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Posted by rpai in Blogroll on November 11, 2009


Last week I attended Bank of America’s Technology Innovation Summit in Silicon Valley. In attendance were leading technology executives from Bank of America who outlined needs and challenges for the global banking giant. BofA’s annual IT spend is greater than $5 Billion, serving  almost 59 million, or one out of every two U.S. households and distribution strength of about six thousand branches, 18,000 ATMs and 24 million online banking customers, and more than 3,000 customer touches every second. Key themes discussed involved Cloud computing, Information Management, Security, Mobility and Green IT. And as I sat through the panel discussions and spoke to some of the IT leaders, it became evident that underpinning all the major business and IT initiatives for the global bank was a central theme – Lots of data, need for better and faster insights.

A senior BofA IT executive stated “Broad BI and data mining remain objectives, not realized goals�. There was a high level of interest in analytics and a big drive to be information-driven across business units.

Clearly, for a large bank like BofA, the business drivers exist. For example, the consumer channels executive was interested in understanding consumer behavior across different channels. In a saturated marketplace for retail customers and facing stiff competition from Chase (now owns WaMu), Wells Fargo (now owns Wachovia), BofA is keenly interested in strengthening its bond with its existing customer base.  With thousands of interactions per second, every interaction with the customer is an opportunity to learn more about customer behavior and customer preferences.

 In the credit card division, early detection of fraud patterns can translate into big savings for a market that is undergoing dramatic transformation due to reforms mandated by Congress. 

On the IT front, BofA has lots of existing investments in BI tools and data management software.

So where is the gap? Why are BI/data mining unrealized goals?

The answer lies in re-thinking and challenging the status quo in data management and analytic application development in today’s big data IT environments. Google, Amazon, and other innovators are leading this and it is only a matter of time before leaders in the financial services industry follow suit. A new mandate and architecture for big data applications  is emerging.

This new class of analytic applications will require a strategic investment in infrastructure that embraces assimilating advanced analytics processing right next to the terabytes to petabytes of enterprise data for key business initiatives including

  • Customer service effectiveness to predict customer requirements as well as fully understand customer relationships across branch office, ATM, online, and mobile channels
  • Ability to respond faster to regulators or to management and driving decisions based on insights driven from accurate, timely data

Broader, more pervasive BI and richer Analytics is on the threshold of becoming a reality!

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