In 2014, PeoplesBank was new to the data warehousing and business intelligence concept. But the $2 billion, Western Massachusetts-based bank wanted to make it a reality and go in the direction of a single source for all their data. It needed to have the visualization tools needed to push content throughout the enterprise.
According to PeoplesBank Senior Vice President, CFO & Treasurer Brian M. Canina, the financial institution was looking to achieve this reality by improving its operations in this area, to better understand and serve its growing customer base. Canina adds that his bank gains and archives an incredible amount of customer data, but none of it was organized very well to analyze efficiently and effectively. The goal for PeoplesBank was, again, to organize this data and better understand its customers, identifying different channels for development and delivery of new products and services.
“This goal required a deeper look at what our customers were doing in regards to their financial behavior with us,” Canina says. “Much of what was holding us back was the amount of time it took to analyze the data. It would take us months to access and analyze it. It took too long and we would be late to the game with much-needed services. In our highly competitive and evolving financial services marketplace, you can’t afford to be slow.”
He adds that this inefficiency often prompted his team to rely on their intuition to recognize customer patterns and develop new services. “You can’t do business like that anymore – especially with all the changes that are constantly occurring today,” he says.
Because of PeoplesBank’s persistent data analysis paralysis, it needed an answer to help expedite this process and bring new services to its customers much sooner – which would also help it compete more effectively. The search for an answer was on.
PeoplesBank’s research led them to uncover Lodestar’s technology that same year (2014). Its data warehousing and analytics solutions would provide the ideal synergy with the bank’s core to analyze customer data much more efficiently. The eye-opening results since have been significant.
Canina says that instead of taking two months to analyze and organize specific data to create a new product or service, it now takes only a couple days to complete the same task. This massive, time savings has leveled the playing field with its larger financial competitors, allowing it to develop and deliver new services that their customers need in a fraction of the time.
For example, daily, monthly, and annual reporting used to be conducted manually – which obviously took a long time with a huge amount of labor. Today, this reporting has all been automated, creating huge efficiencies for the bank. “We have saved so much time and resources creating these reports on a regular basis,” Canina says. “We can now allocate those resources to other important areas of the enterprise to increase business. But this was just step one.”
Step two called for PeoplesBank to leverage Lodestar’s powerful data analysis capabilities to analyze customer data and discover how they are doing business with the bank.
“We really like the robustness of its reporting capabilities and enhanced operation efficiencies,” Canina explains. “It allows us to conduct comprehensive account reviews and complete exponentially more tasks on our core.”
Canina adds that Lodestar’s technology complements PeoplesBank’s core, such as providing specific-designed reports on transactions and customer data. “Our alignment between Lodestar and our core allows us to move strategically more on our timeframe,” he says, being able to bring more products and services to market quicker. “We like that and so do our customers.”
Canina adds that partnering with Lodestar provides PeoplesBank with the opportunity to integrate with other software products and add on modules in the future. “We feel that Lodestar is not just providing us with a data analysis and reporting system,” he says. “We are partnering with an up-and-coming organization working on new capabilities that will allow us to compete better in the marketplace and provide better products and services to our customers.”
Canina says he looks forward to continuing to work together with Lodestar, identifying different ways to analyze customer data more effectively and creating products based on that important information. In addition, he also wants to continue creating new operations and reporting efficiencies to make PeoplesBank more agile in bringing those new products to market much faster.
For example, Canina sees the bank using Lodestar’s technology in a more “Big Data 2.0” fashion, pulling external data from other resources such as demographic, census, etc. to dive deeper into its customer base and further individualize products and services for them – which is where the future of financial services lies.
“The more we learn about our customers, the better we can help them,” he says of utilizing technologies like Lodestar’s. “Even with limited resources, PeoplesBank is now able to offer innovative products and services and remain the leader in the region.”
To display its commitment to this technology, PeoplesBank recently hired a Business Intelligence Manager to help them grow and manage its product line based on Lodestar’s data warehousing and analytics solutions. This hire will help further refine the bank’s customer data and deliver timely products and services.