Data vs Insights

Big Data. Business Analytics. Actionable Insights. These buzzwords are rife in the market. The problem is, they sometimes become interchangeable, when in fact they mean very different things.

Data can be any character, text, word, or number, and if not put into context, means little or nothing to anyone.

Information is when data is formatted in a way that allows it to be utilised by us in some significant way. For example, when data is turned into reports, charts or dashboards.

Insights are when this information is analysed and conclusions are drawn from it.

Actionable Insights occur when they influence decisions and drive change.

Forbes have a great article on these differences, using a great example of the FitBit.

In our blog about multi-branch reporting, we discuss how insights and reports can help Credit Unions align things like their opening hours and marketing efforts to their overall business strategy.

But these insights are only as good as the raw data that sits underneath.

As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once said, ‘Data! Data! Data! I can’t make bricks without clay!’. His famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, couldn’t form any theories or draw any conclusions until he had sufficient evidence (i.e. data).

This is no different for Credit Unions.

FinTech companies are waking up to the concept of data capital; that the data they hold, once turned into information and then insights, is the most important determinant of their future success.

Your core Credit Union system should host a wealth of data, not just in abundance (as more data doesn’t necessarily mean better data), but in quality too.

Make sure your core system gathers data that helps you best analyse your members.

Some systems capture the data on an account basis. This means Credit Union staff need to look up data based on accounts. For example, if a member applies for a loan, the staff need to ask them for their account number (or multiple account numbers if applicable). The member of staff will then look up the different accounts, one by one, and analyse the member’s finances, and whether they are eligible for a loan. This approach takes up a lot of time for the staff member, and can result human error, or vital information being missed, for example, a joint account is missed entirely. It is also an AML/fraud risk.

Other systems, like our core solution Scion, take a more member-centric approach, and allow Credit Unions to look up data based on members, including all related accounts, allowing a more holistic view of data. If a member applies for a loan, the staff member simply needs to look up the member in their system, and all their accounts and data will come up. There’s no risk of missing an account or other important information. Overall this allows for better decision-making when it comes to loan applications, or other services for their members.

If your core system handles things like EFT processing and Credit Referencing Agencies or other data sources, and integrates with things like Digital Member Onboarding, and Digital Signatures, then data captured is more likely to be accurate. Data is direct from the source, with less risk of human error, and your system will provide one source of truth.

All of this means that data is of greater quality and accuracy, which inevitably will result in better insights to your members.

To learn more about our core Credit Union system, Scion, contact a member of the team today.

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