Big data: worth the wait9 January 2014
While segmentation of a customer base and accurate profiling of superannuation fund members has been a long held dream of marketers, the digital age has brought the dream alive. Technology now enables more accurate collection of data than ever before, covering wider ranges of customer activity. Segmentation based only on age and gender is well and truly a thing of the past. We can now realistically expect to know our members as well as we know our own family…or close to it!
At the same time, a higher level of transparency has been created through the closer relationship that technology has delivered between super funds and members. We can see members more clearly, and they can see us. They have greater awareness of their superannuation and greater expectations regarding the quality of service they should expect, compared to the old days when they received little more than their annual statement and the fund’s annual report. These days members expect 24/7 access to their accounts, mobile functionality is a given, websites need to be rich and relevant, and much more is expected of content, product choices, etc.
The beauty is that as members go online, we learn more and more about them. By overlaying some extra data, which in this digital age is relatively cheap and accessible, we can understand even more.
So, segmentation and data management have been on the agenda for many years, but it’s now becoming a realistic opportunity for many more businesses as the digital age has a more and more pervasive influence. However, the volume of data is daunting. How to manage it?
Managed services offered by many technology vendors can provide a cost effective infrastructure alternative to hosting and managing data in house. Using the cloud means that the data sits on the suppliers’ infrastructure, enabling a growing volume of data. Together with a modern CRM system, this data can be managed to yield a wealth of information. Demographic data can enrich this information. Data scientists develop algorithms to manipulate the data: this field has become much more accessible and affordable in line with the growth of the information age.
Competition in the superannuation industry will be driven by who knows the customer best. And this won’t necessarily be established players. Expect new entrants, who could well specialise in the field of data mining, rather than fund management or superannuation administration. By managing data about members from multiple sources, a new entrant could very easily deliver a compelling proposition to successfully target (your) members.
The fundamental component driving this new world of understanding is access to member data within a super fund. Multiple legacy systems which don’t connect with each other mean there is no single, cohesive, customer record – so any analysis is bound to be incomplete.
Today, wealth management administration systems built on modern agile technology enable a single view of the customer, even though they may include legacy products currently running on old systems. Modern technology means that accessibility to usable data will remain current long in to the future, as new products brought to market are enabled with no IT support, through flexible configuration, rather than through a complex IT build independent of old or existing products.
Effective segmentation and data analytics are now very much a reality, and will inevitably become an essential component of superannuation administration. Delivering high quality member services, targeted communications, and processes designed to fit member needs rather than administration requirements: all this relies on good quality data and analytics. Data is no longer the realm of the marketing department, it’s the vital component of each member interaction. The foundation for achieving benchmark performance in all these areas is an administration system with modern technology.