“It’s all About the Information!”

Chances are you’ve head this before. And if you are a Ben Kingsley or Robert Redford fan you even recognized the line from Sneakers (released in 1992).  Yes 1992. Before the World Wide Web  Remember Netscape didn’t launch the first commercially successful Web browser until 1993.

Actually it’s always been about the information, or at least the right information – the information needed to make an informed decision, not just an intuitive one. Now in many ways the information, the data, has always been there; it’s just that until recently, it was not readily accessible in a timely manner.

In today’s internetworked business climate we are more aware of how much data is available to us through technology, like the mobile device in your pocket –at 12GB an iPhone 6S is massively more than the 6Mb programs IBM developed to monitor an Apollo spacecraft’s environmental data.

Which demonstrates the reality of Moore’s Law, but that’s another topic. Yet because it’s so easy to create and store large amounts of data today, far too often we’re drowning in data and experiencing information overload.

Chances are right now you’re reading this in between deleting that last email, before your next Tweet, because the conference call you are on is being dominated by someone repeating the same information you provided yesterday.   Bernard Marr, a contributor to Forbes, notes “that more data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race.”  Marr’s piece has at least 19 other eye-opening facts about how much data is (and is starting to become) available to us but the one that struck me the most was # 20.

“At the moment less than 0.5% of all data is ever analysed and used just imagine the potential here.”

0.5%! Imagine the opportunities missed. For example what if the transaction patterns of a customer indicated they were making more and more purchases of auto parts as well as making more  payments to their local garage (or mechanic). Combined with a recent increase in automatic payroll deposits, might that indicate this customer would be a good prospect for a 0.9% new car financing offer?

Or imagine the crises which could be avoided. Think back to February 2016 and the now infamous multi-million dollar Bangladesh Bank heist. As you may recall thieves managed to arrange the transfer of $81 million to the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation in the Philippines. While it’s reasonable to expect existing controls might have detected the theft, it turns out that a “printer error” alerted bank staff.

The SWIFT interface at the bank is configured to print out a record each time a funds transfer is executed. But on the morning of Feb 5 the print tray was empty. It took until the next day to get the printer restarted. It also turns out the New York Federal Reserve Bank had sent queries to the Bank questioning the transfers. What alerted the Fed? A typo.  Funds to be sent to the Shalika Foundation, were addressed to the “Shalika fandation.” There’s obviously more to this story, but you can look at WIRED Magazine’s story now.

Consider the difference if a certain the bank had the toolset able to flag the anomaly of a misspelled beneficiary in time to generate alerts and hold up the transfers for additional verification? As we know the thieves timed their heist to take full advantage of the week-end, it’s only a small step to have these alerts sent as an SMS text, or email to the bank’s compliance management staff.

To best extract value from the business data available to you requires two things:  An engine and a network. The engine is one designed to perform the data driven analysis needed..

With OpenText™ Analytics Suite, financial institutions can not only derive data-driven insights to offer value added solutions to clients they can also better manage the risk of fraudulent payment instructions, based on insights derived from a client’s payment behavior, and the correlating fact that the beneficiary accounts had been opened in May 2015 and not been a previously used  beneficiary.

But the other equally important tool is the network. As trains need tracks, analytical tools engine needs data (as well as the network to deliver it). Today more and more of this data needed to extract value comes from outside the enterprise. OpenText™ Business Network is one way thousands of organizations exchange the data needed to manage their business, and provide the fuel for their analytical engines.

For example, suppose a bank wanted to offer their customers the ability to generate ad-hoc reporting through their banking portal.  With payment, collection, and reporting data flows delivered through Business Network’s Managed Services, the underlying data would be available for the bank’s analytical engine.

Obviously much of the data involved in the examples I’ve provided would be sensitive, confidential, and would need robust information security controls to keep it safe.

Mark Mixter

Mark is a Solution Consultant at Open Text and a relentless client advocate with 18+ years experience designing, implementing, and managing Integration Solutions for the Financial Services Industry. His expertise is in the area of: Corporate to Bank Connectivity and Integration, Global Treasury and Cash Management, Global Product Management, and Global Project Management.

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