By collecting data on consumers and performing due diligence to verify its accuracy, companies across all sectors can find meaningful statistical trends to help them predict future activity. Perhaps the most notable area where data quality can make a difference is finance, where banks can collect information from social media and use it to find valuable insights about how people allocate their money.
According to Forbes, the use of big data analytics in finance is rapidly on the rise. The news source reported that in 2009, the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that banks and capital markets firms in the United States had over an exabyte - that's 1 billion gigabytes - of data in storage. Furthermore, IDC Financial Insights projected that the digital content was increasing annually by 48 percent.
A wide variety of data is being collected. Financial institutions are collecting information from videos, images, news stories and social media profiles in an effort to paint accurate pictures of their customers. James Gifas, U.S. head of global transaction services for RBS Citizens, tells Forbes that analytics help companies separate fact from opinion and find the truth about their consumers.
"[Mining data] tells us what the customer wants, not what we think they want," Gifas told the news source.
According to Banktech, the challenge companies face is taking all the information out there in various channels and compiling it in one comprehensive, navigable data structure. Emmett Cox, senior vice president of customer experience for BBVA Compass, notes that "it's not something you do overnight."
By collecting as much information as possible and making sure that all demographic and financial data is accurate, financial institutions can make well-informed decisions about money management advice and future investment opportunities, among other endeavors. Banking is a competitive field, and data is the driving force behind that competition.