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Top Financial Services in SA Answer the Question: Is Data the New Currency?

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Data quality management has been a consistent challenge across various industries. Understanding and leveraging this data can bring about significant economic changes, especially in today’s era where actions and behaviors, from clicks to movements, are hyper-personalized.

Recently, Synthesis brought together top financial, insurance, and retail companies from South Africa for Confluent Round Tables in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The guest list read like a ‘who’s who’ of South African enterprise: Standard Bank, ABSA, FNB, Osiris Trading, Discovery Vitality, Old Mutual, RMB, Momentum Metropolitan, Sanlam, and Woolworths. Moderated by Colin Iles, the discourse revolved around the various aspects of data journeys and their challenges.


Among the discussions, several use cases of Confluent Data Streaming emerged:

  1. Instant Gratification: Discovery Vitality stands out, using Confluent Cloud to offer real-time rewards based on user behaviors. Imagine earning points for a smoothie during a run – an authentic instant reward system in action.
  2. Fraud Prevention: Standard Bank has implemented Confluent Data Streaming to detect and prevent fraudulent activities in real-time. It’s not just about detection but active prevention, allowing banks to address issues as they occur.
  3. Enhancing Call Centre Efficiency: Companies often claim, “Your call is important to us”. With event streaming, businesses can gain real-time insights into call processes, ensuring every call is indeed given the importance it deserves.
  4. Personalized Experiences: Think of a “Netflix” approach. By understanding user behaviors like app downloads and locations, companies can deliver personalized messaging to enhance user engagement and potential revenue streams.

In the journey of understanding data, it’s essential to recognize that data isn’t just a reactive resource; it’s a currency. Darren Bak of Synthesis accentuates the need to focus on data quality, stating that while data may never be 100% accurate, proper management practices are essential to maximize its value.

Another crucial topic was the role of Confluent Data Streaming in enhancing data quality. A representative from Standard Bank aptly summed up the sentiment: “Garbage in, garbage out”. Good data quality ensures valuable insights. Moreover, Confluent Cloud emphasizes stream governance and design principles to continually enhance data quality.

Discussing the transition to this tech-forward approach, several companies highlighted their challenges:

  • ABSA expressed initial reservations about transitioning to the cloud.
  • Osiris Trading emphasized the importance of robust security measures.
  • Standard Bank highlighted the necessity of effective change management and clear communication throughout the organization.

When looking globally, a significant proportion of Fortune 500 companies have adopted the concept of data streaming. But what’s driving them? Jack Bingham of Confluent cites integration, the potential of event streaming apps, and identifying game-changing insights as primary motivators.

To put it in perspective, if a company could track and analyze every business event in real-time, the possibilities for problem-solving and capitalizing on opportunities are limitless. The idea is to provide accurate event data, timely and in the right format, making it accessible anytime and anywhere.

For those considering investing in Confluent Data Streaming, the journey might seem challenging. But focusing on the main objective – data quality – and understanding the financial implications can lead to broader organizational buy-in. It’s not just about adopting new technology; it’s about understanding its value, aligning it with business objectives, and ensuring that everyone, from tech to non-tech individuals, understands its profound impact.

In essence, as companies strive for progress and competitiveness, embracing data streaming offers not just a technological advantage but a chance to reshape business narratives, drive value, and stay ahead in the ever-evolving market landscape.

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