Intelligent CIO Logo
Banking & FinanceSoftwareTop Stories

How data can unlock opportunities in Africa’s financial services industry

How data can unlock opportunities in Africa’s financial services industry

Data-driven services will empower insurers to address customer needs more effectively

While data is an indispensable part of the business environment, many organisations are still not harnessing its potential. Kelly Preston, Data Analytics Manager at SilverBridge, a provider of insurance software solutions in the African financial services industry, believes that data-driven services will empower insurers to address customer needs more effectively.

According to a McKinsey article examining data-driven strategy, big data and analytics can transform the way companies do business. However, executives need to focus on targeted efforts around sourcing data, building models and transforming organisational culture. They also need to highlight the importance of choosing the right data to provide a platform for this growth.

Kelly Preston, Data Analytics Manager at SilverBridge, said: “Given how the number of data sources have increased in recent years, this is no easy task. Not only do insurers need to contend with emails, contact centre data, web forms and virtual agents, they also need to monitor social networking streams and incorporate telemetry from connected devices. With these [data] streams only set to increase in the months and years to come, insurers must find ways of understanding its potential and using it to gain new insights.”

Innovation first

Preston says that these new insights are instrumental for the development of more relevant and innovative products and services.

She said: “Thanks in part to the rise of insurtechs, the sector is the most competitive it has ever been. While customers are the real winners given the choices at their disposal, insurers can take the initiative and embrace the new opportunities that data-driven services can unlock.”

Using this approach as an element of the digital transformation journey, which insurers have already embarked upon, will accelerate the development of more unique solutions that are more mindful of customer requirements. Previously, the customer/insurer relationship could best be described as trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Today, there can be much better alignment of the respective needs due to having innovation and data-driven strategy development at the centre of the insurance business.

More data?

The traditional method of solution design revolved around which segments of the insurance puzzle an organisation needed to fill. Thanks to more nuanced data (driven by customer engagement, Internet of Things and the like), insurers can be more bespoke in their development.

“In this regard, the more data the organisation has access to, the better it becomes. So, instead of wading through masses of meaningless insights, an insurer can better analyse and draw insights from the data in their back-end systems,” said Preston.

Ultimately, she says, it is about rethinking how data is analysed to be more cognisant of the requirements of the digital environment.

“Of course, data should not be considered the silver bullet that can solve all organisational ills when it comes to product design and delivery. Leadership has to show a willingness to change and to embrace the new way of using data-driven services,” she concludes.

Silverbridge operates in 14 African countries and has more than 30 customers in the continent facilitating them with the opportunity to respond quickly to changing markets.