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Data insights: a new currency for strategic growth

Westpac DataX gives business and government access to powerful data insights to inform decision-making and achieve growth through sophisticated data analytics.

Pandemic lockdowns disrupted the operations of many businesses and created an opportunity for data-savvy business leaders to get an edge over their competitors.

 

Data insights have become the new currency for strategic growth, and through COVID-19 provided valuable information on customers’ changing behaviours that allowed retailers, hospitality businesses and government to respond appropriately. 

 

Jade Clarke, Head of Westpac DataX, says COVID-19 has highlighted how greater agility powered by data analytics can help organisations manage or switch priorities during a major event. 

 

“There’s a growing understanding among businesses of all sizes that data-driven insights are the key to better or more informed business decisions,” Clarke says. “The secret is in knowing how to optimise those insights and turn them into actionable insights to drive growth.”

 

As part of this philosophy, Clarke and her team are launching Westpac DataX, a new data-analytics capability for Westpac Institutional clients, government agencies and businesses such as supermarkets, major online retailers, quick-service restaurants, and homeware and clothing retailers.

 

What is Westpac DataX?

Westpac DataX is a data analytics offering that enables faster, data-backed decision-making for Westpac’s largest clients. 

 

Using de-identified credit card data from more than six million daily card transactions, DataX enables self-serve analytics for Westpac clients so they can embed insights into their day-to-day operations. With an initial product offering that can be utilised in over 17 sectors, it supports the needs of both decision-makers and data teams. 

 

Westpac DataX showcases the bank’s commitment to partnering with clients to drive their strategic growth objectives. It brings together Westpac’s rich data assets with specific external data sets to give clients access to self-serve analytics and interactive business intelligence tools that can be used by decision-makers and data specialists alike. 

 

“Ultimately, it’s about empowering our clients with data insights and access to my team of data specialists to help them understand and tackle their existing pain points, close blind spots and help identify opportunities to grow and optimise their business,” Clarke says.

 

“It’s also about making those insights actionable and able to be embedded in day-to-day business operations.”

 

How can businesses use data insights to better understand their customers and operations?

There has been a real shift in the discourse around data and the data economy, in part due to a sense of ‘data overload’, according to Clarke. Now the focus is on identifying discrete, high-value data sets and extracting actionable and embedded insights, she says.

 

“There is widespread recognition that unless decision-makers understand what the data is revealing and how to operationalise those insights through effective problem solving, meaningful next steps and recommended actions then it has limited strategic value.

 

“Increasingly, clients are looking at streamlining the number of business intelligence tools they have and embedding data and insights into existing tools and BAU operations.”

 

Think of a quick-service restaurant. If there is a spike in sales one week after a marketing campaign, the business needs to know the reasons behind that surge. Is it because of the campaign itself? Or did all players in the market also thrive during that period because of a tourism event in the area? 

 

“It’s important to have a full understanding of the market dynamics that are in play, and data analytics can help businesses better understand and respond to those dynamics,” Clarke says. 

 

What are some of the key features of Westpac DataX?

At the heart of Westpac DataX is a tool that enables access to Westpac’s de-identified, aggregated data and lets users explore and analyse that data from multiple perspectives. 

 

Users can integrate Westpac data with their own proprietary data assets and drill down into the data to help them better understand market conditions and finetune their operations – they can generate their own reports and visualisations from the information so that it is meaningful for their own businesses.

 

The interactive dashboard with pre-defined visualisations gives users more time to easily analyse data, meaning less time is spent on “data wrangling”. It displays key metrics and insights and has a reporting capability that makes it easy to distribute those findings to others in the organisation.

 

“Ultimately, our clients’ own teams know their business and proprietary data assets best. But also recognise that data within their organisation, while crucial, may only provide part of the picture.  So, we are offering the tools to allow our clients to self-serve analytics across the combined power of their data and the Westpac de-identified data,” says Clarke.

 

How will the offering make a difference?

Clarke is confident Westpac DataX will help clients – from C-suite executives to teams across departments and the business including marketing, strategy, product, network planning and finance teams – create new experiences for their customers, develop insight-led strategy and improve efficiency. 

 

Better understanding customer loyalty and engagement across channels, spending behaviours, marketing efficacy and competitive benchmarking – clarity in all these areas can make a difference in the revenue and growth profile of a business.

 

Recent history provides the proof points with greater agility via data analytics, helping organisations manage or switch priorities during major events, such as COVID-19. For instance, current data sets show that pandemic lockdowns have led to a huge spike in online payments. 

 

“And that can have run-on effects, such as the best location for new retail store fronts, where storage and distribution facilities are located, how companies deliver goods and the entire logistics side of a business,” Clarke says. “There’s a whole series of use cases that we support.”

 

Westpac DataX uses aggregated and de-identified data. What does that mean?

 

De-identifying data involves stripping out sensitive personal information and identifiers from the data sets. 

 

Aggregation of data is the process of gathering data and expressing it in a summary form that is useful and easy to understand. For example, an aggregated insight would be the total amount of spend in restaurants and bars in NSW vs the national average.  

 

“A process of testing is carried out on the de-identified and aggregated data to ensure an individual or merchant cannot be identified in the insights provided to our clients,” Clarke says. 

 

“Our customers’ privacy is paramount and at the core of what we do in the analytics space, so we must comply with all legal obligations, and our own high standards, around the use of customer data. We make sure we apply an ethical and reputational lens to everything we do.”

 

What’s next for Westpac DataX?

With more than 200 years of experience in supporting clients to grow, a data analytics offering presents a natural evolution in the bank-client relationship, Clarke points out, because it builds on Westpac’s existing deep knowledge of clients’ businesses and the sectors they operate within. 

 

“For example, traditionally we may have funded our clients to grow their store network,” she says. “Now we are helping them decide where to locate their next stores, with predictive location intelligence planning tools.”

 

With the initial Westpac DataX offering up and running, Clarke says her team is focused on continuing to evolve the product offering with enhanced features and expanding it into new sectors. 

 

“Our focus remains on working with clients and partners to assist with the growth and success of their operations. We want to continue to support our clients to evolve their level of data maturity in line with their own strategies, and above all, to make sure our clients are successful in their endeavours.” 

 

For more information on Westpac DataX and how we can help with powerful data insights, visit www.westpac.com.au/datax

 

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