In Part 1 of “Delving into data”, we highlighted two resources that are available to financial service providers (FSPs) who are keen to increase the extent to which they use data to inform decision-making and enable financial inclusion. The two handbooks suggested the types of questions you should answer when you develop a data strategy or before you set up a new data project. 

In “Delving into data” Part 2, we provide links to several other articles or reports that include data-related insights. For the most part, the articles listed below are not designed as handbooks, nor do they target FSPs specifically. They do, however, contain useful advice from those with experience in trying to unlock the potential of data. Note that the advice highlighted below does not constitute a summary of the hyperlinked article or report.

These recommendations for ensuring that a strategic focus on data will produce actionable insights for your organisation include, among others:

  • Determine whether an offensive or defensive data strategy is suitable for your organisation (or more accurately whether your strategy should be weighted more heavily to one or the other, as it may incorporate elements of both positions). Project managers or data officers can use the “Assess Your Strategy Position” tool, which is embedded in the Harvard Business Review article. 
  • Make five choices that can help you navigate how to successfully embed data science capacity within the organisation. This EY white paper suggests that there is no right or wrong options, as it depends not only on what you are hoping to achieve but also the “life stage” of the organisation. 
  • Consider a variety of data sources, as different types of information may be required to provide a deeper understanding of a market, customer segment or business problem in certain instances. Some of the most useful information could come from outside your industry sector. 
  • Leverage the experience of your (non-data) business units or team members and ensure that data analytics is not confined to the data or IT team. In The Hard Problem of Data Analytics in Africa, Jeff Fletcher suggests that “It is critical to have someone on board in a Big Data project who knows enough about the data that is being analysed, and also enough about the subject being studied, that they can look at part of a result and say ‘Yes, that seems right’. Or ‘Yes, it’s right, but it’s not really useful’. Or they can give the most import feedback you need: ‘That’s definitely not right!’”
    In an interesting article on using an agile approach to using data, McKinsey implicitly suggests that reorganisation of the office may be required so that representatives from the IT and business arms of the organisation sit together. 
  • Understand that having the data is not as important as knowing what to do with it. A survey of executives showed that “many large enterprises throughout the world still struggle to achieve the promise of today’s analytics capabilities. The survey of more than 1,500 global executives found that fundamental problems arise at the crucial points between the steps organisations take as they move from identifying new business opportunities, acting on insights and then measuring the outcomes of their data-driven strategies.”

We will share external content on a regular basis. Please let know what you would find useful (specific topics or types of content) in your role in the financial sector. 

Please note that sharing links to publications that are not authored by i2i does not constitute official endorsement of the content contained in those links.