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November 5, 2021

Businesses Have To Prepare For A Data-Driven Future – And Context Is Everything

Dan Onions


Organizations today face some familiar challenges to the past, but in an entirely different context. Managing customer expectations, providing excellent service, offering the right services to clients and combating fraud are all familiar to company leaders. But in an increasingly digital world, consumer demands are on the rise as individuals expect more from the companies they work with, from seamless online experiences to enhanced security to protect their data.

Many companies find themselves constantly behind and playing catch up. The reason? Out-of-date data management systems. These aging systems make it difficult for organizations to keep massive amounts of data in order, leading to mistakes and missed opportunities to do better business. They also leave companies at risk—criminals seek out these systems, relying on the fact that organizations won’t be able to identify fraud quickly or easily enough to prevent fraud before it happens.

These are significant challenges, but challenges that companies can, in fact, manage with the right systems in place.

The Pain Points Around Aging IT Infrastructure

Countless organizations find it difficult to cope with high volumes of customer inquiries, managing accounts and investigating fraud. They generally struggle with this due largely to aging IT infrastructure that keeps their data siloed and nearly impossible to navigate. As the digital world and new technology surfaces, businesses learn that their technology is now increasingly out of date, and if they don’t fix it, they inevitably fall further and further behind in being able to best manage customer needs and to keep their data safe.


A single financial institution, for example, often handles tons of different customers across different parts of their business–think lending, wealth management, etc. Traditionally, even though these business units are under the same financial institution name, they don’t talk to one another, which can provide headache. Clients change addresses, add members to their accounts, and work from multiple devices on a daily basis. However, without the right data foundation in place, it’s not uncommon for banks to send account statements to out-of-date addresses or interact with customers without precision, jeopardizing client relationships.

It’s not just that organizations are making errors with their current customers and the products they use—they’re also missing opportunities to encourage clients to engage with other products and services.

For example, it would be in the best interest of a bank to know whether one of their customers has a child studying overseas. Having this context in place will help make for a smoother experience for the current customer, reducing the likelihood money transfers will be incorrectly flagged as fraudulent. It will also present a decision-making opportunity for the bank to bring in the student as a new, separate customer, increasing product engagement.

Without that context and level of understanding, organizations miss out on fostering positive client relationships, as well as tangible opportunities for financial growth.

Making Better Decisions With Contextual Master Data Management

As things stand, countless organizations manage their data with systems that keep valuable customer information siloed. This makes it difficult for data managers to access and to get a full picture of their customers, creating knowledge gaps and opportunities for fraud. Because many technology solutions struggle with connecting disparate data sources. Organizations spend more effort fighting against the data, rather than being able to leverage it as a way to understand relationships and manage risk.


By using technology, such as entity resolution and network generation, organizations are able to gain full view of customers, not just as lines of data, but as individuals. This full, integrated view can help companies make better decisions across the board, as they’re provided with streaming data that is never old or out of date, giving an organization a complete overview of the person they’re working to understand.

In healthcare settings, for example, organizations with master data management systems in place can access a full view of patients to get a better idea of what they may need, saving time and providing better service to an individual. Having the right contact details in place can help ensure better patient engagement, but a well-rounded operational overview can achieve much more than that.

If healthcare managers can see their patient is making more appointments across different clinical or emergency services, they can intervene more quickly with a patient to make sure they’re having their needs met. This may ultimately improve the relationships between patients and providers, and most importantly, help patients and professionals achieve the health outcomes they strive for.

Organizations that use entity resolution in their master data management will find the benefits are about more than just keeping names and addresses in place. When companies have a full understanding of their customers, they can provide better services, protect client and organizational data and foster client relationships that lead to more business opportunities in the future.

About the author: Dan Onions is Head of Data Management Solutions at Quantexa, a big data analytics and AI company. With over 20 years of experience in transformation consulting and delivery and a deep understanding of technology, he helps clients enable organizational and IT change in the financial services, government, education and logistics spaces. He also has a background in designing and building business critical applications with full lifecycle experiences.

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