New oil needs new pipelines

15th February 2022

Much is made, rightly in my slightly biased opinion, of the potential of data to transform everything from the way we live and play to the way we buy and sell houses. What is spoken about less is the requirements of new infrastructure to make these opportunities real for everyone. The most sophisticated data analytics technologies cannot deliver results by themselves.

Data in the 21st Century has been likened to oil back in the 18th Century: an untapped resource and valuable asset. Like oil, it is easy to see huge rewards for those who see the value and learn to extract it. Look at companies like Meta, Google and Apple and you quickly see the value they place upon people’s data in the products and services they offer for free.

We’re in a digital economy where data is more valuable than ever. It’s the key to the smooth working of everything from the government to local businesses. Without it, progress would grind to a halt. But to really make the most of it, businesses need to upgrade their data infrastructure. Old pipelines are not as efficient as they should be and often come at an excessive cost.

To really make the most of the opportunity data presents, mortgage lending businesses, like everyone else, need technical foundations, connectivity and interoperability to ensure the data sets that underpin their businesses are complete, timely and accurate. The internet is its own best example. The myriad of uses to which it has been put all require new technologies from 5G to fibre optic broadband to deliver the data we all consume as part of everyday life and business.

Banks and lenders are making these transitions too – albeit in a very measured way – to convert legacy thinking and delivery into an infrastructure that will allow for better standards of experience and operation over the coming years. It’s not hard to see why. When it comes to leveraging the potential of external data, interoperability is key. Modern networks are the lifeblood of advanced data analytics.

Leading lenders are now paying particular attention to upgrading their systems and networks to improve capabilities for collecting and aggregating vital data from various internal and external sources. Many lenders realise there is now a window in which they can improve their ability to collect and aggregate important data and enjoy greater access to more accurate and timely data. It’s a key reason why IT investment currently includes spending for cloud technologies. The latest technologies reduce the risk of data fragmentation, offer minimal outages, quick and cheap upgrades and powerful APIs that eliminate the kind of problems that can lead to a lack of trust in the accuracy and timeliness of information.

If we are going to make the most of the efficiencies and understanding data can offer the financial sector, then the market will need to understand that data shares more things in common with oil than just its value as a resource.

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