A Digital Banking Transformation, Powered by the Trendy Information Stack – Atlan

Austin Capital Financial institution Modernizes its Information Stack in simply 16 Months to Help First-in-market Merchandise and Companies
  • Austin Capital Financial institution, a fast-growing group financial institution, sought to modernize their knowledge stack to help their evolution right into a product centric and digital first financial institution
  • In simply 16 months, the financial institution has adopted Snowflake, dbt, Fivetran, and Thoughtspot, and Atlan as its Lively Metadata Administration resolution of alternative
  • The financial institution is now capable of launch new merchandise at unprecedented velocity and effectiveness, with Atlan supporting buyer knowledge querying for a brand new product with mere hours of implementation effort

A member of the Inc. 5000 checklist of fastest-growing non-public corporations for seven consecutive years, Austin Capital Financial institution is a frontrunner in group banking, utilizing expertise and knowledge to gasoline its nationwide development.

“We began off a number of years in the past with targets identical to every other group financial institution, serving the Austin group,” shared Ian Bass, Head of Information & Analytics for Austin Capital Financial institution. “After a number of years of being the sponsor financial institution for a FinTech providing, our founders determined we may construct this sort of factor ourselves. So we began constructing our personal digital banking merchandise division, which is the place Credit score Sturdy was born.”

Credit score Sturdy represented a brand new frontier for Austin Capital Financial institution, a completely digital providing of loans and contours of credit score, supplied to customers with no credit score historical past or poor credit score to assist them enhance their scores with out the frequent threat of predatory lending or bank cards with astronomical rates of interest.

Reworking from a group financial institution, providing conventional merchandise like checking and financial savings accounts with a brick-and-mortar location and on-line portals, right into a digital-first financial institution with a nationwide buyer footprint, was no trivial job. Not solely wouldn’t it demand groundbreaking merchandise and trendy person experiences, but additionally the most effective and brightest minds in Information & Analytics, with the expertise to assist them launch and iterate at unprecedented velocity.

“My function was to construct a contemporary knowledge stack for the financial institution and for Credit score Sturdy. And after I got here on board, the info and analytics stack was non-existent,” Ian defined.

Austin Capital Financial institution’s transactional knowledge resided in AWS and PostgresSQL databases, and weren’t well-connected, making one thing so simple as querying throughout databases troublesome to unimaginable. To fulfill the numerous calls for of a brand new digital merchandise mannequin, Ian and his crew had been tasked with a real ground-up construct of a contemporary knowledge stack.

“What I actually needed to construct was a NextGen platform that I may use to democratize entry to knowledge and analytics,” Ian shared. “So step one was to virtualize this into an setting the place none of these boundaries would exist. That was Snowflake.”

Transferring from implementing Snowflake, Ian’s crew sought an answer to ingest knowledge with out the necessity for vital knowledge engineering assets, selecting Fivetran and launching in only one month as they started to combine into their core expertise and construct fashions. Already current on the financial institution had been Tableau and PowerBI, serving as a brief visualization and evaluation layer.

Simply 16 months later, Austin Capital Financial institution and Credit score Sturdy would sit atop a totally trendy knowledge stack, constructed to help digital monetary merchandise that required much more flexibility than conventional banking methods, and architected to run lean.

After I got here in, none of this existed. And immediately we now have about six completely different SaaS merchandise that comprise our knowledge stack. Now we have ThoughtSpot, we use Snowflake, we use Reverse ETL instruments. Now we have plenty of issues in place that we are able to virtualize and deal with with a two or three particular person crew, versus needing a giant engineering crew. We’re paying for these instruments, but it surely’s offsetting prices in that we don’t want to rent groups to do that. We are able to run actually lean, and we are able to pivot in a short time.

Ian Bass, Head of Information & Analytics

However whereas device after device was efficiently applied, Ian and his crew had been spending vital effort responding to requests for knowledge, and had but to discover a option to provide this knowledge in a self-service method whereas remaining compliant. Lively Metadata Administration would show to be the lacking piece.

Inherent to Monetary Companies choices is a considerable amount of delicate buyer knowledge, together with addresses, names, beginning dates, social safety numbers, and account numbers, all worthwhile to unhealthy actors, and requiring cautious stewardship and strict entry controls.

“We needed to be sure that we’re being good stewards of our buyer’s knowledge. A part of that entails ensuring that solely the fitting folks inside our group have entry to it and that we now have the correct controls round it, multi-factor authentication, issues like that,” Ian shared.

