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Digital banking Updated: 14 Sep 2018

People, data and the evolution of business

One of the recurring themes at this year’s Money 20/20 Europe conference was undoubtedly the power good data has to help businesses evolve.

For BBVA, this topic runs deeply through the heart of the organization, as it transforms into a truly digital company.

The challenge, and indeed the opportunity this kind of data brings, is huge.

But as BBVA has found out, it only works effectively if you have the tools and lenses in place to properly analyze data sets, and more importantly, develop actionable outputs off the back of them.

This was one of the elements BBVA looked at in detail at this year’s conference, held in the Dutch city of Amsterdam.

One of those fronting the debate was BBVA’s Global Head of Customer Solutions, Derek White, who was joined on stage by Domo founder and CEO, Josh James.

James kicked off by describing how the concept for Domo, a data analytics platform that connects businesses with the data they generate, began. James explained how he was looking at a feed from his Facebook page, and wondered why it was that business executives were not able to access their own business data in the same way - in real time and around things they were interested in.

"Data always needed to follow the rules of fairness, transparency, diversity and interpretability"

“It was obvious” he said: “That if you could have all your business data with you, in your pocket, on your phone, when and where you wanted it, that you could see problems or opportunities coming down the line long before they reached a critical point.”

For White, whose role is also to run BBVA’s product creation and implementation unit, this real time ability to scour the company’s raw data streams and turn them into meaningful, and actionable, insights, is key to the business’ success.

He added: “If you look at what larger, established, tech companies are doing, it is exactly this. Building single use platforms, that generate data in a way that is ubiquitous and usable - that’s one of the biggest challenges for the banking sector if it really wants to take on the big tech companies.”

The '1, 2, 3' system

White went on to discuss what he outlined as the 1,2,3 system and how it will help define the future banking model. For him 1 is the customer, and for the customer one of the main things that ties up their time and causes them ‘pain’ is thinking about money or whether their money or their data is working effectively for them.

Solving this was a primary role for banks both now and increasingly in the future as digital and conventional banking combine and customers, rightly, demand more from both those asset classes.

Two, he added, was that there were really only two operating models for banking in the future. Either human assisted - where a colleague helps with advice and completion of a task, especially the more complicated, and perhaps especially also for corporate clients - or more importantly Do It Yourself (DIY).

For him DIY was absolutely the future, because it enables people to bank where, how and when they like. It also allows for speed and efficiency and greater customer engagement - noting that BBVA’s digital sales had leap from 16% to 37% in just two years because more products and services were available DIY.

Turning to 3, he said it was about who were the people involved in banking that make decisions. Firstly, customers making decisions about themselves, secondly, clients, making decisions on behalf of someone else - their business, lastly colleagues, making decisions for the company and - with consent - customers and clients too.

Where does data management fit into this? It’s because the data that allows us to understand who is making decisions, also allow businesses to better understand where and how they can help their customers, and as James said - if that is in real time, allows companies to get ahead of the curve before they start failing to meet targets or KPIs.

Which is exactly how BBVA's Head of Data Analytics, Elena Alfaro, described it in her session on bringing data to life and responsible usage.

Describing the impact data can and should have, Alfaro said for her, data always needed to follow the rules of fairness, transparency, diversity and interpretability.

Getting this right, she added, meant that as a business you could ensure you created a sustainable data-driven business, that served its customers and clients, brought about brand advocacy, and most important secured its future.