Big data is everywhere, and is on the rise. Data that used to amount to terabytes is now measured in zettabytes—or one billion terabytes. That’s a lot of data floating around the financial services world.

For insurers, big data can create big opportunities. Using data effectively can help improve customer interactions and, with the Internet of Things, can even change the way insurance services are provided. Finance is increasingly becoming a highly analytical function focused on value creation and risk management. Traditional accounting and transaction processing activities are expected to move to a cross-functional, integrated business services model, from which more traditional financial services will be delivered.

Big data brings other gains for insurers too. Many financial firms have continued to struggle in recent years, and profitability hovers at pre-crisis levels, but big data can change that by offering new pathways to profitable growth.

According to a Harvard Business Review study, over a two-year period firms reporting a big data initiative nearly doubled to 63 percent in 2015, and 70 percent already believe big data is of critical importance. In fact, just over half of firms surveyed take big data so seriously that they’ve appointed a chief data officer.

Accenture has found that big data is particularly helpful for the chief financial officers (CFOs) of financial firms and insurers. Our paper, Exploring Next Generation Financial Services: The Big Data Revolution, takes a close look at the ways CFOs can tap into big data to make a significant difference for themselves and their businesses, while still maintaining compliance amidst raising data protection regulations.

In my next few posts, I’ll hone in on how big data can support the insurance CFO. More to come!

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