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IBM 2017 | Cognitive Future

The Sixth Lesson of Data Analytics

As Paul Cobban, MD & COO, Tech & Operations, DBS Bank wryly notes, “people don’t just wake up in the morning and say today’s a great day for doing some banking.” This may not seem much of an insight, but it gets to the heart of how businesses should deal with what IBM thinks of as the cognitive revolution.

Every industry is told that it’s time to be entranced by big data analytics. But what does that mean? One way to think about it is like building a website. You can design it around the business, or design it around how customers deal with the business. Cobban’s insight is that no matter how much you live and breathe banking, think about what the customer wants from your business, and use those tools to deliver it.

That is exactly where the cognitive revolution can help, as it helps to crunch through and make sense of the enormous amount of data becoming available, about customers, their habits, and their preferences.

Cobban’s own crystal-ball gazing suggests that in this data-rich world there will be two types of bank in the future: those that didn’t see changes coming, and are being forced to compete with new challengers purely on price (something he notes that many banks are bad at doing); and those that build new ecosystems to make banking work better for the customers.

There are five lessons that Paul Cobban says he has learned from his involvement with data at DBS:

  1. With data, always start with a question or problem to be solved.
  2. Start with your own data (there is likely to be plenty of it).
  3. Go beyond the data – understand your customers, as the true magic is to be found at the intersection of customers and data.
  4. Design for data.
  5. Don’t work alone – this is a specialist subject, so work with someone like IBM who know what they’re doing.

There’s also a sixth lesson: simply to get stuck in. It’ll make a big difference.

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