Banks seek IT-literate staff for 'decision science'
Many bankers will tell you that the key to success in banking is KYC – know your customer. To know its customers, a bank must have a capable team of information management specialists who are strong both in business knowledge and information technology (IT).
This team can be part of a bank’s risk management or marketing department although some banks have a stand-alone department called “decision science”.
Banks store information on customers, risk management and regulations in data warehouses. Decision science departments mastermind its use for attracting business.
“This department plays a key role in bringing in revenue and helping to save costs,” says Michael Leung Kin-man, chair of the departmental advisory committee in the department of information systems at City University of Hong Kong. “If the bank decides to promote tax loans, the decision science department will generate a list of customers with the highest potential need of such a service and provide it to front-line sales staff in call centres to promote the product,” Leung says.
Information management requires staff with IT knowledge who know how banks operate.
“The decision science department makes use of various business analysis and business intelligence software to produce business reports for the bank’s senior management, to help them make business decisions,” says Leung. “It is not a job for fresh graduates. Business analysts with three to five years’ experience and a familiarity with the software are required.”
Many information management specialists hold post-graduate qualifications in business. “They have to be sensitive to data and understand customer relations, as well as how to bring income into the bank,” Leung says.
He sees a bright future for information management specialists. With technical jobs being outsourced, people with IT and business knowledge are in high demand.
Tighter bank regulatory policies, introduced in the wake of the global financial crisis, have also boosted demand for information management talent. For instance, banks must collect more personal data from clients before opening accounts. And amid ever-changing demands from regulatory bodies, ensuring the smooth flow of data within banks has never been so crucial.
“In order for the bank to operate smoothly, information management has to develop systems to ensure efficient data transfer among bank departments,” says Leung.