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HomeBig DataA Digital Banking Transformation, Powered by the Trendy Knowledge Stack - Atlan

A Digital Banking Transformation, Powered by the Trendy Knowledge Stack – Atlan


Austin Capital Financial institution Modernizes its Knowledge Stack in simply 16 Months to Help First-in-market Merchandise and Providers
  • Austin Capital Financial institution, a fast-growing group financial institution, sought to modernize their information stack to help their evolution right into a product centric and digital first financial institution
  • In simply 16 months, the financial institution has adopted Snowflake, dbt, Fivetran, and Thoughtspot, and Atlan as its Energetic Metadata Administration resolution of alternative
  • The financial institution is now capable of launch new merchandise at unprecedented pace and effectiveness, with Atlan supporting buyer information querying for a brand new product with mere hours of implementation effort

A member of the Inc. 5000 checklist of fastest-growing personal firms for seven consecutive years, Austin Capital Financial institution is a frontrunner in group banking, utilizing expertise and information to gas its nationwide progress.

“We began off a number of years in the past with objectives identical to some other group financial institution, serving the Austin group,” shared Ian Bass, Head of Knowledge & Analytics for Austin Capital Financial institution. “After a couple of years of being the sponsor financial institution for a FinTech providing, our founders determined we may construct this type of factor ourselves. So we began constructing our personal digital banking merchandise division, which is the place Credit score Sturdy was born.”

Credit score Sturdy represented a brand new frontier for Austin Capital Financial institution, a completely digital providing of loans and contours of credit score, supplied to shoppers with no credit score historical past or poor credit score to assist them enhance their scores with out the widespread danger of predatory lending or bank cards with astronomical rates of interest.

Remodeling from a group financial institution, providing conventional merchandise like checking and financial savings accounts with a brick-and-mortar location and on-line portals, right into a digital-first financial institution with a nationwide buyer footprint, was no trivial activity. Not solely wouldn’t it demand groundbreaking merchandise and trendy consumer experiences, but additionally the most effective and brightest minds in Knowledge & Analytics, with the expertise to assist them launch and iterate at unprecedented pace.

“My position was to construct a contemporary information stack for the financial institution and for Credit score Sturdy. And after I got here on board, the information and analytics stack was non-existent,” Ian defined.

Austin Capital Financial institution’s transactional information resided in AWS and PostgresSQL databases, and weren’t well-connected, making one thing so simple as querying throughout databases tough to inconceivable. To satisfy the numerous calls for of a brand new digital merchandise mannequin, Ian and his workforce have been tasked with a real ground-up construct of a contemporary information stack.

“What I actually needed to construct was a NextGen platform that I may use to democratize entry to information and analytics,” Ian shared. “So step one was to virtualize this into an atmosphere the place none of these obstacles would exist. That was Snowflake.”

Shifting from implementing Snowflake, Ian’s workforce sought an answer to ingest information with out the necessity for vital information engineering assets, selecting Fivetran and launching in only one month as they started to combine into their core expertise and construct fashions. Already current on the financial institution have been Tableau and PowerBI, serving as a short lived visualization and evaluation layer.

Simply 16 months later, Austin Capital Financial institution and Credit score Sturdy would sit atop a totally trendy information stack, constructed to help digital monetary merchandise that required way more flexibility than conventional banking programs, and architected to run lean.

Once I got here in, none of this existed. And at the moment now we have about six totally different SaaS merchandise that comprise our information stack. Now we have ThoughtSpot, we use Snowflake, we use Reverse ETL instruments. Now we have a number of issues in place that we will virtualize and deal with with a two or three particular person workforce, versus needing an enormous engineering workforce. We’re paying for these instruments, but it surely’s offsetting prices in that we don’t want to rent groups to do that. We will run actually lean, and we will pivot in a short time.

Ian Bass, Head of Knowledge & Analytics

However whereas instrument after instrument was efficiently carried out, Ian and his workforce have been spending vital effort responding to requests for information, and had but to discover a approach to provide this information in a self-service method whereas remaining compliant. Energetic Metadata Administration would show to be the lacking piece.

Inherent to Monetary Providers choices is a considerable amount of delicate buyer information, together with addresses, names, delivery dates, social safety numbers, and account numbers, all precious to dangerous actors, and requiring cautious stewardship and strict entry controls.

“We needed to ensure that we’re being good stewards of our buyer’s information. A part of that entails ensuring that solely the fitting individuals inside our group have entry to it and that now we have the correct controls round it, multi-factor authentication, issues like that,” Ian shared.

