Salesforce Seeks To Unwind FIs’ ‘Data Spaghetti’ In Unified Services Quest

FIs have their work cut out for them when it comes to giving consumers what they want. After all, ours is an age dominated by services on demand, personalization by bots and Alexa and any number of innovations that ease commerce done 24/7.

But financial services could use a boost in getting to that same level of easy interaction.

To that end, Salesforce this week debuted new features to its two-year-old Financial Services Cloud offering.

With an eye on bringing a bit of seamlessness to the financial services continuum, the focus is on breaking down the silos that exist within firms.  And in that effort, Rohit Mahna, who serves as senior vice president and general manager with the company’s financial services operations, told PYMNTS there are some larger trends afoot, spanning banks, FinTechs and insurance firms, among other stakeholders.

Larger FI services encumbered by legacy systems have a tangle of data, processes and even one-off activities in the work in the daily minutiae of operations. As Mahna said, it’s akin to “spaghetti of data.” The spaghetti is a hodgepodge that sometimes exists on a department-by-department basis or even fosters  a product-line mentality. Going to market — in other words, developing a financial product and pushing it to the customer — dominates corporate thinking.

“This is not what consumers want — they want to think that you are helping them with their financial journey in life,” he told PYMNTS.

“What I see with many traditional firms is that there is a complex change to make,” he said, of the embrace of customers’ new desire for trust and transparency, as well as convenience. WeChat, he said, stands out as an example of multiple functions in one place, as users trust WeChat to do everything from messaging to commerce.

The reason for that spaghetti data and a corresponding lack of high level customer services, said the executive, is “it is not uncommon to find a bank that has 10,15, 20-plus core banking systems.” And within financial services, of course, a bank is different from an insurer, while an insurer is different from a wealth management firm.

“No bank of any size or any insurance firm is at a loss for data,” he said.  “There is gold sitting in the data and the question is how do you find that gold and how do you expose it a way where it can be used not only through the banker but it can also be shared with the customer.”

Thus, Salesforce’s push toward unified financial services, which means tying together far-flung operations, with the end result a holistic view of the customer.

The newest iteration of Financial Services Cloud leverages off a past acquisition (completed earlier this year) of Salesforce’s, of MuleSoft, to speed integration across apps (and for FI professionals, action plans). Customers are also able, through Salesforce’s Lightning offering, to schedule walk-in FI appointments, confined to what the customer wants to discuss. Mahna said a parallel can be found in the experience of walking into an Apple store to update or get a new iPhone — via appointment.

With added functionality upcoming through Einstein Analytics, the company will also be able to give a 360-degree view of the customer, to offer several tailored services at once. The firm said with its announcement that among other features, dashboards and homepages provide business and commercial bankers with a “single view” of their accounts and referrals, and what might be appropriate opportunities to pursue.

As he told PYMNTS,  “you could be he head of a household on the personal [banking] side but on the business side you may be the executive of the firm.”

With a nod toward bringing various accounts and services across both personal and commercial realms together, “Digital transformation is not just about one persona,” Mahna said. “It is about all of them.”


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