaining better customer understanding” was expressed as the main motivation for big data programmes by 50% of respondents.

The financial services big data survey found that 35% of projects are experimental, 45% are in proof-of-concept stage, and 20% are in production. 

This is broadly in line with the pan-industry sectors SearchDataManagement Reader Challenges & Priorities Survey – Europe 2012, which found 8% planning, 12% experimental, and 14% operational with their big data programmes. 

More on big data in financial services

This suggests financial services might be ahead of other sectors.

The financial services survey cited financial constraints as the main barrier to big data programmes (84%), while 52% cited a lack of available skills. A lack of advanced analytics skills emerged as the top bugbear in the IBM/Said Business school survey – only 25% of the 1,144 business and IT professionals from 95 countries and 26 industries who participated in that survey said they had the necessary skills in place to parlay big data programmes into success.

Corporate IT emerged as the strongest owner of IT in the financial services survey, with 63%, compared with 11.1% for marketing and 7.4% for operations. By contrast, business intelligence and analytics figured as half-IT, half-business in terms of ownership in the SerachDataManagementUK survey, though that is a broader category than just big data analytics.

Big data programmes in financial services seem destined for a long life, according to the Big Data and Analytics for Financial Services survey – 13.6% are planning five to ten years ahead, 45.5% two to five years, and 40.9% are envisaging an up to two years’ time span.


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