RESEARCH & RESOURCES

CASE STUDY - Top Wealth Management Firm Cleans Up with Data Flow Technology

Commentary by Data Warehouse Director, Large Private Bank

Group 1 is used by many leading financial institutions to deliver integrated, accurate information to thousands of decision makers. Some banks have also taken advantage of Group 1’s unique data flow technology to transform their entire data infrastructure. One wealth management firm in particular has used Group 1 to turn a chaotic patchwork of spreadsheets and databases into a streamlined, sophisticated data management system that seamlessly feeds everything from their main data warehouse to the bank’s anti-money-laundering applications.

The Business

As a private wealth management institution built on the foundation of personalized, “old-fashioned” banking services, the bank prides itself on providing customers with an outstanding level of personal service. The bank is known for its wide variety of personal and business deposit products, private banking, and investment advisory services to meet clients’ needs. As specialists in luxury home lending, the bank also offers a broad range of lending options, from traditional fixed-rate and adjustable-rate residential mortgages to customized construction and renovation loans.

Initially envisioned as a straight ETL (extract, transform, and load) solution, the Group 1 system has evolved to power both dataware housing as well as reporting, and has helped transform the bank’s entire data management infrastructure.

The Challenge

Delivering personalized, “high-touch” service requires a sophisticated, integrated data management environment. However, the bank had recently undertaken a number of strategic acquisitions, and as is often the case in M&A situations, these acquisitions brought more than just new customers to the table. Within a short period, the bank’s IT department found itself coping with disparate product and customer databases, new and inconsistent data naming conventions, multiple analysis and reporting methods, and manual data movement processes, among other issues. To meet their information needs in this confusing environment, departments within the bank had taken to relying on cumbersome spreadsheets and rapidly proliferating data marts to work around the complicated system. Hand data entry and manual data loading processes were commonplace; unfortunately, few of these processes were documented along the way. The bank realized that the system needed improvement if it was to continue its steady path of growth.

The Solution
Data access and integration

The bank turned to Group 1’s Sagent Data Flow technology to help build a streamlined data warehousing environment. According to the bank’s IT director, Group 1 was selected from among a number of leading vendors for its “ease of use and its strong automation and visualization capabilities,” and because of Group 1’s fast proof-of-concept feature that had a solution up and running in a matter of days. While initially envisioned as a straight ETL (extract, transform, and load) solution, the Group 1 system has evolved to power both data warehousing as well as reporting, and has helped transform the bank’s entire data management infrastructure.

The Group 1 ETL system pulls data directly from an offsite DB2 database, external application files, as well as internal SQL Server databases, and automatically transforms and moves the integrated data to the bank’s data warehouse and other target databases, such as the bank’s anti-money-laundering database. With Group 1’s ability to access a wide variety of data sources, relational databases, flat files, and application repositories, the bank can quickly and easily integrate new external and internal data sources into its data warehousing mix.

Data Manipulation

Group 1 Software is also being used to generate both ad hoc and automated reports for several hundred users. Group 1’s powerful transformation capabilities mean that users can formulate complex queries that get results in an instant, even against data that has to be transformed on the fly… a capability the bank says “has put Group 1 far ahead of other tools that only accommodate simple queries.” The bank also takes full advantage of Group 1’s powerful visual development environment, which speeds and simplifies the creation of sophisticated data transformations, to execute quick queries that allow them to explore data without having to rely on data exploration tools.

The Results
Reduced costs, increased revenues

Group 1 Software has given the bank accelerated access to critical data by increasing the number of data loads they are able to execute on a monthly basis. Whereas two years ago the bank was only able to achieve three or four data loads monthly, they can now do 15 to 20 data loads on a daily basis.

While faster access to data has enabled the bank’s information consumers to make better business decisions, it has also had significant cost benefits. For example, with daily data loads, the data management group is able to supply users with the necessary data for compliance with government regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and the USA Patriot Act. According to the bank’s IT director, having their applications vendors supply the necessary data extracts for these activities would have added significant cost to the budget.

The bank’s IT director estimates that Group 1’s automation capabilities have reduced the loadand validation process from two to three man-hours per day to just 10 minutes.

Greater automation and streamlined operations have also helped keep IT resource costs low. In fact, the bank’s IT director estimates that Group 1’s automation capabilities have reduced the load and validation process from two to three man-hours per day to just 10 minutes. The bank has been able to grow the business without adding many IT staff, something the bank’s IT director feels “would not have been possible in the old manual spreadsheet environment.”

Stronger customer relationships

Finally, this streamlined data management system has enabled the bank’s relationship managers to have fast and consolidated access to the information they need to best service the bank’s clients, which is, for this bank, the most important benefit. While the bank might pride itself on delivering banking services “the old-fashioned way,” technology from Group 1 is helping them achieve that level of old-fashioned, personal service.

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