Their first step was creating masking insurance policies, guaranteeing that solely licensed workers of Austin Capital Financial institution can be permitted to entry delicate information. Ian’s unique plan was to implement masking insurance policies in information entry via Snowflake, however discovered that whereas his workforce may implement these insurance policies utilizing the instrument, they might be tough to keep up, and to be learn at-a-glance by colleagues with decrease technical aptitude.

As we considered information governance an increasing number of, it grew to become clear I needed a instrument to deal with that. You really want an interface constructed on prime of Snowflake with the intention to simply see who has entry to what. And that’s the place Atlan got here into the image. I used to be actually taken with the entire idea of DataOps and what that meant, and what we’re driving towards is each workforce being an information workforce.

Ian Bass, Head of Knowledge & Analytics

With the fitting Energetic Metadata Administration platform, Austin Capital Financial institution may lastly provide self-service to its information shoppers with out sacrificing robust entry and masking insurance policies.

“Atlan grew to become a necessity. That’s how we management entry in an simply repeatable trend,” Ian defined. “After which the truth that now we have information lineage on prime of it, and the flexibility to prepare all of our info and classifications, and add glossary phrases linked to that information? That’s all icing on the cake for us.”

The place information shoppers as soon as needed to strategy Ian and his workforce for information requests, his workforce now makes use of Atlan to construct queries that allow their colleagues in groups like Operations to run stories on demand. Furthermore, with masking insurance policies in place, this information just isn’t solely out there through self-service, however is ruled in a fashion the place solely licensed customers can entry it.

“That was a very highly effective piece of what Atlan supplied for us, and I’ve been very pleased with how that’s progressed,” Ian shared.

Among the many earliest alternatives to place their new information stack into apply was a promising new product named FreeKick. “We consider it’s a first-to-market product, in that it’s designed to assist construct credit score for minors and younger adults,” Ian shared.

FreeKick permits dad and mom to securely and reliably set up, construct, and shield their youngsters’s credit score. Constructed on prime of a digital financial savings account, FreeKick robotically builds credit score for youngsters aged 14 to 25 as soon as activated. Mother and father merely make a deposit into their FreeKick account and activate credit score constructing. A guardian can select to resume the service yearly, or shut the account and obtain 100% of their deposit again. Establishing a robust credit score profile for his or her youngsters can save their youngsters greater than $200,000 over their lifetime.

“We expect that is going to be a differentiator within the market,” Ian defined. “There could also be different merchandise or choices on the market, like co-signing on a automotive notice, however there’s probably not some other method to do that that avoids danger. In case you are available in at the moment and deposit $2,500 with our financial institution, it’s an FDIC-insured deposit and also you’re getting a credit score constructing product in your children, without cost. It doesn’t truly value you any cash.”

In FreeKick, a promising enterprise mannequin was rising for Austin Capital Financial institution. However essential to success can be a well timed launch earlier than commencement season. And provided that FreeKick was a departure from their regular merchandise, the expertise Austin Capital Financial institution would use to service new accounts couldn’t be tailored in time for launch. 

“Our inner CRM was not going to be prepared as a result of there was new infrastructure and transactional databases to know. They hadn’t pieced it collectively but,” Ian shared.

Whereas it was doable to launch FreeKick with out full technical help from their CRM, every time the consumer service workforce would wish information about account holders, Ian’s workforce must help it.

“My workforce, and myself, personally, would have needed to be on name for the consumer service workforce, and able to run the question on the drop of a hat as quickly as they have been on the cellphone with anyone who was asking questions on their account,” Ian defined.

Ian and his workforce additionally thought-about a self-service mannequin whereas the CRM was enhanced to help requests for consumer information, however discovered it infeasible. This strategy would demand that the consumer service workforce be given entry to Snowflake, with the correct roles and insurance policies, then educated to put in writing SQL queries towards their information warehouse.

In Atlan, Ian’s workforce discovered an answer. Insights, a metadata-based question builder, would allow their consumer service workforce to run queries about buyer information in a self-service method, with out the necessity to be taught SQL.

We used Insights to help our consumer service workforce, and Atlan made it a lot simpler and saved a bunch of time for me and my workforce. It was a simple and efficient workaround, till our CRM was able to deal with the brand new product. So it actually gave us peace of thoughts. It was one thing that took my workforce solely a few hours to place collectively. We couldn’t have finished that with out Atlan.