Their first step was creating masking insurance policies, making certain that solely approved workers of Austin Capital Financial institution could be permitted to entry delicate knowledge. Ian’s authentic plan was to implement masking insurance policies in knowledge entry by way of Snowflake, however discovered that whereas his crew may implement these insurance policies utilizing the device, they might be troublesome to take care of, and to be learn at-a-glance by colleagues with decrease technical aptitude.

As we thought of knowledge governance increasingly more, it turned clear I needed a device to deal with that. You really want an interface constructed on high of Snowflake in an effort to simply see who has entry to what. And that’s the place Atlan got here into the image. I used to be actually taken with the entire idea of DataOps and what that meant, and what we’re driving towards is each crew being a knowledge crew.

Ian Bass, Head of Information & Analytics

With the fitting Lively Metadata Administration platform, Austin Capital Financial institution may lastly provide self-service to its knowledge customers with out sacrificing sturdy entry and masking insurance policies.

“Atlan turned a necessity. That’s how we management entry in an simply repeatable vogue,” Ian defined. “After which the truth that we now have knowledge lineage on high of it, and the power to prepare all of our info and classifications, and add glossary phrases linked to that knowledge? That’s all icing on the cake for us.”

The place knowledge customers as soon as needed to strategy Ian and his crew for knowledge requests, his crew now makes use of Atlan to construct queries that allow their colleagues in groups like Operations to run studies on demand. Furthermore, with masking insurance policies in place, this knowledge is just not solely out there through self-service, however is ruled in a fashion the place solely approved customers can entry it.

“That was a very highly effective piece of what Atlan supplied for us, and I’ve been very pleased with how that’s progressed,” Ian shared.

Among the many earliest alternatives to place their new knowledge stack into observe was a promising new product named FreeKick. “We consider it’s a first-to-market product, in that it’s designed to assist construct credit score for minors and younger adults,” Ian shared.

FreeKick permits dad and mom to securely and reliably set up, construct, and shield their youngsters’s credit score. Constructed on high of a digital financial savings account, FreeKick routinely builds credit score for youngsters aged 14 to 25 as soon as activated. Dad and mom merely make a deposit into their FreeKick account and activate credit score constructing. A mother or father can select to resume the service yearly, or shut the account and obtain 100% of their deposit again. Establishing a robust credit score profile for his or her youngsters can save their youngsters greater than $200,000 over their lifetime.

“We predict that is going to be a differentiator within the market,” Ian defined. “There could also be different merchandise or choices on the market, like co-signing on a automotive observe, however there’s not likely every other method to do that that avoids threat. For those who are available immediately and deposit $2,500 with our financial institution, it’s an FDIC-insured deposit and also you’re getting a credit score constructing product on your youngsters, without cost. It doesn’t really value you any cash.”

In FreeKick, a promising enterprise mannequin was rising for Austin Capital Financial institution. However essential to success could be a well timed launch earlier than commencement season. And on condition that FreeKick was a departure from their standard merchandise, the expertise Austin Capital Financial institution would use to service new accounts couldn’t be tailored in time for launch. 

“Our inner CRM was not going to be prepared as a result of there was new infrastructure and transactional databases to grasp. They hadn’t pieced it collectively but,” Ian shared.

Whereas it was potential to launch FreeKick with out full technical help from their CRM, every time the shopper service crew would want knowledge about account holders, Ian’s crew must help it.

“My crew, and myself, personally, would have needed to be on name for the shopper service crew, and able to run the question on the drop of a hat as quickly as they had been on the cellphone with someone who was asking questions on their account,” Ian defined.

Ian and his crew additionally thought of a self-service mannequin whereas the CRM was enhanced to help requests for shopper knowledge, however discovered it infeasible. This strategy would demand that the shopper service crew be given entry to Snowflake, with the correct roles and insurance policies, then skilled to jot down SQL queries towards their knowledge warehouse.

In Atlan, Ian’s crew discovered an answer. Insights, a metadata-based question builder, would allow their shopper service crew to run queries about buyer knowledge in a self-service method, with out the necessity to be taught SQL.

We used Insights to help our shopper service crew, and Atlan made it a lot simpler and saved a bunch of time for me and my crew. It was a straightforward and efficient workaround, till our CRM was able to deal with the brand new product. So it actually gave us peace of thoughts. It was one thing that took my crew solely a few hours to place collectively. We couldn’t have carried out that with out Atlan.

