How Data Integration Can Maximize Your Business’s Potential
by Aaron Nelson on November 06, 2014
In an increasingly digital age, where Big Data is the buzzword of the day and information itself is a commodity worth billions, businesses frequently turn toward commercial data integration platforms to maximize the efficiency and potential of their databases. Despite advances in technology and the transition to paperless infrastructure, many sectors still rely on outdated paradigms from the days of printed ledgers to wrangle their data. Even if your organization currently implements a solution that utilizes data integration, also known as Enterprise Information Integration (EII), you may not be aware of the ways in which it can simplify your workflow and enhance your relationship with the customer.
What is Data Integration?
In its raw forms, data can be a mess. How many separate file formats do you encounter in a typical day of work? Between spreadsheets, text documents, scans, and images, this disparate data can require unnecessary effort to track down and consolidate into useful information. Data integration is a process that standardizes different definitions and structures of data into one common, easily accessible framework. Many EII’s involve a procedure known as Extract, Transform and Load (ETL), which extracts the relevant information from otherwise incompatible sources, transforms it into a more convenient standardize format and loads it into the final target database where you and your employees can access it.
What Are the Benefits?
An organized, integrated data solution can be a boon to your business in several compelling ways. We’ve already discussed how inconsistent data can be a roadblock to efficiency. After integration and the ETL process, the relevant information is condensed, standardized, and made available for instant observation. Redundant information is merged, freeing up clutter and valuable computer storage space. Less tech-savvy users quickly and easily find what they’re looking for without wasting time and resources scouring several confusing databanks, which in turn eases the workload of your IT department and allows them to focus their efforts on more pressing issues. In the long run, having convenient, quality data directly at your fingertips will enable you to make informed decisions and reduce the risk to your enterprise.
Integrated Data and Financial Services
Integrated data is a science that benefits all types of businesses, from retail stores to investigative agencies, and the financial sector is no exception. Credit risk departments rely on up-to-the-minute customer information to construct their risk models, and the banks and other institutions they deal with often have complex economical hierarchies to aggregate their exposure to various parties and suppliers. As one industry whitepaper observes, a risk management department using an integrated data solution can keep updated on this hierarchy in real time, aggregating their overall exposure in the event of consolidation or other unforeseen circumstances. Text analytics can automatically trawl through raw financial information such as SEC filings and FDIC call reports, allowing the risk management department to construct a real-time model of counter-party exposure. Confidence in your data is key to collections, and integrated data can provide a level of insight that will keep you ahead of the curve.
The Customer Genome
Previously on our blog, we’ve covered ways in which you can maintain and improve the crucial relationship between your business and the customer in the collections process. While it seems like common sense, research has shown time and again that quality customer service is a major factor in the growth of your business. Integrated data can give you a deeper understanding of your customers and help you serve them better.
A recent article by customer experience expert Bob E. Hayes compared the process of data integration to the effort to map the human genome. According to Hayes, “mapping and understanding” the vast diversity of human genes allows healthcare providers to deliver focused drug treatment and accurate risk assessment of genetic disorders. In synthesizing these enormous sets of data, we can move past a “one size fits all” mindset and incorporate a more tailored approach to the needs of the individual. In the same way, keeping your business data in walled off “silos” can prevent you from gaining a full understanding of your customer. Your information is restricted, and your models are underspecified, which leaves with with a less predictive and more error-prone model. “The bottom line,” Hayes writes, “is that you are not able to make the best prediction about your customers because you don’t have all the necessary information about them.” Integrating your data can create a “customer genome,” a fully fleshed-out portrait of your clients’ needs and ways in which your business can better serve them.
At D&S Global Solutions, we pride ourselves on our commitment to our clients and their confidence in us. As a result, we are always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to enhance our customers’ experience. In the financial field, where information is of utmost importance and there is no such thing as “too much data,” an integrated data solution can be the key to maximizing the full potential of your business.