ICA Banken has become more data driven and customer centric thanks to SAS® analytics tools
Improved business value with analytics
Improved customer insights via analytics
Sweden’s ICA Banken uses SAS® to become more data-driven, customer-centric and stay one step ahead of the competition.
Data is an essential part of business development and success, especially since the amount of data available continues to grow. Truly data driven companies use data to both improve their internal processes and culture as well as the levels of service and performance they offer their customers.
Sweden’s ICA Banken is one example of a truly data driven organization. It aims to be fully customer focused to improve customer service and offerings as well as providing employees upskilling opportunities to help ensure they have a truly data driven approach. One particular training program the bank is using, is SAS Analytics Value Training, along with SAS® Products, Technology and Solutions, to help ensure the organization is maturing in their work with data and gaining increased business value from analytics.
The Analytics team is pivotal in helping achieve this goal as insights are based on data, not on gut feelings. The Customer Value Management (CVM) team are an integrated and imperative part of the Analytics team to ensure the bank is truly customer focused.
Frida Thomasson has been working at ICA Banken for over three and a half years and is currently operationally in charge of Customer Value Management (CVM). In her current role as Customer Value Specialist, she works within the analytics team, and is working data driven to enhance both the customer´s experience and relationship with the bank.
Thomasson has a background as a statistician and analyst, with a Bachelor in statistics and data analysis, and therefore started her career as an analyst. However, she realized quickly that she wanted to work more with data and analytics from a customer relationship building perspective. Therefore, she started working with CVM where she realized quickly that data is data, but it’s what’s behind the data – the customer – that fascinates and motivates her.
The CRM team she works in is part of the larger Analytics department, where the main goal is to get the right information and offers to the customers at the right time. She is working closely with the Advanced Analytics team who build models they can base their CRM activities on and is currently working on leveraging next best offer (NBO) models for more personalized customer communication.
To help in her quest to communicate the value of data for the business, remove silos, and get management and the entire organization on board in supporting and understanding the work of the analytics team, Thomasson attended the SAS Analytics Value Training Program (AVT). She attended together with two colleagues and completed the 12-month training program last year.
I would recommend the Analytics Value Training program for management, IT and data scientists, to give them an understanding of how everything is connected and how to communicate and work together to gain business value from the data for the entire organization. Frida Thomasson Customer Value Specialist ICA Banken
An interconnected web of business value
Thomasson believes there is more of an overlap of roles and responsibilities than many realize, so it is key to understand how different departments are working to be able to gain business value and better work together.
“One of the biggest challenges that we struggled with that drove me to enroll in the AVT program, was communication”, explains Thomasson. “This is not just a problem for us, but for many, as there are so many buzz words such as artificial intelligence (AI), data-driven, machine learning and so forth, but there is no common understanding of what these terms mean for the business. Everyone has a different understanding, for example, when I talk about groups, I am talking about segments in SAS® Customer Intelligence 360 which I work closely with, while groups for the IT department is something completely different.”
ICA Banken – Facts & Figures
1 000 000
More than 1 million customers
1 818 000
A continuous quest for value
One critical improvement ICA Banken has seen, is in the general communication and common understanding of the value the Analytics team is contributing to the business. It is no longer a hierarchal process. When the analysts discover something of interest in the data, they share this information and ideas with the management so they can act fast based on that data.
“The Analytics Value Training Program has given me the confidence and assertion to talk about what I know in order to get others to understand the importance and business value of the Analytics team”, says Thomasson. “It is key to communicate the analytical value towards the business and management team, so as to gain momentum and so that everyone understands that data is central and key to almost every decision made within the company.”
Thomasson believes that this improved communication has helped advance the general maturity in the company around data, so the organization is now even more data driven than before. This has in turn improved the general mindset, where everyone is more conscious of the importance of working together and moving away from the traditional siloed way of working.
“When I did the Analytics Value Training program, the agile way of working was very new and exciting, everyone had heard of it and talked about, but nobody had applied it and started working with it at ICA Banken, says Thomasson. “Therefore, soon after completing the program, we were able to implement this way of working. It was exciting to learn how to work agile and how that can help within the business to move forward easily and quickly, so everything flows efficiently.”
Thomasson believes that when talking about data, the key is to communicate its value, to simply trust and learn from the data as you go.
Everything starts and ends with Analytics
Even though everyone in ICA Banken is a specialist within their own areas, Thomasson feels they need to start to understand each other’s specialties, so they know how to work together to meet the business goals. The answers are usually within ICA Banken – so it’s important to align and bring everyone together.
“Being part of the Analytics Value Training program has helped me gain key skills around communication and learning how to drive communication in the company around the maturity of analytics,” says Thomasson. “Getting management on board in understanding the importance of analytics is key as everything starts and ends with analytics and you have to have both the hard and soft skills to succeed.”
The SAS Analytics Value Training components
The Analytics Value Training program helps you transform your organization to be more data driven and obtain business value with analytics.
- Provides the basic skills needed to solve real business problems with analytics
- Accommodates the participants with special fields of interest
- Includes diploma after examination and final presentation
- The program is built around the four main areas of expertise needed to attain business value from analytics
- Statistics and mathematics (predictive models, clustering, machine learning, etc)
- Programming and databases (system knowledge, programming languages and Hadoop)
- Communication (visualization, storytelling, presentations)
- Business understanding (value and industry-related business benefits with ROI)
The program is delivered over 12 months as:
- 11 days of class workshops
- Online training, including workshops
- Reading of selected business concept references
- 7-14 days of deeper tools training (optional)
The results illustrated in this article are specific to the particular situations, business models, data input, and computing environments described herein. Each SAS customer’s experience is unique based on business and technical variables and all statements must be considered non-typical. Actual savings, results, and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. SAS does not guarantee or represent that every customer will achieve similar results. The only warranties for SAS products and services are those that are set forth in the express warranty statements in the written agreement for such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. Customers have shared their successes with SAS as part of an agreed-upon contractual exchange or project success summarization following a successful implementation of SAS software. Brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies.