Prepare to make meaningful insights from messy data


The world of data within financial services is about to become “messy”, according to Prashant Argawal, Director of Edge (Group Innovation) at AIA.

Speaking as part of a panel discussion at FST Media’s banking conference in Singapore, Argawal explained, “The reality is  a large but messy data set can reveal a lot more and be a lot more helpful than a pure but very small data set.”

Argawal also suggested that financial services organisations need to make their big data small, “we have a lot of information about our customers, a lot of data typically scattered across multiple systems, but how do we really bring it all together in a manner that is going to impact our customer? How do we make it small enough to make it a part of their everyday lives?” He said.

Also participating on the panel, Oscar Carillo, Chief Operating Officer at Zurich Financial, added that new regulation was an issue in organising the data, “I have a lot of personal data, and unfortunately the regulator is very specific about how I can use that data and where I can move that data.”

While most participants on the panel suggested problems arose out of what to do with vast amounts of data, Matthias de Ferrieres, Regional Senior Director of AXA disagreed, saying their biggest problem was in collecting data that is lean and usable to the business for segmentation, up-selling and cross-selling opportunities.

He added, “We are already collecting data but the truth is, we are not collecting the right data to move to the next step, which is analysing, understanding customer behaviour, and translating findings into products. Most of the data we collect is obsolete in the world of big data."

“The second problem is that our companies are focusing on protecting our business-as-usual, which makes us ultra-protective and scared of any new data collection initiative  – our distribution channels are data selfish – such obsession does not give us the opportunity  to focus on new and useful data collection."