The Beauty of Small Data

by Steve Williams

An 8-point assessment of whether your credit union is leveraging latent data

The technology that permeates the banking industry today is missing many things – except for buzzwords. Since the first punch card entered on an old Burroughs computer, credit union technologists have been creating fun new terms for processing information. Now, as “cloud computing” seems to be peaking in a fever pitch, we witness the growth of a new phrase: big data.

This term is fast becoming synonymous with the fact that bankers are swimming in data that could be leveraged more strategically to drive the business. According to IBM, “Big data is more than simply a matter of size; it is an opportunity to find insights in new and emerging types of data and content, to make your business more agile, and to answer questions that were previously considered beyond your reach.”

I would like to argue that leaders of financial institutions today are suffering from poor implementations of the most basic management reporting and data mining. I would like to argue that we should prove we can handle small data before we hope to graduate to expensive new tools used by rocket scientists and drug researchers. For this reason, I offer up Cornerstone’s eight-point small data assessment. These are key areas where a bit of focus, development and analytic support in your credit union could greatly improve business performance. Is your credit union taking advantage of data sitting latent just a few clicks away?

For this eight-point assessment imagine, if you will, a CEO flipping through a crisp executive summary of the information I am about to describe and ask yourself, “Would that totally rock?” Then ask yourself, “How well does my credit union provide this information today?”

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