Speed counts: Data distilling is all too complex to go it alone

March 02, 2020

Two of the most frequent questions I hear from financial institutions are: “How often do our customers, or members, go to a particular large retailer?” and “How can we learn more about our customers, or members, from their transaction behaviors?” Seems simple enough, but it usually sets off a long-winded explanation about how complicated it really is.

The reality is, that there are billions of transactions and tens of millions of transaction description variations around merchant naming. A small retailer may only have a few dozen different description variations to identify their business. Something that your IT group can probably handle with a bit of time and sleuthing. But consider how many retailers are out there. Then consider the true scale. National retailers like Walmart have nearly 300,000 variations just to identify a Walmart transaction. Amazon has more than one million variations. CVS over 90,000. And many of these variations don’t clearly identify the generic name, but rather a specific location. Now imagine your IT staff trying to take this monster challenge on while dealing with their normal business day.

With all this complexity there just isn’t enough data normalization to answer these real but challenging business questions, without a rigorous effort to filter out the noise. The clarity of the data must be established in order to effectively answer your critical business questions.

The level of complexity you’re throwing at your IT teams is only expanding with the internet of things (IOT). Data is driving everything! Asking traditional technology teams to decipher and consolidate the millions of transaction variants that a company like Walmart generates is an impossible task while still maintaining current operations.

Leveraging the expertise of a dedicated specialized team

More than ever we need a pit crew of valued and trusted technology partners. A true partner can use their specialized expertise to clean and groom your data in near real-time. They can stage your data so that a non-data person inside the line of business can intuitively understand it and take quick informed action. This allows you to keep your eyes on the road and focus on the event-driven, real-time experiences that your customers or members not only desire but expect.

We all want a high-performing engine for our business. A finely tuned machine that lets us race past our competitors and win real market share. The winning formula is to partner with a mechanic that has the expertise in the specific make and model of your business. A mechanic that shares your passion and is clearly invested in the speed of your success. One that helps your business not just get in the fast lane but lead it.

Our business is getting way too complex to fix and tweak on our own. We’ve taken our hits, and we could use some body work, but we require some fresh expertise under the hood. This is never truer than when it comes to working with your data.

Stronger through partnership

The good news is that there are numerous partners that are now available to help clean and distill your raw transaction data for better insights. While FinTech disruptors prompted fear at first, now many are helping to supplement the market with innovative ways of thinking and new products. FIS is out front bringing these leaders and partners to the table for our clients. We all need strong partners. None of us need to go it alone. Stronger partnership and collaboration are essential to creating world-class experiences that enable true loyalty and growth.

About the Author
Tim Nargassans, Data Solutions Group, FIS
Tim NargassansData Solutions Group, FIS

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