Ian Bass, Head of Knowledge & Analytics

Whereas solely a workaround whereas their CRM caught as much as help the brand new service mannequin that FreeKick demanded, Atlan Insights ensured that Ian’s workforce spent simply two hours delivering an answer. The choice would have been painful: Turning their information workforce into an on-demand service heart for primary consumer information requests, and taking their eye off constructing a vivid, data-driven future for the financial institution.

With the fitting information expertise, activated and accessible utilizing Atlan, Austin Capital Financial institution is in a stronger place to launch new services, and evolve its enterprise mannequin.

“We’re within the part of determining if we wish to incorporate these new product launches into our current mannequin structure, or if we wish to break it out individually,” Ian shared. “In some circumstances, that would make issues quite a bit less complicated for us. Having this virtualized and utilizing dbt and Snowflake makes it easy for us to say ‘Right here’s the connections we have to make, right here’s all the information and fashions now we have, and the way does that match into the ecosystem?’ After which we all know what modifications we have to make, and what fashions we have to create.”

Downstream, Austin Capital Financial institution’s latest adoption of ThoughtSpot is one other level of optimism for Ian and his workforce, affording the flexibleness they should question and visualize on the pace their enterprise is altering. 

“We’re operating dwell queries on prime of ThoughtSpot day in and time out, and life is an entire lot less complicated and more practical,” Ian defined. “It’s simply straightforward to put in writing up new queries, spin up new dwell boards, and pivot rapidly. If somebody needs to drill down on a solution, it’s quite simple.”

Moreover, Ian and his workforce are wanting ahead to cataloging Thoughtspot property in Atlan to higher perceive the affect of modifications to their fashions of their visualization and evaluation layer, and finishing a complete, single view of their information property.

To help their advertising campaigns for brand spanking new merchandise, and to gather the mandatory information to evolve these merchandise and campaigns rapidly, Ian’s workforce has rapidly added Reverse ETL to their rising set of capabilities. “We may have employed an engineering workforce to arrange all these API connections, however we determined to simply pay a small sum of money per yr and do it via a instrument that I may arrange myself in a matter of 30 to 60 minutes,” Ian shared.

The highway forward for Austin Capital Financial institution stays formidable, with a challenge to construct a 360-degree view of their prospects, inclusive of net exercise. Additionally essential to help a rising variety of deposit-based merchandise might be new metrics and KPIs, supported by Ian’s workforce and accessible via Atlan.

Maybe essentially the most thrilling to Austin Capital Financial institution is the introduction of information science and machine studying, enhancing the best way they market and function. “We wish to get into optimization for advertising spend. We wish to put fraud detection fashions in place. We wish to ensure that we’re good stewards of our prospects’ information,” Ian defined.

In the end, Austin Capital Financial institution sees Atlan as its window to the world, higher understanding their fast-evolving expertise and processes, and the impacts that modifications to them will make.

“I need all of it to be built-in, in order that we’re capable of assess affect,” Ian shared. If now we have a change to a area in a desk that’s upstream of some mannequin, I’d wish to perceive the place else that will get used. And I’d know if it’s in a downstream mannequin that mixes 10 tables which are mixed in a view that aggregates information, or if it’s additionally utilized by an algorithm to optimize advertising spend.”

If all of our infrastructure is tied into the identical place, we will make modifications, and earlier than we make these modifications, perceive the place the affect can be in order that nothing breaks. All of that can must be built-in into Atlan.”

Ian Bass, Head of Knowledge & Analytics

The best way Austin Capital Financial institution’s information workforce operates, thanks partially to its funding in expertise and executing the fitting technique, is unrecognizable from the beginning of their modernization journey simply 16 months in the past.

“With the instruments now we have in place now, we’re capable of measure the affect of product modifications straight away,” Ian shared. “We will additionally perceive how modifications in our advertising technique affect our enterprise. For instance, we did a deep dive on key phrase searches that we have been spending on and made a considerable change. And we’re not simply measuring the effectiveness of that, however we have been additionally capable of predict what would occur. We’re following fairly intently in-line with what that prediction was.”

However past the plain advantages their expertise, information workforce, and course of provide, the tradition of Austin Capital Financial institution, from client-facing workers to executives, is quickly altering towards being data-driven.

I’ve these instruments, however the President of Credit score Sturdy and the CEO of Austin Capital Financial institution even have entry to those instruments. They will see the effectiveness of modifications inside hours or days of implementing. It’s one thing we didn’t have in place earlier than. We don’t need to make these new constructs and connections, they’re in place already and we will pivot in a short time.”

Ian Bass, Head of Knowledge & Analytics

Picture by Etienne Martin on Unsplash

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