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88% OF FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS IN THE UK ARE UNDER PRESSURE TO MAKE DECISIONS FASTER

79% of these organisations are not confident in their data literacy levels

72% of FSI firms agree shorter decision making cycles will be the new normal after the pandemic

 

88% of financial services organisations have revealed they are under increasing pressure to make decisions faster as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly three quarters (72%) agree that the shorter decision making cycles they are working to will become the new normal, according to a survey of data decision makers, commissioned by high-performance analytics database provider Exasol.

 

Whilst increased pressure to make decisions faster with existing data resources comes with its own set of infrastructure and strategy challenges, as outlined in the report “Financial Services: Decision making in times of uncertainty”, most pressing and concerning is the fact that the majority of financial services organisations in the UK (79%) are not confident in their levels of data literacy.

 

One of the ways in which financial services organisations respond to crises such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is by expanding the number of people with decision-making authority (39%). However, lack of self-service analytics (data democratisation) is hindering data-driven decision-making. When people aren’t confident in their data literacy skills, it is imperative that organisations make it as easy as possible for their business units to consume the data in accessible ways.

“Thanks to Exasol we are a true data-driven business. We wanted to ensure everyone has access to the data they need for their daily work. Not only that, but we wanted it to be available to them in a simple and efficient manner. We are proud to have achieved that,” said Demeter Sztanzo, head of data engineering at Revolut. “Thanks to Exasol’s high-performance, we have reduced the time it takes to crunch data across large datasets that span several sources. This means that queries and reports that used to take hours can be completed in seconds — saving hours across every business department. This enables us to make decisions faster, without sacrificing valuable data insights.”

 

Encouragingly, 88% of respondents to the survey say that action is being taken within their organisations to improve levels of data literacy. This will be crucial for any business looking to accelerate digital, something that has become more relevant than ever in the face of the ongoing crisis. In the financial services sector, an industry that is experiencing disruption from new, digital-native players, competitive advantage will hinge not only on infrastructure –an essential part of the equation– but on digital strategy and culture across the entire organisation.

 

“The financial services sector is one where data volumes are huge due to, amongst other things, the amount of touch-points per customer per day that the industry sees. As we move to a more digital world as part of the lasting legacy of COVID-19, this will expand even further. But financial data can be siloed and difficult to navigate, so defining a data analytics strategy is crucial. Good data governance and a single source of truth are key if FSI organisations are going to adopt a business-wide data-driven culture where every employee is able to use data insights to make faster and better informed business decisions,” comments Helena Schwenk, Market Intelligence, at Exasol.

 

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BLACK FRIDAY WEEKEND SET TO SMASH ONLINE SALES RECORDS, ACCORDING TO ECOMMERCE EXPERT

The Black Friday weekend is anticipated to be the largest for online sales on record as the UK remains in lockdown, according to data from eCommerce experts Visualsoftwith daily online sales revenues already having exceeded Cyber Monday 2019’s figure of £4.8 million.

These predictions come following a major surge in activity on Visualsoft’s market-leading eCommerce platform, which is used by over 1,000 retailers and processes £1.20 of every £100 spent online in the UK. The highest recorded figure for online sales is the £1.49 billion spent on Black Friday 2018, however this year’s event could exceed this if the current sales trend continues.

Visualsoft’s platform has so far seen a 35% revenue increase in the period between Monday 23rd November and Wednesday 25th November, which is indicative of shoppers taking advantage of retailers beginning their Black Friday promotions earlier than ever this year, to ease the traditional pressures of the retail peak period. Average order values have also risen by 21% during this time.

Additionally, the platform has also reported a 25% increase in traffic, which indicates high consumer interest in picking up a deal over the Black Friday weekend, with a high chance of conversion for businesses that have taken the time to prepare their online offering for the weekend of sales.

Separate consumer trends analysis also indicates an increased public interest in forgoing the major retail brands this year. Search engine data shows that searches for “independent businesses” have skyrocketed by 139% in the past week compared with the same period last year. Related terms, such as “support local businesses”, have seen a similar boost, having increased by 152% over the same timeframe.

 

David Duke, chief operating officer at Visualsoft, said: “Black Friday has increasingly been making the move from bricks-and-mortar to online channels over recent years, however the enforced restrictions placed upon us by the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated this move significantly.

“While this means major opportunities for those that have taken the time to optimise their online presence, if your eCommerce offering is not up to scratch then you are essentially throwing away the tremendous sales opportunity afforded by the surge in demand at this time of year.

“Particularly for independent businesses, which are likely to see a dramatic influx of visitors this year from the public’s desire to support independent brands, it is crucially important to get the basics right when it comes to your online offering, or risk frustrating customers as a result.”

 

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ONE IN FIVE INSURANCE CUSTOMERS SAW AN IMPROVEMENT IN CUSTOMER SERVICE OVER LOCKDOWN, RESEARCH SHOWS

SAS research reveals that insurers improved their customer experience during lockdown

 

One in five insurance customers noted an improvement in their customer experience over lockdown, according to research conducted by SAS, the leader in analytics. This far outweighed the 11% of customers who felt it had deteriorated over the same period.

This is positive news for insurers during such challenging times, with 59% of customers also saying that they would pay more to buy or use products and services from any company that provided them with a good customer experience over lockdown.

The improvement in customer experience also coincides with a rise in the number of digital customers. Since the pandemic started, the number of insurance customers using a digital service or app has grown by 10%. Three-fifths (60%) of new users plan to continue using these digital services moving forward.

However, while the number of digital users grew over lockdown, half of the insurance customer base has not yet chosen to move to digital insurance apps or services.

 

Paul Ridge, Head of Insurance at SAS UK & Ireland, said:

“It’s impressive that there was a net improvement in customer experience during lockdown, despite the challenges the industry was facing with a transition to remote working and increased claims for things like cancelled holidays. While many were forced to wait on customer help lines for long periods, part of the improvement may be explained by even a small (10%) increase in the number of digital users.

“However, it’s clear that a huge number of customers are still yet to make the move online. It’s vital that insurers provide the most accurate, timely and relevant offerings to customers, and this is best achieved by having additional insight into online customer journeys so they can understand them better. Using analytics and AI, insurers can seize this opportunity to digitalise their customer experience and offer a more personalised approach.”

Meanwhile, for insurers that fail to offer a consistently satisfactory customer experience, the price could be severe. A third (33%) of customers claimed that they would ditch a company after just one poor experience. This number jumps to 90% for between one and five poor examples of customer service.

 

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