Cloud-based data analytics have allowed one bank to fast-forward its efforts to better understand customer behaviour, completing what used to be a five-day process in “seconds or minutes”, a senior marketing executive has revealed.

Speaking during a panel session at the ACS Reimagination Thought Leaders’ Summit, Head of Institutional Marketing at ANZ Trisca Scott-Branagan said increasingly digital-reliant customers were driving the bank’s sea change towards a data-driven culture.

Customers “are not just doing [digital] at the initial stages of their investigations, but are doing it throughout their lifecycle,” she said, flagging an ensuing data-driven journey that had reinforced the value of consumer insight and data-driven marketing.

“What is engaging marketing is serving up content that is relevant to [customers] at the time they need it,” Scott-Branagan said.

Trisca Scott-Branagan, Head of Institutional Marketing, ANZ. Photo: Good Thanks Media

“Data gives us enormous power to look at people’s behaviours, and the level of engagement that we have with them – and to use that to inform further decisions.”

ANZ’s data-driven renaissance – effected through a 2018 partnership with Google to leverage its cloud-based analytics capabilities – came as increasing automation spared the need for aggregated, deidentified data sets to be analysed manually.

This helped it make faster decisions around strategic issues like liquidity, risk and cash management as well as the location of its branches and market positioning.

Gartner has advised businesses to formalise recognition of key technology trends – such as augmented analytics, continuous intelligence, augmented data management and building data fabrics – and prioritise those with the most potential impact.

Kirk Wetherell, Vertiv’s Australian Director for Datacentre Solutions. Photo: Good Thanks Media

Yet investing in data isn’t just about a change in mindset: as organisations pivot towards the greater and broader organisational use of data, Vertiv’s Australian Director for Datacentre Solutions Kirk Wetherell said, they also need the IT and critical infrastructure “designed to make sure it doesn’t fail and put this all at risk”.

Many cloud-hungry organisations had dialled back their enthusiasm in recent years as the realities of building data-driven organisations bit hard, he said – and a hybrid infrastructure approach was the best compromise.

“Even if you try to put everything in the cloud, you still have to connect to it,” he said. “The hybrid approach is where you put the data and the IT loads where it makes the most sense.”

Managing the data culture

Making the most out of analytics meant “trying to get the entire organisation to be a bit more data-minded,” said Dayle Stevens, Chief Data Officer with AGL.

The energy giant has been building its data-management capabilities with initiatives such as an internal Data Council, an analytics “academy” and a three-year, analytics-driven customer experience transformation program called Energy Insights.

“There are a lot of engineers at AGL who like to think about how things work, and how to use data and analytics to solve their problems – so that’s a good start.”

With 80 per cent of organisations set to invest in “deliberate competency development” around analytics in 2020, Gartner says, that investment must be driven by chief data officers that promote data-driven change around the business value of data, the cultural change impacts of a data-driven approach, and managing the ethical implications of data and analytics.

NSW Chief Data Scientist and CEO, Dr Ian Oppermann. Photo: Good Thanks Media

New South Wales analytics experts were working with government agencies to scale this approach across the state, Chief Data Scientist and CEO of the NSW Data Analytics Centre, Dr Ian Oppermann, noted.

The group had been formalising data sets so it could “operationalise and build insights”, he said, and this had also driven a new mindset around how government view their relationship with citizens.

The government had been building Service NSW “based on one view of government wrapping services around you,” he said, but further work – and data analysis – had matured this approach.

“It’s more important for each of us to have one view of government, as opposed to the government having one view of the citizen,” he said.

“That twisting around, reshaping, pivoting and new thinking has been very useful.”

Governance and trust

Organisations must build and maintain customer trust in the way their data was handled, Stevens said, noting the importance of data governance as a core organisational philosophy.

Dayle Stevens, Chief Data Officer, AGL. Photo: Good Thanks Media

“The key to data governance is looking at it as a whole of business kind of approach so it’s not just the job of the regulatory compliance team or our [newly appointed] head of data governance,” she said.

Good data governance, she said, “needs to be a whole of organisation responsibility so that people understand what role they play, but also so that we can find the right, balanced approach to everything.”

Success came from enabling and directing individuals’ efforts rather than telling them what they can’t do, Stevens said, noting the importance of “having data stewardship so people are owning and taking responsibility for different parts of the data – and then having that really well-understood and well-communicated engagement plan so everyone in the organisation understands their role.”

“As soon as we put guardrails up, most people forget why they’re there.”