By Christian Nentwhich, CEO, Duco.
When businesses are looking to improve their operations, they frequently look at their data. Capital market participants use data to provide pre and post-trade analysis to make more informed trading decisions. Businesses use financial management tools to streamline internal operations. Medical facilities use data to manage patient records and create a more centralised approach to record keeping. These are just three examples demonstrating that better use of data drives results.
To quote Google’s Research Director, Peter Norvig: “More data beats clever algorithms, but better data beats more data.” Better data management can solve a number of issues for businesses, but the process of implementing improvements can be so convoluted and burdensome, many changes are scrapped before they even get off the ground.
This is why the introduction and increasing proliferation of no-code solutions holds so much promise. As the name suggests, these tools don’t require any technical experience to build or customise, and can be implemented in a matter of hours. No-code tools are designed with the end user, not technical teams, in mind, making solutions more accessible and understandable. This empowers the end user, who actually understands the data, to make more nuanced decisions about data application and management.
No-code tools are changing the entire implementation cycle of data quality and automation rules. Business users can now create the necessary data quality controls themselves, which is faster, more agile, and frees up the firm’s developers to focus on other tasks. End users can eliminate manual work, as manual processes are no longer required to plug the gaps between systems when leaning on the IT team to code bespoke data controls is not timely or cost-effective.
This removes the friction between systems, enabling firms to achieve far greater levels of data automation than they ever have before. This technology also shifts the management of data to end users who understand it, which enables business agility rather than a lengthy process of conversations between businesses and IT.
Let’s examine how financial data can be better managed in more depth to better understand the value provided by no-code solutions.
As data grows in quantity, managing it becomes more of a challenge. Myriad formats and sizes are collected, and the challenge increasingly becomes how to organise and extract insight from all of these different types of data. A growing number of tools are designed to ameliorate the issue, but many potential solutions only create additional problems. Interoperability challenges between services have left firms with extremely convoluted technology stacks reliant upon teams of developers. Even with all of this infrastructure, access to accurate and up-to-date data can be hard to find.
If you cast an eye over the market today, the number of services and tools available to deploy to improve all facets of a business is vast. Third-party technology companies, alongside in-house developers, are growing as businesses look to improve workflows. The appetite is there, but in order to leverage the benefits businesses need to first address what fuels these projects – better data management and the desire for better analytics from this data.
Currently, most businesses are handling huge swathes of data manually. Manual data input and management creates the possibility of human error, which is costly and can cause major problems that can impact business operations and bottom lines. Data automation can prevent this by ensuring the accuracy of data, helping firms drive better strategic decisions, feed downstream analytics tools, enhance workflow and train machine learning platforms.
But implementing these improvements means wrestling with the frequently convoluted nature of a firm’s technology landscape. The proliferation of many hard-coded, point-based solutions leaves businesses reliant on IT. This creates bottlenecks and large hand-off points – and means firms can’t move quickly. Often, users have a choice between a long and costly implementation period run by external consultants or their own IT team, or introducing risk by spinning something up quickly themselves on a spreadsheet. Neither option is particularly appealing.
Managing financial data – a growing challenge
These challenges are particularly acute in financial services. Companies collect complex data that frequently spans financial products and asset classes. Different parties have different systems, and there is an overall lack of standardisation across the financial landscape.
Financial services companies need the capability to process their data with efficiency, accuracy, and speed to optimise workflow and remove unnecessary burden on employees or have a significant impact on their P&L. They also need to cut their development times, so they can bring new products and features to markets in response to changing market conditions. And then, of course, there’s a myriad of ever changing regulatory reporting requirements to consider.
Right now many financial organisations are investing more in technology but still struggling with results. In a recent report from Duco, 42% of firms surveyed struggle with data quality and integrity in their organisation. This is despite increasing spending on technology: this year UK banks are projected to spend £10.68 billion on technology.
Despite the spend, it can often be an incredibly frustrating and long process before actual solutions and benefits are delivered. On average, it takes 36 months for a typical technology solution to be constructed and deployed. Even then, bugs, updates and further development all lead to a longer lead time before solutions are market ready. Moving towards no-code solutions is a critical step in getting out of this cycle of higher spending yet falling short of what’s needed to become truly prepared for today’s environment.
Why no-code technology is transforming financial services
No-code solutions more than halve this time to market and dramatically shorten implementation timelines. Even once built, hard-coded solutions can take anywhere from a month to three months to implement. No-code solutions reduce this time to a day or even a few hours. Once implemented, these solutions can be managed, viewed and analysed in seconds all from a single set-up. End users can manage and maintain the solutions, instead of being reliant on a team of developers.
No-code solutions can help firms dealing with changing regulatory requirements, such as the forthcoming EMIR REFIT in European regulation. Companies have limited time to prepare, often with incomplete or changing advice about implementation. Adjustments are required as rules become clearer or as regulation goes live. Rather than briefing and re-briefing an IT department, no code allows these adjustments to be made quickly inside the business itself.
By leveraging this technology, firms can prepare, reconcile, and govern vast amounts of data with speed, collaboration, accessibility, and cost saving so that they can respond more efficiently to market changes and customer needs. This is no longer an edge case – almost half (49%) of the industry is already considering no-code solutions and data automation. In an increasingly competitive, regulated and cost-controlled industry, businesses looking to build or retain an edge are looking to innovate. Embracing a no-code solution will drive down development costs and deliver actionable and tangible benefits in a fraction of the time.
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