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How Banks Can Harness Data to Reinvent the Customer Experience

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By Robert Koury, Managing Partner at Vertical Trail

Digital banking has evolved significantly over the past decade, completely transforming the financial marketplace. It has become commonplace for banking customers to use mobile apps and online portals for many banking needs.

There are countless apps dedicated to transferring money—and even more for budgeting, saving, and investing. In more and more retail spaces, purchase transactions can be completed with just a tap of your mobile device. People have become accustomed to having their finances at their fingertips.

Because of this digital transformation, banks have more data than ever. The industry is under rapid expansion, forcing banks to quickly evolve supporting technology. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has proven to be an excellent platform for a modern and prompt response.

At Vertical Trail, an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Consulting Partner with the Data & Analytics Competency, we have developed a pointed offering to help the financial services industry address the common data challenges they encounter.

Vertical Trail’s Financial Data Hub gives banks the ability to obtain reliable insights from their data and convert them into transformative action. Our banking technologists worked with AWS and Snowflake solutions teams to create and validate the Financial Data Hub.

Customer Success

We recently deployed the Financial Data Hub for a mid-sized bank that’s been serving the financial needs of businesses and individuals for more than 100 years.

Financial services organizations require real-time and consistent data within a secure environment that can quickly deliver accurate insights to remain competitive and provide personalized customer experiences.

We created the Financial Hub Data to provide swift deployment of what we believe is the most important solution for the industry right now. For these reasons, Vertical Trail was selected by the bank to assist with their digital transformation.

The bank had been experiencing significant growth over the past three years. Their projected expansion forced them to expand their current technology capabilities and improve their ability to make data-driven decisions.

They needed new systems that were scalable, provided instantaneous access to information, and adhered to strict standards of security and compliance. The bank’s goal was to become an organization that can quickly make decisions based on quality reporting systems and information.

Financial Data Hub-1

Figure 1 – Financial Data Hub gives banks the ability to obtain reliable insights from their data.

Architecture

The Financial Data Hub uses an industry-specific reference architecture, as shown in Figure 2. It’s built with the most secure technologies for PCI, HIPPA, ISO 9000, SOC 2 Type II, and other industry standards of compliance.

Vertical Trail’s Financial Data Hub is a secure environment built with a data pipeline integrating the necessary data environments with the AWS-hosted Snowflake Data Warehouse. Snowflake is an AWS Competency Partner, and their data warehouse allows corporate users to store and analyze data using cloud-based hardware and software.

As part of the Financial Data Hub solution, Snowflake consolidates siloed data onto a single, scalable platform. Snowflake’s secure data warehouse meets the strictest corporate security standards and reporting regulations, making the platform optimal for financial services organizations.

We also utilized HashiCorp for many of the bank’s automation and DevOps tools as part of the Financial Data Hub. HashiCorp is an AWS Competency Partner as well, offering open-source tools for secure infrastructure and applications, as well as features like governance tools and support for audit trails.

Together, our Financial Data Hub environment helped the bank with:

  • Data consolidation with one simple platform for ease of use.
  • Highest level of security, meeting security compliances and reporting requirements.
  • Visualizations allowing executives to make key decisions.
  • Pay-as-you-go technologies providing ease of scalability.

Financial Data Hub Reference Architecture-1

Figure 2 – Bank-end serverless architecture highlights the application of big data components and capacity for growth.

AWS Services

The key technologies in Vertical Trail’s Financial Data Hub were chosen for their security and compliance components, big data capabilities, and capacity for growth.

AWS Lambda is used as the solution’s gatekeeper for processing Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) files and transforming the tables. New file arrivals in Amazon S3 trigger the Lambda function and create the task work order in Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS). The work orders are then picked up by Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), which utilizes AWS Fargate to perform the task.

The successfully completed tasks are promoted to next stage, and Lambda is triggered to create the work order for the next stage in SQS. The process is repeated for all the stages defined in the workflow. Any failures are reported via subscribed notifications.

As part of the bank’s technology transformation, Snowflake was used as the on-demand scalable data warehouse technology. Data feeds are sent to Amazon S3, which is a landing zone for the data ingestion process.

The external staging area is configured to point to the bank’s Amazon S3 bucket, and batch framework utilizes the Snowflake SQL commands to populate the intake, operational data store (ODS) and enterprise data warehouse (EDW) stages.

Results

Financial services organizations have diverse data spread out across data silos, resulting in laborious data management and cumbersome security processes. The current technology capabilities of many organizations hinder them from gaining valuable, real-time insights from their data.

With Vertical Trail’s Financial Data Hub, the bank now has a modern and prompt solution. Our solution resulted in a scalable environment that is designed for the bank’s continued expansion and provides operational and cost savings.

The bank’s IT benefits include:

  • Elimination of costly software-as-a-service (SaaS) ODS, and shift of expensive operational resources to work on other high-value technology projects.
  • Proven data warehousing environment and infrastructure that’s tied to the bank’s current demand and eliminates overprovisioning of services.
  • Platform to turn services on quickly and increase the bank’s ability to focus on innovation.

Next Steps

Vertical Trail provides modern data-driven solutions built to run in the cloud. We use open source technology to create new and innovative solutions that improve performance, deliver meaningful impacts, and accelerate outcomes.

The content and opinions in this blog are those of the third party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.

Learn more about Vertical Trail and how our data-driven solutions can help transform your business.
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Vertical Trail – APN Partner Spotlight

Vertical Trail is an APN Competency Partner. They provide data architecture and cloud consulting services, employing unique and proven framework to ensure every project is aligned with customers’ business objectives and delivered with an eye to maximum satisfaction.

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