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4 challenges financial institutions have that can be solved with dashboards and reporting

Nov 05, 2020

By Kate Brown, Bill Jentarra, and Jeff Ballard

In this increasingly digital world, financial institutions may be wondering if they have the technology they need to stay relevant and competitive. Reporting is something every institution needs to make effective decisions in the short-term and long-term. But sometimes it’s hard to make the leap from what you’re currently doing to trusting that new technology will give you the return on investment you need.

If you’ve heard about the power of reporting tools and the value of their customizable dashboards — if you’re wondering whether the data is as real-time as promised and the insights gained are that good — we first need to back up and start closer to the beginning. Let’s take a look at the actual challenges you could solve by using dashboards and reporting tools.

Here are four common financial institution challenges, and the opportunities you have to solve them:

1. Your financial institution has an increasingly massive amount of data to work with, but by the time your IT team finishes manually creating reports, the opportunity for your executive team to use that data to make effective business decisions has passed.

Manually sifting through data and creating reports with different views is one of the biggest ways financial institutions lose efficiency. Your IT team should be focused on core priorities, not performing the same work that a machine can in a fraction of the time. Yet many financial institutions don’t fully realize how significant the time and effort burden is on the employees responsible for creating reports. It can be wasted effort, too, because the reports take so long to put together that the data is outdated by the time it gets to executive hands, and the need to use the data to make a business decision may have already passed.

The true opportunity: Leverage a system that’s designed to create reports and visualize real-time data via customizable dashboards. The system constantly updates data and provides insights, enabling your executive team to make faster and more effective business decisions — such as enhancing your member experience, increasing the profitability of your loan portfolio, or analyzing and taking action on cash management.

4 challenges financial institutions have that can be solved with dashboards and reporting

A look at the wide variety of information and insights dashboards can provide financial institutions.

2. Your financial institution is using the native capabilities of your core systems for reporting, but that’s not what they were designed for. You still have distinct silos between departments. And you’re having trouble identifying what decisions are critical to make in the short-, medium- and long-term.

One of every business’s longstanding goals is determining how to run the business more efficiently. Another typical goal is providing a better client experience. And what about reducing or eliminating silos between departments? All three are hard to accomplish when you’re relying on core systems to do things outside their scope of expertise. How are your core systems helping you identify which clients are most profitable and what additional products or services they truly need that you can target them with? Do all employees have access to and are able to make decisions based off the same data?

The true opportunity: Implement a system that’s not only designed specifically for reporting but also integrates with your existing core systems — providing your financial institution with one 360-degree view of your business. The system shouldn’t replace core systems but rather provide a single place to collect, analyze and visualize data. This has the added benefit of giving employees one single version of the truth and helping to simplify and standardize the way they interpret and use data. This, in turn, not only promotes better decision-making but also creates greater efficiency. And by collecting data in one place and properly analyzing it, you can learn what your clients’ needs, wants and goals are, and take actions that improve their experience and turn them into loyal customers. 

Take auto loans for example. If you’re selling auto loans at five years, but the majority of those loans are paid off in 18 months and then the customer no longer does business with you, that’s a missed opportunity to grow the relationship. How many long-term clients has your financial institution missed out on because 1) you didn’t have the data readily available to tell you that you were about to lose them, and 2) you didn’t have the data needed to help you understand what products or services you could have sold them to keep them?

3. Your financial institution is struggling to stay relevant to consumers who have more and more options, as well as to keep up with or surpass the competition.

Technology enables fintech and financial services businesses to reach clients no matter where they are: work, home and on the go. Traffic to brick-and-mortar financial institutions keeps decreasing. 

But how to stay relevant is unique to your financial institution. You have to know who your clients are down to the minutia. Only then can you identify what actions you can take to better meet their needs and improve their satisfaction and engagement.

Above, we talked about the inefficiencies of using your core systems to gain insights. Another consideration is: If you’re relying on gaining insights from a tool that all of your competitors are using, what competitive advantage do you really have over them? What additional insights can you glean that your competitors can’t?

The true opportunity: Technology designed to give you truly valuable insights will enable you to improve your product offerings; build a better client experience, based on each individual client; and empower your employees to know how to make every client interaction meaningful — how to reach out to a client before they even know they need you. All of these actions are enabled by gaining better analytics and reporting within an organization (along with appropriate data literacy training and good change management tactics). You have to have the data and know what it’s telling you in order to take action.

4. Your financial institution is concerned about clients who have become unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic but have loan commitments. 

What was once a non-risky loan has become risky — making proper risk mitigation huge for financial institutions right now. And that makes forecasting critically important, too. Yet forecasting is incredibly time-consuming, which means you’re losing efficiency, and then you’re having to make decisions based off stale insights. 

The true opportunity: Technology designed for reporting and dashboarding can help you look at your portfolio and forecast potential loan defaults. You can quickly learn risk trends, view the attributes that are risk drivers, look at different timeframes and scenarios, and create actual simulations. You can slice and dice data in ways that help you make effective decisions and reduce risk.

What type of dashboards and reporting does your financial institution need?

Everyone’s business is different, so dashboards and reports are very personal to the financial institution using them. There are a variety of technologies that could work for you, depending on your needs and goals. Everything from business intelligence tools like Microsoft Power BI and Qlik Sense to customer relationship management (CRM) systems like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 can help you break down silos, create one source of data truth, provide custom dashboards and reports, and save your employees a significant amount of time and effort.

Wipfli can help you determine the best path forward. Our team of experienced professionals provides a wide range of services, including software selection, software implementation, training and change management, technology management, and cybersecurity and risk management. Click here to learn more, or continue reading on:

Seven steps to integrate data and consolidate your business view
How CRM helps the financial industry
How Salesforce helps the financial industry


Kate E. Brown
Senior Manager, Technology
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