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Tackling masses of risk data helps bank strengthen its business

To address an in-house skills shortfall, this leading bank engaged SAS® Professional Services to help it build a risk solution to better protect the business and support its continued growth.

At a time of continued economic uncertainty, banks are seeking ways to further protect their business while better serving their customers and supporting future growth. Given recent history, retail credit risk is a natural focus. This particular bank wanted to implement a scalable new solution that would to bring together and replace multiple systems and data sources to provide new opportunities for analytics, risk control and decision making. With other projects putting pressure on available resources, however, development wasn't proceeding at the speed required.

"The bank was looking for additional people and expertise so its programme could move ahead," says Andy Lawson, SAS Client Services Manager. "Given our specialist knowledge, the bank saw SAS as a 'font of knowledge' to help it achieve its goals." With the overall programme sponsored by the senior executive responsible for all risk systems across the retail bank, the SAS® Professional Services team reported to the manager responsible for risk infrastructure delivery. Services provided included consulting, architecture, installation, technical support, data integration and, later, programme management and SAS® Premium Support.

An important first-step task was helping the bank get data onto the new platform as quickly and efficiently as possible, so the business could arrive more quickly at the 'single version of the truth' it wanted. The process started with workshops hosted via the SAS Global Centre of Excellence for Information Management and Analytics to examine the architecture and identify the high-performance analytics required. It soon became clear the bank already owned an appropriate solution, the SAS® Detail Data Store for Banking, which it hadn't yet deployed. "We knew this was an ideal way to get data onto the risk platform," Lawson says. SAS support included access to data integration specialists to help build and populate the new data stores in the best ways. With a five-strong consulting team engaged, including a Principal Solutions Implementation Consultant, the next focus area was ensuring effective project management and governance.

Up to that point, the bank had been project managing at its own request, but had recognised the need for additional resource to maintain momentum, speed up implementation and deliver results as quickly as it wanted – with, for example, any potential delays revealed as soon as possible. This was especially important as the bank wanted to accelerate production and create 12 data marts in the following 12 months, a six-fold increase on the previous year. In response, a SAS Programme Manager was engaged and, following a phase of due diligence and planning, created a new implementation plan that made individuals more accountable for various aspects of delivery and for deadlines, with a new blended project team comprising people from both the bank and SAS. "We persuaded the bank to engage a full-time project manager – this was key to ensuring progress at the pace the bank wanted, with the changes made helping everyone to re-focus their efforts," Lawson says.

The SAS Programme Manager also played a central role in developing a new operating model to improve how the team worked: "This was about adding value for the bank: ensuring delivery so it gained the solution it needed, and rolling out first in key areas of its operations including account management and applications management," she says. The bank later adopted many elements of this model in terms of project governance and control, implementing risk logs, change request forms and status logs. Detailed documentation ensured the improvements were repeatable and change was sustained.

With delivery accelerated, project goals were achieved, with ongoing support enabled through SAS Premium Support. The bank started gaining the additional risk analytics and management information capabilities that it wanted, including far greater insights into its risk position to support faster and more informed decision making. "This was a huge improvement, given the previous approach was based on multiple tools, including spreadsheets," Andy Lawson adds. "The bank trusted us because it knew we'd achieved the same kind of success with other similar organisations, so it was confident we had the experts it needed, and it could trust our advice as we worked together to overcome barriers and deliver what the business needed."

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Leading bank

Business Issue:
Additional expert resources required to build a scaled platform for high-performance risk analytics: specialist software skills, project management, governance, hands-on implementation, ongoing 'added-value' support
Integrated 'one-team approach' in SAS Professional Services including consulting, architecture, workshops, technical account management, installation, SAS Data Integration, project/programme management, SAS Premium Support
Successfully achieving business goals faster and more efficiently, leading to real business impacts in a challenging market environment, including a greatly improved ability to understand and manage credit risk positions

"This was about adding value for the bank: ensuring delivery so it gained the solution it needed, and rolling out first in key areas of its operations including account management and applications management"

SAS Programme Manager

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