Data is the new currency: SLB

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Bereng Mpaki

USAGE and manipulation of big data in modern business has become so important that data is now referred as the new currency or oil.

This was said by Standard Lesotho Bank (SLB) chief executive officer (CEO) Anton Nicolaisen, during a Standard Bank Group annual data conference this week.

The conference was this year hosted by SLB on behalf of the group.

Big data refers to data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing application software.

The conference was informed by the need to transform as well as to harmonise and synergise data and technology efficiency to achieve client satisfaction and business performance.

Its theme was “Data and analytics inspiring transformation”.

“Data has become the new currency in the increasingly competitive landscape where we continue to see mobile network operators and Fintechs (financial technology companies) encroaching into the territory of financial services, where we have seen capabilities of convergence enabling these players to have a stake in our industry,” Mr Nicolaisen said.

“Our analysis of this changing business environment is that if we are not intentional about our approach and how we can leverage on big data and analytics to become more agile and adept to the new realities, these new players will eat our breakfast and render us irrelevant in our own game.

“Data management and data analytics capabilities can help us navigate through the storms in modern business that is driven by the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). As it is, 4IR has brought about many developments like robotics, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things (IoT). All these technologies are hinged on, and make use of data as their primary source of inspiration.”

He said the bank saw data as the glue that binds its strategy toward fulfilling its purpose.

“I cannot over-emphasise the importance of data in modern business, especially for the financial services sector. First, is the fact that we need, more than ever before, to build a culture of data within our organisation.

“We need to entrench data and analytics into the DNA of our people to transform into a data-led organisation. We need to change our norms and embrace analytics as the basis of why and how we execute. By this I mean that we absolutely need to transform from making largely intuitive decisions towards a culture of data driven decision making. All our actions and decisions must be backed by data, and I can assure you that if we make it our second nature to search for data before we make decisions, we will achieve a lot and we will be successful.”

There is also need to create capacity to monetise data to further improve business financial performance, he said. Through data insights, the group can identify new revenue opportunities in their businesses.

Therefore, it is important to exploit gaps to bring new solutions and plug the deficiencies on the group’s current offerings so that it can increase the relevance, quantum and reach of its products and services. This will ensure profitability and efficiency in the way it serves its customers.

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