Data-savvy financial services firms still need Big Data


The financial services industry has long been seen as on the leading edge of IT. The fact is that the demands of the industry are extreme, and IT prowess has become a critical differentiator.

You fail to upgrade at your own risk. You simply cannot fall behind in the technology arms race. So when it comes to Big Data, one blogger has suggested that banks are leading the way--or should be anyway.

"This all sounds epic and intimidating, but the financial services industry has an impressive track record of depending on Big Data and using it with aplomb."

The post goes on to suggest that algorithms and other quantitative techniques are supreme examples of Big Data in action already.

"So as an industry, we've earned some time in smug mode, watching all of the other verticals catch up with us. But those other verticals will not have to develop this technology as we did because it already exists. They won't have to reinvent the wheel; they can just learn by watching us."

But there are some nuances here. For one thing, we would all agree that the industry has become very proficient in its use of large quantities of structured data. But a lot of the Big Data revolution has to do with unstructured data, and this is where the big challenge remains for the banking and financial services industry.

The big question is whether there is anything to be gained to applying new techniques to the exploding volumes of unstructured information, and the answer is likely yes, especially when it comes to understanding customers, staying compliant and the like. Many banks are just now coming to grips with this.  

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