The Decision Maker

Think Small Data

Posted by Aaron Wang on Feb 24, 2013 8:04:52 AM

Forget about “Big Data”. Have you mastered “small data”? In a particularly insightful article, Steve Williams of Cornerstone Advisors argues banks and credit unions should not be bamboozled by the Big Data fad. Instead, they should be doing a better job of analyzing and reporting on existing information.

Williams offers an 8 point assessment to help understand small data opportunities.

Sales – Daily summaries of new customer/member acquisition, attrition, and net growth are a fundamental small data tool.

Relationship – Can your institution visualize “share of wallet” for each customer/member? Perhaps “data silos” are holding you back. Making connections between these repositories of small data is crucial.

Customer Experience – How do you know if the service you are delivering is meeting goals? You may be able to find the evidence in small data like loan turnaround time or customer satisfaction survey data.

Channel – To what degree can you compare the performance of your branches? Can you use existing small data to better manage this channel?

Payments – Summaries of bank payment transactions can help manage revenue. But, can you “drill down” through the summaries to understand the drivers behind the trends?

Profitability – Whether it is by product, by customer/member, or for the entire organization, comprehensive profitability reporting requires seamless connections across all your databases.

Efficiency – are you managing your resources wisely? What is the productivity per employee? Being able to connect transactions to a particular employee is sign of a small data competency.

Fraud– Do the connections exist in your data to detect fraudulent activity? If not, the risk of losses may outweigh the costs of getting a handle on small data.

Small data may not be as “cool” as Big Data. However, mastering small data can deliver BIG results.

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You now have more information at hand about your credit union than ever before. But are you using it to "out-think" your rivals? If not, you may be missing out on a potent competitive tool.

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