The BFS industry is completely dependant on data and analytics and the services to provide these analytics are critical. These services enable analytics data preparation and management, routine business intelligence reporting and dashboarding, advanced analytics modeling and ongoing decision-making for industry-specific use cases, including customer and marketing analytics, fraud, risk and compliance, and portfolio analytics.
To this end, we’re excited to announce the release of our latest Blueprint Report–this one on BFS Analytics Services, authored by HfS Research Director Reetika Joshi‘s exhaustive research to arrive at this comprehensive view of the market. So let’s get an up-close view from Reetika on the Blueprint Report:
Reetika, why have we undertaken an HfS Blueprint on analytics services specifically in banking and financial services?
The BFS industry is heavily reliant on the use of data, and yet the potential for embedding analytics-driven insights into operations is still far greater than adoption. The last few years have seen their focus on risk analytics intensify as regulatory changes and government scrutiny continue to mount. Along with balancing this growing compliance work, banks have also found a renewed interest in customer analytics to orient their growth initiatives. Most banks are not set up to meet digital consumer needs and are now embarking on digital transformation, powered by customer and marketing analytics.
Major banks and financial institutions are once again focusing on the next generation of analytics models, tools, and skillsets. We see demand from BFS clients across fraud, risk and compliance, AML/KYC, and customer and marketing analytics. Enterprise buyers in this industry are either unable to find the talent they need, for areas like specialized fraud, risk and compliance, or technology platform expertise, or are unable to afford it at the level of scale needed today—leading us to undertake this Blueprint to understand market direction. We see BFS clients trying to balance and complement their internal analytics teams with the global talent access that some service providers can bring them.
So how would you describe the current state of BFS analytics services?
For most service providers, big data and analytics services are the fastest-growing businesses in their portfolios, with significant revenues coming from BFS clients. This is due to the growing adoption of data-driven decision making within different parts of the enterprise for BFS buyers, and the need for more analytical support than internal staff can support.
Service providers have doubled down on BFS verticalization in their analytics portfolios, turning initial work with clients for analytics modeling and reporting into portfolios of pre-packaged industry-specific use cases and catalogues. As service buyers consistently stress the need for domain expertise from service providers, we see service providers strengthening industry training programs and hiring professionals from BFS industry backgrounds to increase contextual understanding and allowing for more meaningful analysis. We see the types of BFS analytics solutions changing today, with the next level of analytics use case development. BFS analytics services buyers seek the following:
- The application of cross-vertical learnings to banking, especially from other consumer-facing industries that have progressed in customer experience analytics (e.g., from telecom to retail banking)
- The incorporation of newer sources of data into existing analytical models to gain new insights into fraud, risk, and marketing (e.g., sensors, geolocation mobile data, and web and social data)
- The exploration of modern business intelligence and reporting applications and tools, big data infrastructure, and advanced analytics platforms (e.g., cloud-based data warehousing, the mobile delivery of reports, and insights)
These initiatives are step changes for in-house data and analytics teams that are already struggling just to keep up with the demand from a growing list of internal clients. Service providers are bringing in the skills, technology, and scale to these categories coming from investments in the last few years in this industry vertical. We see this market as gradually transitioning, with service buyers and providers becoming more collaborative and focused on solving business problems to improve the outcomes for different functions within banking and financial services organizations. We view this as a step in the direction of a transition to the As-a-Service Economy, with service buyers leveraging their service providers more strategically for their big data and analytics needs.
Which service providers are leading this market today, Reetika?
The banking and financial services industry vertical has historically been the biggest revenue contributor for most service providers in our evaluation. They have developed meaningful relationships with BFS clients across the globe by taking on outsourced IT services, infrastructure, and BPO services. In the last decade, they expanded services to include data management, reporting, and analytics across industry-specific and horizontal business functions. As a result, today we observe a significantly mature set of service providers that have strategically invested in this vertical, have strong multi-tower relationships with their clients and have both analytics services and technology expertise across different BFS business needs. This is visible in our Blueprint grid results with several As-a-Service Winner’s Circle and High Performer positions from leading service providers in this market:
- Accenture is creating an industrialized analytics model using FinTech networks and innovation
- Cognizant is fostering specialized talent for BFS analytics and platforms
- EXL has been described as an “extension to the advanced analytics team” by its BFS clientsGenpact is augmenting niche BFS talent development with a new IP-led strategy
- IBM is introducing its BFS clients to the potential of cognitive risk management with Watson
- Infosys is investing in analytics platform specializations to drive new value for its BFS clients
- TCS is a BFS domain expert bringing automation to legacy analytics engagements
High Performers in this study include:
- Standalone analytics specialists, Mu-Sigma and Fractal analytics that have a loyal client base of BFS clients that see them as business problem solvers.
- Capgemini and Wipro that are pivoting from their experience in data management, BI and routine reporting to invest in analytics, with Capgemini driving customer experience analytics and Wipro focusing on cognitive and analytical solutions in risk and compliance.
Due to multi-faceted demand, service providers have evolved their analytics practices in different ways, e.g., EXL and Genpact have more large scale, multi-year BFS engagements, while Accenture and IBM have more experience with projects and consulting services for banking clients. The Winner’s Circle and High Performers are now developing adjacent capabilities on the back of these traditional strengths. So BFS clients are advised to take a new look at their analytics service provider to freshly evaluate their capabilities. In the last few years, service providers have undertaken several acquisitions and other investments in developing critical thinking, data sciences, and analytics technology platforms. Due to past perceptions of capability, we see the pigeonholing of service providers as a key inhibitor to partnering at a strategic level. There is an opportunity here for service buyers to collaborate and influence market direction for strategic partners at this stage of their growth, where they are extremely amenable to making investments in BFS-specific solutions.
Finally, what recommendations do you have for BFS analytics service providers in 2016?
- Facilitate Industry Collaboration: Barring a couple of Winner’s Circle leaders, the majority of service providers lack the ability to act as facilitators for sharing ideas across companies in their client base. BFS clients in our research stress that they would really value the opportunity to connect through forums, etc. with other enterprise analytics users, academic communities, and FinTech startups to understand next-generation analytics developments. While it is difficult to orchestrate given confidentiality concerns in the banking industry, clients would also value cross-industry perspectives, especially for consumer-facing verticals that have rapidly advanced their analytics adoption in the last few years.
- Find New Ways of Lowering Costs: In the near term, there is still value to be found in leveraging offshore talent for BFS analytics, and this is an area of utmost importance to BFS clients. However, the costs continue to rise year after year for Indian analytics data scientists, PhDs, and analysts. Service providers must continue to explore cost controlling levers, including hiring in Tier III locations, and building in more automation to eliminate work (and pass on savings to clients).
- Above Everything, Have an Iron-proof Global Talent Strategy: We see a few service providers like Accenture, Genpact, Infosys, and EXL focus on expanding the talent pool and contributing to curriculum development with university tie-ups across global talent locations. As the data sciences field continues to grow, BFS-specific specializations in risk and compliance will command greater attention from clients.
Reetika Joshi can be tweeted at @joshireetika.
HfS subscribers click here to access the new HfS Blueprint Report: BFS Analytics Services
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