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DNB uses data-driven insights to reconnect and deliver services to its customers with Denodo

DNB uses data-driven insights to reconnect and deliver services to its customers with Denodo

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DNB has utilised Denodo’s data virtualisation platform to act as a data marketplace for the data science team. Aidan Millar, Chief Data and Analytics Officer, DNB, discusses this in more detail and tells us how the organisation has enhanced the customer digital experience and the value delivered through its customer channels.

DNB, Norway’s largest financial services group, is working with Denodo, a leader in data virtualisation, to build a data science lab in the cloud. However, the company’s data scientists were spending more time on data preparation tasks that on building the models that would generate real business value.

To combat this, DNB implemented the Denodo Platform to easily transition to the cloud without affecting Business Continuity. The Denodo Platform helped the company’s data scientists to focus on building models rather than spending time on data preparation tasks.

With a data lake in AWS, multiple on-premise data warehouses and a Cloudera installation for real-time data streaming, DNB was managing a broad range of data sources. Instead of managing these individually, DNB used the Denodo data virtualisation platform to sit on top of the different sources and act as a data marketplace for the data science team. This provided a single point of access and enabled the data scientists to easily browse and explore the vast datasets spread across the company’s expansive data ecosystem.

We caught up with Aidan Millar, Chief Data and Analytics Officer, DNB, to find out how the solution has benefitted the company’s business operations and development capabilities.

Can you tell us about your role and the scope of your responsibility at DNB?

My role as Chief Data and Analytics Officer (CDAO) is centred on injecting more ‘I’ into IT digital solutions. It’s all about ‘going digital to the core’ and changing the way people think and act towards data and analytics.

In Q3-2017, DNB set a clear data ambition to leverage data-driven insights to reconnect and deliver services that are relevant in the daily digital lives of our customers. This was the trigger to hire a CDAO with the responsibility to institutionalise and fuel the change agenda to become a data-driven organisation.

Why did you choose to work with Denodo?

An important priority was to create an effective and easily accessible data marketplace. DNB employs a cloud-first technology strategy, including a fully operational cloud-based (AWS) data science lab to deliver advanced data insights (200+ active advanced data analytics users). One of the challenges was how to democratise data while also managing access rights to a complex suite of data assets – balancing the ‘protect’ and ‘grow’ the bank agendas.

Modern data virtualisation tools helped to address this challenge. For DNB, Denodo was a practical choice in our decision-making process; it is a market-leading vendor in the data virtualisation space with an expansive set of data adapters and wide-range of existing customers. The solution addressed a capability gap in our solution architecture. Denodo has enabled us to accelerate and control access to data across the organisation and most importantly, can be adopted by business users with limited technical support.

What business challenges were you looking to address?

Digitalisation is fuelling an explosive growth in data, bringing with it new challenges and opportunities. For DNB, the imperative is – and will always be – to stay relevant to customers in their daily digital lives. We recognised very early on that the key to us achieving this goal was data and advanced analytics. By capitalising on data insights, DNB can continually enhance the customer digital experience and the value delivered through its customer channels.

We also saw an opportunity to optimise delivery lead times and to create reusable data assets. Data scientists were spending 80% of their time on data preparation tasks and 20% on the real value add of building predictive models. We needed a practical solution that would allow us to switch from the 80:20 to 20:80 resource focus. This was where the Denodo platform came into play.

The Denodo solution allowed us to rapidly build reusable data assets that could be easily accessed (in a controlled way) and consumed in exploratory analytics use cases. It also fulfilled our requirements around real-time operations, auditing and maximising the utility of data assets and associated resources.

How has the solution improved data management capabilities for DNB?

From a data management perspective, Denodo has enabled our data analytics users to browse and harvest value across DNB’s complex data ecosystem. Denodo forms the foundation for democratising our data assets.

DNB manages a broad range of data sources. A critical source is the data lake in AWS that stores all DNB transactional data (over 9B+ transactions). We also have multiple on-premises data warehouses and a Cloudera installation for the real-time management of streaming data entering our banking systems.

The Denodo data virtualisation platform sits on top of all these data sources, to create a DNB data marketplace. The solution provides a single point of controlled access to over 4K+ enterprise data warehouse table views, 9B+ customer transactions and digital click stream data from our digital channels.

How important is having a robust data strategy for satisfying end-user demand?

From my experience, it is of critical importance. Having an ambition, underpinned by a well-defined data strategy and a plan for execution, is an imperative.

Setting the ambition level and a plan on how to get aligned with key stakeholders across the organisation is an important responsibility of the CDAO. Aligning organisational priorities and setting expectations is central to creating a shared agenda across the organisation to drive delivery momentum.

There must be a structured approach on how to manage and derive value from corporate data assets. The importance is amplified by the transitory business environment and ever-increasing regulatory demands. The data strategy should not only be long-term, but also flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances and encompass provisions to satisfy regulatory demands.

Most corporations have set up data platforms to collect a steady stream of valuable customer data, such as transaction history, online web behaviour and much more. The ability to manage ‘Big Data’ is critical to the success of any digital business but most corporations fail and struggle with execution and realisation of ambitions because they lack a strategy that is anchored across the organisation.

What are some of the overall benefits you’ve seen since the implementation?

Since implementing Denodo’s data virtualisation platform and the data marketplace, DNB has realised value from multiple business-driven use cases, including:

  • Enabling scalable compliance solutions related to e-frauds, AML and GDPR
  • Data-driven insights to provide product recommendations and personalised pricing at scale
  • A material reduction in data access lead times from months to weeks – increasing business agility

However, the impact has been wider than this. With easier access to data, we have observed an increase in the volume of data-driven initiatives. Easy access to data is fuelling a cultural shift in the wider business with decisions supported by data, rather than relying on gut feel and previous experience. Data democratisation and access to data assets is changing the way we think and act when it comes to the value of data.

How does advanced analytics allow you to make effective decisions?

DNB customers are talking to us every second of the day on digital channels and as a service provider we must have the ability to listen and understand customers’ needs in near real time. Advanced analytics underpins how we can reconnect with our customers on digital channels in real time.

DNB has played an important role in supporting Norwegian society and the government during the pandemic, by providing contextual data insights (at an aggregated level) to assess the impact of the crisis and remediating policies on the economy.

Data-driven insights underpins DNBs ability to reconnect and deliver services that are relevant in the daily digital lives of our customers.

Has the technology enabled you to offer a seamless experience for your customers and if so, how?

DNB is capitalising on data driven opportunities that came with building digital customer channels and analytics capabilities in the cloud; including a new DNB mobile bank, a savings app called Spare, DNB Puls a management tool for small and medium-sized enterprises and Insight Platform for Analytics (IPA) to support data-driven actionable insights.

Advanced, scalable cloud-based data technologies and the adoption of a data marketplace are enabling actionable data insights to improve customer experiences. One area that has benefitted from such insights is the continued development of DNB’s online and mobile services. For example, we are looking at channel interaction data to assess customer journeys on our digital channels using a leading-edge data capture solution. We can continuously assess whether our digital channels are aligned to customer preferences and continuously improve the experience. Our analytics capabilities are also focused on delivering customer value by providing our customers the right product, at the right price, through the right channel, at the right time at scale.

DNB has a clear ambition and continues to make significant strides to leverage data to reconnect and deliver services that are relevant in the daily digital lives of our customers.

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