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Financial Services Executives Agree: Self-Service Access to Data Increases Revenue, Customer Satisfaction

Global study sponsored by Qlik finds more than 80 percent of respondents believe fully leveraging data-driven insights would boost annual revenue by at least five percent

June 07, 2016

Radnor, PA – Providing customer-facing financial services employees greater access to data leads to more revenue, reduced customer churn, and increased customer satisfaction, according to the findings of a global study by WSJ. Insights, sponsored by Qlik® (NASDAQ: QLIK), a leader in visual analytics. According to the study, more than four in five (83 percent) financial services executives agree that fully leveraging financial and customer data into analytical insights would represent an increase of at least five percent of their annual revenue. But less than one out of five companies allows access to information and data consistently across all departments or teams, including customer-facing employees on the corporate frontlines who could benefit from having the information to better serve customers.

The study, which surveyed 300 global financial services leaders, confirms that while financial services companies have access to powerful insights from their data, often this data does not make its way to employees at the edge of the organization – those who are customer-facing and need it the most. While a majority of respondents rate their analytics function as ‘highly effective’ in terms of two primary objectives: capturing customer information (86 percent) and securing/safeguarding data (80 percent), only about half the respondents say their organization is effective at gaining a clear understanding about who needs what information (51 percent). A majority agree that customer-facing functions will be a priority for expansion of volume and variety of available data (55 percent), and that they will carry out a major transformation of the entire analytics function (52 percent).

“There’s gold in these servers, and the trick is how we extract that gold from the ore,” said J.R. Reed, a senior manager for financial analytics at Deloitte Consulting LLP. “Data is an asset, a very important asset. Companies have been gathering this information about their markets and their customers. They’ve been accumulating all of this information that they can use to positively impact their customer and positively impact their business.”

Additional key findings include:

  • Organizations are challenged by communications issues and data complexity: One of the top internal challenges to getting information to the right people is the fact that information is spread across a myriad of different, often mutually incompatible systems (42 percent). Other problems include critical information being lost due to poor communication (43 percent) and a lack of recognition of data as a shared corporate asset (41 percent). In terms of external challenges, a majority of respondents agree that information is frequently too complex to be processed, analyzed, and disseminated in a timely fashion.

  • Banks lag other financial industries in understanding who needs what information: Banking leaders are more likely than those from other industries to say that their analytics functions are highly effective (88 percent compared to 76 percent for other industries). But only a minority report high levels of effectiveness indicating that improvements are needed – especially in an environment where smaller, more disruptive companies are finding new ways to capitalize on their customers. According to the survey, the sector’s analytics functions lag other industries regarding their understanding of who needs what information (45 percent compared to 55 percent). This disconnect is troublesome considering that banking leaders are more inclined than those from other sectors to believe that their customer-facing employees are highly confident in making the most of such information.

  • Capital markets organizations are highly effective in getting information to those who need it most, but lack confidence: Capital markets respondents are much more likely than their counterparts to say that their data analytics functions are highly effective at getting vital information to those who need it the most (52 percent rating the function at least 8 out of 10 for effectiveness, compared to 32 percent in other industries). Yet only 42 percent of capital markets executives believe that line of business leaders, department heads, and managers are highly confident in using such information to support business decisions or improving customer outcomes. In addition, just 36 percent believe that customer-facing employees are highly confident in fully utilizing information. Most (58 percent) say they plan to expand the volume and variety of information available across the organization with a particular emphasis on customer-facing functions.

  • Insurance organizations are less likely to make customer information consistently available to all departments and functions: Insurance respondents are more likely than counterparts in banking and capital markets to say their organization collects data from multiple sources and have access to it from anywhere (46 percent compared to 38 percent in other industries). Yet they are least likely to say that their data analytics function excels at getting vital data to business units that need it most (26 percent vs. 45 percent), and also least likely to say the organization allows access to information sources and data consistently across all departments, including customer-facing employees (14 percent vs 20 percent).

  • Challenges standing in the way of self-service data access vary by company size: Small firms are most challenged by practical difficulties such as internal communications, systems interoperability, information complexity, and lack of standards, while large firms are most challenged by organizational issues such as data ownership issues, end-user training, and accountability of senior leadership. Large firms are most likely to say that they plan to carry out a major transformation of their analytics function (57 percent compared to 52 percent overall) and to expand the volume and variety of information available across the organization while prioritizing customer-facing functions (67 percent compared to 55 percent). Small firms are more likely to say they will invest in new data infrastructure, including delivery platforms for users across the organization (52 percent compared to 47 percent).

“Financial Services firms face the analytical perfect storm: the greatest complexity and frequency of data, combined with the rapid-fire questions that come from the business,” said Duncan Ash, Senior Director, Global Financial Services at Qlik. “The person who can act the fastest in a volatile market stands to profit the most from their decisions, incentivizing business and technology teams to work in unison."

For More Information

For a deeper analysis into the study, join the roundtable webinar Extending Analytics to the Edges of Financial Services. Representatives from Qlik, WSJ. Custom Studios, Citi, and Deloitte will share results from the survey and discuss a variety of topics, including challenges and opportunities when deploying self-service analytics and common analytics use cases across banking, insurance and capital markets. Register here:

About This Research

The insights and commentary found in this report are derived from both a survey and qualitative interviews with financial services executives.  The online survey was conducted between March 28 and April 29, 2016 by WSJ. Insights in part of WSJ. Custom Studios, the marketing research unit of The Wall Street Journal. The 300 respondents were evenly distributed across North America, Europe and Asia. They were spread evenly across the banking, capital markets and insurance sectors, with 60 percent of the companies represented reporting annual revenues greater than $1 billion. Thirty percent of the respondents were C-suite-level technology executives (including CIOs and CTOs), while 21 percent were financial officers (including CFOs) and 15 percent were operations executives (including COOs). Twenty-one percent categorized themselves as directors, executive directors, vice presidents or senior vice presidents.

About WSJ. Custom Studios

WSJ. Custom Studios, the content marketing division within The Wall Street Journal's advertising department, crafts stories that engage consumers and elevate the conversation for brands. Its global team of award-winning editors, designers and interactive developers are all held to the high standards for which The Wall Street Journal is known, resulting in highly original and credible content that resonates with the client's target audience. The Wall Street Journal is a global news organization that provides leading news, information, commentary and analysis. Published by Dow Jones, The Wall Street Journal engages readers across print, digital, mobile, social, and video. Building on its heritage as the preeminent source of global business and financial news, the Journal includes coverage of U.S. & world news, politics, arts, culture, lifestyle, sports, and health. It holds 36 Pulitzer Prizes for outstanding journalism.

About Qlik

Qlik (NASDAQ: QLIK) is a leader in visual analytics. Its portfolio of products meets customers’ growing needs from reporting and self-service visual analysis to guided, embedded and custom analytics. Approximately 39,000 customers rely on Qlik solutions to gain meaning out of information from varied sources, exploring the hidden relationships within data that lead to insights that ignite good ideas. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Qlik has offices around the world with more than 1700 partners covering more than 100 countries.


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