Creating Opportunities and Innovating in the New Age of Data
(From left to right) Alex Marquez, VP Corporate Ventures, Experian Ventures; Azri Deen, Head of Corporate Development, Experian Asia Pacific; Ben Moreau, Innovation & Strategy Director, X Labs, Experian Asia Pacific; Gaurav Kumar, Principal Data Scientist, Decision Analytics, Experian Asia Pacific
An insatiable desire to innovate has given rise to the modern economy. In 2018, the link between innovation and progress remains strong as ever. Successful organisations are often those which consider innovation as a core pillar of their growth strategy. Having one eye on “business as usual,” and another on the “business of tomorrow” is what helps these organisations remain ahead of the competition and avoid disruption.
In keeping with this theme of continuous innovation, what then becomes abundantly clear is that with the rise of technologies including big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence, businesses need to go about innovating in a responsible manner.
Industry workshop at Experian’s Singapore office,
attended by industry players, clients and interested individuals
At an industry workshop organised by Experian on 15 November as part of the Singapore Fintech Festival, key figures from the organisation spoke at length to a crowded room about the role of responsible innovation at Experian, and the initiatives that led to its recognition as some of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies” for the fifth consecutive year by Forbes.
Creating Opportunities Through Data
Data, once analysed, holds significant insights that have the potential to better the lives of individuals, making it the new currency in today’s digital-first economy. According to IBM, a mind-boggling 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is produced each day
Some examples of big data use cases include:
- Fraud Prevention: Fraud is a three trillion-dollar problem today, or seven percent of the world’s economy. Analysis of data can identify patterns and anomalies in data that serve as fraud warnings, allowing preemptive action to be taken.
- Customer Experience: It is in a business’ interest to be able to predict customer behavior. With a comprehensive set of data, businesses will be able to anticipate the spending behaviour of a customer, and make the right recommendations at the right time, boosting chances of a meaningful purchase.
However, what makes data especially valuable to Experian is its inherent potential to make a difference for the unbanked – individuals without access to traditional banking services and thus face significant challenges in accessing capital.
Enacting Social Responsibility Through Innovation
As one of the world’s leading global information services companies, Experian handles data from over a billion consumers and businesses each day. This places Experian in a prime position to enact true change for the unbanked in regions with little bureau coverage, with some 1.7 billion people remaining unbanked across the world. Experian’s long-term vision is to extend financial inclusion to the millions of unbanked globally by utilising a vast range of non-traditional data sets to build credit profiles.
Since 2014, Experian has invested in a total of 17 projects across Asia Pacific aimed at enhancing financial inclusion. Each project has been carefully selected primarily based on the potential to generate positive and sustainable impact to solve the needs of their communities.
Of special note is Experian’s deployment of its Prove ID service to the Indian financial institutions. The verification process in India has traditionally been lengthy and complex involving field investigation and physical document validation. Prove ID enables these organisations to utilise data for real-time, online verification of customers. The initiative has benefited an average of 9 million Indian consumers in 2018 by empowering them with financial accessibility.
A focus for Experian is the Southeast Asian region where only 48 per cent of more than 600 million people have access to traditional banking services. However, it is also characterised by some of the world’s high levels of mobile phone ownership that give lend potential to the use of telco data, one of the richest sources of raw customer data. User behaviour such as calling patterns and app usage may all be utilised to build a credit profile of an individual, which may then be used as a reference for financial institutions.
At the Heart of Responsible Innovation
Innovation forms the cornerstone of Experian’s growth strategies, being crucial in the company’s ongoing drive to make a difference for millions of unbanked.
Experian’s approach to innovation is encapsulated within three key tenets:
- Innovation driven mindset: The culture at Experian encourages innovation across all levels of the organisation, raising the chances of achieving breakthroughs that lead to more effective and efficient ways of utilising data, while paving the way for a new generation of business services that will meet consumer demands.
- Security first approach: Experian weathers attacks from cyber threat actors on the daily basis. This raises the stakes in an environment characterised by numerous data breaches, placing security concerns as a key consideration during the innovation process.
- Creating a better tomorrow: Using alternative data sets to build credit profiles for unbanked consumers and empower them with financial access.
At the heart of it all lies Experian’s innovation center, Experian X Labs. Promising solutions are brought into reality through a three-stage development cycle:
- Ideate: Prospective ideas are measured against the needs of the market and target audience, and validated through testing of prototypes in a safe space
- Build: Solutions that make the cut are subject to a battery of assessments to ensure quality and compliance to local regulations and security requirements
- Scale: The finished product is brought to market
The potential of Experian’s innovative capability is further boosted with Experian’s DataLabs, our research facility located across four regions, focused on surmounting data-related challenges with technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence that ease the data analysis process. In tandem with the Experian X Labs, Experian’s DataLabs aid the creation of innovative solutions characterised by a unique blend of best in class data analytics tools and digital decision strategies, enabling more effective management of big data scenarios.
Investing for Growth
Besides innovation that takes place internally within the company, Experian also looks at collaboration and investment into third-parties to avoid duplication of efforts. Working with external partners also has the added advantage of providing decision makers with different perspectives to innovation, and what is currently disrupting the industry.
In Asia, Experian’s investments are mainly focused on making up for the lack of bureau coverage, complementing the traditional banking sector across the region. This also has formed the basis of Experian’s strategic partnerships and investment in some of the region’s fintech leaders like C88 Financial Technologies and BankBazaar. Start-ups with transformative ideas that are keen to work with Experian may contact us.
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