Fortimize Blog

3 Ways Banking Leaders Can Transform Data Through Company Culture

November 1, 2021

Fortimize recently convened our Banking Advisory Board for our monthly meeting. The topic? Data, data, and more DATA!

Data is a top-of-mind challenge and opportunity for banks of all sizes, but especially those we consistently speak with in the <$20B asset segment. Specifically, there are 3 areas that must be focused on to help banks navigate their current state to achieve their vision:

  • Data access
  • Data consumption
  • Data culture

When it comes to data and culture, getting the majority of a bank’s employees on the same page is crucial. The industry term for this you may have heard is “data literacy”. In fact, Gartner ranks data literacy as the second-biggest roadblock to a Chief Data Officer’s success. Here are 3 tips on where banking leaders can focus to help unlock their organization’s data:

  • Data stewardship – refers to the practices and processes that exist (or don’t!) at the bank, and is critical to ensure the bank’s data is accessible, usable, safe and trusted. Documented processes that are co-created with key stakeholders increase users’ confidence in data, and therefore the likelihood that new practices are adopted. Data Stewardship  is a crucial first step to set the foundation for trust and success.
  • Data Dictionaries and Catalogs– Once data practices and processes have been documented with the bank’s stakeholders, a strong next step would be to create a single-source-of-truth data dictionary. This is a reference guide for all of a bank’s employees that explains the meaning of available fields and field types, and also provides examples of the business value that is derived from various dimensions of data. Adding a data catalog to the mix will then empower your users to navigate to the data at the bank, by providing them a dewey decimal system-like interface. 
  • Train and track – Banks should consider benchmarking their workforce, and identifying gaps in data literacy. Consider role-based definitions and milestones for data literacy–as with so many areas of the business, one size does not fit all! Banking leaders should consider partnering with HR leaders to identify, or create, programs for building team and departmental data competency in a deliberate fashion to increase the likelihood of success for the transformation.

With the proliferation of platforms and solutions for data that banking leaders may be exposed to, the culture of the bank itself and how employees will adopt and adapt is very easy to be overlooked. But if our Banking Advisory Board discussion is any indication, a bank’s culture of data may in fact be the key that unlocks the technology–and not the other way around!


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