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The Decision Factor offers insightful comments and observations on analytics—from views on new technology approaches and market dynamics to the latest industry trends driving demand for faster, smarter information analysis. This blog contains personal views, thoughts, and opinions from SAP employees, mentors, and friends working in the area of analytics. It’s not endorsed by SAP nor does it constitute an official communication of SAP.


Bank Executives Weigh-In on Big Data’s Value for Managing Risk

big data word cloud above a laptop

If you’re a banker—anywhere in the world—the topic of risk management is near and dear to your heart. Since the 2008 financial crisis, it‘s become even more front and center in the minds of most bankers and government regulators. This landscape is not getting simpler, but actually grows more complex by the day.

Regulations and scrutiny are increasing, reputations and revenues are at risk. More volatility in the market, rising demands of shareholders, customers, partners, and vendors, (not to mention technologies such as internet and mobile banking) are changing the risk profile that a bank must manage and respond to.

Retail and Commercial Banking

big data for finance

This blog was originally published on Banking View and has been republished with permission.

Customer data analysis has revolutionized retail – but retail banking is lagging behind. When customer understanding is the key to profit, the capacity to gather and interpret data is no longer optional.

When you think about the challenges facing retail and commercial banking, “Ann Taylor” is not, perhaps, the first name that springs to mind. But the arrival of an e-mail from Ann Taylor to my wife made me think about …

Financial Reform: Protect Yourself with an Agile Information Architecture

Financial Reform: Protect Yourself with an Agile Information Architecture

Remember the financial meltdown? Experts still can’t decide if we’re on the road to recovery…how long that road may be…or even if there is a road. As a nation, though, we did agree to more oversight over corporate financials. Enter the Dodd-Frank legislation, passed in July 2010.

A recent USA Today article shows that after three years, there’s still much work to be done to not only establish the regulations related to the legislation, but actually implement compliance to the regulation. As of September 3, 2013, only 40% of the required 398 …

Myths in Risk Management — Can Risks Be Registered?

Risk Register

Years ago, I worked in a bank. I‘m sure the concept of a “register” came from a banker initially. Banks had registers for everything.

One of my jobs was to keep the collateral register postings up to date. When a customer opened a line of credit, they were required to pledge something, usually marketable securities, as collateral. I posted the collateral in the register and someone else placed the securities in the vault, where they’d stay and gather dust. (I think bankers invented segregation of duties too.)

Occasionally, the bank auditors would arrive to count the securities, compare them to …

Will Next-Generation Technologies Solve the Compliance Challenge?

Woman Using ATM

Recent articles on ING agreeing to pay a >$619-million fine and HSBC facing over $1-billion fine have put anti-money laundering and compliance back into the limelight. These fines are mind bogging in size and reflect that although millions have been spent on technology in this area, they’re not fixing the problem.

What Are the Problems?

Ever-increasing compliance data is becoming a big data problem, requiring new approaches to sift through the information and the erroneous activity Latency …

Why iPads Dominate in Financial Services


I studied the latest activation numbers supplied by Good Technology in their Q4 2011 earnings report. The data shows financial services still activating more iPad devices than any other industry, with greater than 40 percent of all business deployments last quarter coming from financial services.

Why is this? And why are other industries so much further behind?

The answer lies in a number of areas:


Employee pull! Employees are bringing their own devices to work and want IT to allow access–not just for email …

Where Will Banks Spend Money in 2012? On Mobile and Big Data

Two important and broad technology trends for 2012 are mobile and big data. Each opens a new door to run your business differently—both internally or externally with customers. Each is a platform for new innovative applications that help banks reach new customers while reducing operating costs. And each is a focal point and offers specific applications for retail, commercial, and investment banking segments.

Let’s take each in turn.

Mobile Technology

Mobile is driving innovations in a bank’s consumer, business, and process areas. Although, mobile security is still an issue that banks must address carefully. …

UK Banking Regulations: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do!

I visited the Bank of England in the UK on Thursday to discuss their new upcoming responsibility to regulate and supervise the banks. This coincided with the news that Northern Rock, the first nationalised bank as result of financial crisis in the UK, was sold by the government to Virgin Money the same day for a £500 million loss.

For those not well versed with the …

Why Banks Still Struggle to Improve Customer Satisfaction


According to a recent Daily Mail article, complaints against British banks have risen 50 percent. But it’s not the Brits alone. This story is replicated in other countries worldwide. Customer satisfaction rates are down; complaints are up. Why? A number of reasons:

The propensity to complain has increased as banks’ status as respectable members of society has fallen. We expect more from them, and they’re unable to deliver it seems. Over the last decade, banks are more proactively cross selling products that aren’t well suited to …

Information Governance — Banks Need a Common Barcode for Information to Drive Down Costs

dreamstime_5352875 (barcode)

Information is the lifeblood of a bank. In trading arenas, no physical products are delivered; so counterparties (deal participants) only receive information on the transaction.

And therein lies part of the banking industry’s problem.

There are no standard, agreed-on metadata tags or semantics to describe the exact product, counterparty, and transaction details. This leads to errors and inefficiencies because trades between counterparties fail the ‘’straight-through trading’’ goal.

When I worked in a brokerage house, each morning three people on my team had to sort through the trades that had failed to settle the day …