Financial Services and the Cloud

A Model Implementation

Simon Axon
Simon Axon
June 9, 2022 4 min read

In my last blog I looked at how hybrid multi-cloud can provide a lower risk approach to squaring the circle of agility and flexibility with the demands of security and data protection. But what does that look like in practice? How do you take the first steps to free the power of analytics from on-premises systems whilst protecting valuable data and de-risking the transformation? Working with a leading European insurance brand we have added new analytics capabilities to meet the demands of customers, whilst leveraging investment in existing on-premises technology and establishing a glide path to more cloud-based data applications.

CLOUD SOLUTIONS NEEDED FOR WEB-BASKET ABANDONMENT 
Our customer is a leading insurer providing general insurance to individuals for accident, property and health cover. It already relies upon Teradata as its core customer data platform as an on-premises solution. However, this historically branch-based business found that it lacked the agility to swiftly analyse and act upon online customer behaviour. Existing analytics were run in silos and fed customer information systems accessible to agents or used to drive outbound email campaigns run by marketing teams. There was no personalisation of web experience nor personalised follow-up to website visits. 

The result was an increasing number of abandoned baskets in the web channels as there was no way to engage with customers in real time with bespoke offers that would help them along the decision path to find the right product for their needs. With the web channel quickly becoming the primary customer engagement channel, not only for the Insurer, but across the financial services industry, it was clear that something had to change.

OVERCOMING FEARS
However, the insurer faced two additional, although not uncommon challenges. Its own IT and development teams were already stretched and there was insufficient resource to take on a major transformation project. Plus, a previous attempt to integrate cloud-based analytics packaged had failed leaving both IT and senior management teams wary of the risk/reward balance. 

Starting with the tried and trusted Teradata Vantage system we were able to quickly and seamlessly extend the power of on-premises analytics to add new wed-based data collection, real-time analytics and decisioning whilst retaining the flexibility to store customer data on-prem or in the cloud. Using QueryGrid, our high-speed parallel data fabric, we connected web data collection as service and enabled analytics that delivered real-time personalisation as customers browsed the website. All the data needed is captured, integrated and analysed in time to make a bespoke offer to every individual customer in the time it takes to refresh a webpage!

USE AND REUSE ACROSS BUSINESS
Vantage is the same whether it is deployed on premise, in a public, private or hybrid multi-cloud. Analytics and insights can therefore flow unhindered across this data fabric allowing multiple use and re-use. Critically different teams can all benefit from the same analytics, so agents in branch, call centre operatives, email marketing teams and automated web decisioning systems all have a single view of the customer. As new channels, including mobile, are added, they too will feed in and feed off a common analytics base.

Deploying QueryGrid as the ‘glue’ between on-premises analytics and cloud ‘as-a-service’ models for data collection and personalisation provides an agile, consistent and powerful data analytics capability leveraging the speed and scalability of Vantage. For a company ‘burned’ by a previous failed deployment, the flexibility of this approach also represented another crucial benefit. QueryGrid processes data where it resides, minimizing data moves and de-risking the addition of cloud-based services. Allowing multiple systems, including different analytic engines to act as one, not only creates agility and speed, but flexibility. Systems can be added or taken away simply so that operational resilience is enhanced should a system, cloud or application fail for any reason.

OPERATIONAL RESILIENCE AND FLEXIBILITY 
Working across multiple clouds and on-premises gives the Insurer the power to shift workloads to and from the cloud as needed. With Vantage and QueryGrid as a data and analytics fabric the Insurer avoids technical and commercial lock in to any one cloud, analytics or customer facing application. Data can always be moved simply, speedily and safely back on-prem. As the customer looks to future channels, applications and devices these can similarly be experimented with, deployed and integrated to make use of the same common integrated data and analytics fabric to de-risk and reduce time to value. 

GLIDE PATH TO THE CLOUD
Building on Vantage on-prem with Vantage running in the cloud and QueryGrid connecting analytics engines across the Insurer has provided a fast and effective solution to its specific business problem – abandoned web baskets and lack of personalisation. It also provides a model of how any financial services business can square the circle of increasing agility whilst protecting data and security and fulfilling regulatory requirements. More fundamentally it shows how both business and IT decision-makers can plot a route to the cloud that will allow financial services providers to go beyond the low-hanging fruit and leverage the advantages of the cloud for business-critical data at low risk. 

This case study demonstrates how a step-by-step approach, with each one reversible if required, can give business and IT customers the confidence to embrace cloud for critical business analytics. It also illustrates our experience and expertise in working with our customers to deliver robust, high-value, low risk cloud solutions. If you’d like to find out more, please get in touch

About Simon Axon

Simon Axon leads the Financial Services Industry Consulting practice in EMEA. His role is to help our customers drive more commercial value from their data by understanding the impact of integrated data and advanced analytics. Prior to taking up his current role, Simon led the Data Science, Business Analysis & Industry Consultancy practices in the UK & Ireland,  utilising his diverse experience across multiple industries to understand our customer’s business and identify opportunities to leverage data and analytics to achieve high-impact business outcomes. Before joining Teradata in 2015, Simon worked for the Sainsbury's Group and CACI Limited.

View all posts by Simon Axon

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