Ian Bass, Head of Information & Analytics

Whereas solely a workaround whereas their CRM caught as much as help the brand new service mannequin that FreeKick demanded, Atlan Insights ensured that Ian’s crew spent simply two hours delivering an answer. The choice would have been painful: Turning their knowledge crew into an on-demand service middle for primary shopper knowledge requests, and taking their eye off constructing a shiny, data-driven future for the financial institution.

With the fitting knowledge expertise, activated and accessible utilizing Atlan, Austin Capital Financial institution is in a stronger place to launch new services and products, and evolve its enterprise mannequin.

“We’re within the part of determining if we need to incorporate these new product launches into our current mannequin structure, or if we need to break it out individually,” Ian shared. “In some circumstances, that might make issues quite a bit easier for us. Having this virtualized and utilizing dbt and Snowflake makes it easy for us to say ‘Right here’s the connections we have to make, right here’s all the info and fashions we now have, and the way does that match into the ecosystem?’ After which we all know what modifications we have to make, and what fashions we have to create.”

Downstream, Austin Capital Financial institution’s current adoption of ThoughtSpot is one other level of optimism for Ian and his crew, affording the pliability they should question and visualize on the velocity their enterprise is altering. 

“We’re working stay queries on high of ThoughtSpot day in and time out, and life is a complete lot easier and simpler,” Ian defined. “It’s simply simple to jot down up new queries, spin up new stay boards, and pivot rapidly. If somebody needs to drill down on a solution, it’s quite simple.”

Moreover, Ian and his crew are trying ahead to cataloging Thoughtspot property in Atlan to raised perceive the affect of modifications to their fashions of their visualization and evaluation layer, and finishing a complete, single view of their knowledge property.

To help their advertising campaigns for brand spanking new merchandise, and to gather the required knowledge to evolve these merchandise and campaigns rapidly, Ian’s crew has rapidly added Reverse ETL to their rising set of capabilities. “We may have employed an engineering crew to arrange all these API connections, however we determined to only pay a small sum of money per 12 months and do it by way of a device that I may arrange myself in a matter of 30 to 60 minutes,” Ian shared.

The street forward for Austin Capital Financial institution stays bold, with a undertaking to construct a 360-degree view of their prospects, inclusive of net exercise. Additionally essential to help a rising variety of deposit-based merchandise shall be new metrics and KPIs, supported by Ian’s crew and accessible by way of Atlan.

Maybe probably the most thrilling to Austin Capital Financial institution is the introduction of knowledge science and machine studying, enhancing the best way they market and function. “We need to get into optimization for advertising spend. We need to put fraud detection fashions in place. We need to be sure that we’re good stewards of our prospects’ knowledge,” Ian defined.

In the end, Austin Capital Financial institution sees Atlan as its window to the world, higher understanding their fast-evolving expertise and processes, and the impacts that modifications to them will make.

“I would like all of it to be built-in, in order that we’re capable of assess affect,” Ian shared. If we now have a change to a subject in a desk that’s upstream of some mannequin, I’d need to perceive the place else that will get used. And I’d know if it’s in a downstream mannequin that mixes 10 tables which are mixed in a view that aggregates knowledge, or if it’s additionally utilized by an algorithm to optimize advertising spend.”

If all of our infrastructure is tied into the identical place, we are able to make modifications, and earlier than we make these modifications, perceive the place the affect could be in order that nothing breaks. All of that may must be built-in into Atlan.”

Ian Bass, Head of Information & Analytics

The best way Austin Capital Financial institution’s knowledge crew operates, thanks partly to its funding in expertise and executing the fitting technique, is unrecognizable from the beginning of their modernization journey simply 16 months in the past.

“With the instruments we now have in place now, we’re capable of measure the affect of product modifications immediately,” Ian shared. “We are able to additionally perceive how modifications in our advertising technique affect our enterprise. For instance, we did a deep dive on key phrase searches that we had been spending on and made a considerable change. And we’re not simply measuring the effectiveness of that, however we had been additionally capable of predict what would occur. We’re following fairly carefully in-line with what that prediction was.”

However past the apparent advantages their expertise, knowledge crew, and course of provide, the tradition of Austin Capital Financial institution, from client-facing workers to executives, is quickly altering towards being data-driven.

I’ve these instruments, however the President of Credit score Sturdy and the CEO of Austin Capital Financial institution even have entry to those instruments. They’ll see the effectiveness of modifications inside hours or days of implementing. It’s one thing we didn’t have in place earlier than. We don’t must make these new constructs and connections, they’re in place already and we are able to pivot in a short time.”

Ian Bass, Head of Information & Analytics

Picture by Etienne Martin on Unsplash

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