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The next step for data in business

The COVID pandemic has helped make clear the importance of using data-led insights to set a path through times of crisis and beyond, according to Emma Gray, for both ANZ and the organisations it banks.

Like many businesses, ANZ has recorded a spike in digital interaction throughout the pandemic-related lockdown, in some cases seeing online interaction spike fivefold. With that comes an equivalent rise in data.

Speaking to Bloomberg as part of an ANZ-sponsored panel discussion, Gray - Group Executive, Data & Automation at ANZ – said the real value for the bank and its customers came in how that data is applied.

“I think the next stage of it is really what we do with that data,” she said. “How we rethink processes and outcomes that are linked to customer and banker benefits.”

Gray said the strategic use of data has allowed ANZ to have deeper conversations with its clients.

“We have a dedicated data capability which is helping our institutional clients with some of their decisions,” she said. “[Decisions like] who do we sell to? What do we sell?”

The data can help clients understand changing consumer behaviour or spending patterns, learn how similar businesses are faring, and spot patterns offering insight into what they can do better, Gray said.

ANZ has also worked closely with government throughout the crisis to provide de-identified data and insights into how the virus impacts consumers and businesses.

While it has come into sharper focus during the crisis, Gray said ANZ has been maturing its data capability for some time.

“[Years ago ANZ] realised open banking was going to herald a lot more competition, which meant the bank needed to be in a much better position to understand its own customers,” she said.

That meant cleaning up its data and making sure it could “use the data for customer benefit, both retail customers as well as our institutional customers in a way that’s carefully governed and controlled,” Gray said.

“We've been on the journey for a long time and it's been a source of differentiation for us.”

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