What's driving data warehousing spend

Compliance with increasingly rigorous reporting obligations and a thirst for customer behaviour information are driving the financial sector's rising investment in data warehousing and analytics.Customers and executives of data warehousing maker Teradata - a division of NCR -- detailed these motivations at a conference this week in Melbourne.

Compliance with increasingly rigorous reporting obligations and a thirst for customer behaviour information are driving the financial sector's rising investment in data warehousing and analytics.

Customers and executives of data warehousing maker Teradata - a division of NCR -- detailed these motivations at a conference this week in Melbourne.

Sydney-headquartered St George Bank is one institution stepping up its data warehousing plans. Australia's fifth-largest bank last month upgraded from Teradata's V2R5 software to a newer release to support its 1.6 terabyte enterprise data warehouse after several months ago consolidating its Business Objects analytics tools from three to one.

The institution is also undertaking rigorous testing of a disaster recovery facility due to be fully commissioned in September.

St George is planning to introduce more specialised analytics and reporting tools under the Business Objects relationship, including dashboard reporting and a new integrator tool.

Peter Karvinen, GIS program manager at St George, said information held in the data warehouse was of sufficient quality now to be reconciled with the bank's general ledger accounting at the end of each day. Previously it had been -near enough" in both quality and timeliness.

Information stored in the warehouse was used six months ago in so-called profit-pool analytics to support an overall analysis by consultancy Booz-Allen of the market outlook for the bank with a one year, three year and five year outlook.

The analysis was used in a restructuring exercise by St George boss Gail Kelly.

The warehouse is also expected to play its part in helping the institution reach its goal of becoming one of the most-respected service companies in Australia. In future, customer complaints are expected to be captured and measured using the warehouse and analytics, with service strategies modified accordingly.

Karvinen also pointed to the Basel II risk regulations as a strong influence on its future data management strategies. Data that was previously retained for 13 months must now be held for seven years.

Bank of New Zealand head of analytical marketing, business development and strategy, Susan Needham, said the key business attributes of its data warehouse -- run by owner National Australia Bank in Melbourne -- were the capabilities to cross-sell and up-sell while delivering value-added contact with customers.

Needham said customer satisfaction levels -- fuelled in many ways by strategies employing the benefits of the warehouse -- had reached 85 percent around June-July last year.

Julian Beavis, Teradata Asia-Pacific vice president, said enterprise data warehousing has reached a new stage -- whereas the first generation was used for strategic analysis of historical data, the second generation is driving tactical decisions at an operational level.

At a media panel on Thursday, Teradata executives attempted to provide some perspective on the amount of data that constitutes a terabyte. One said it was the same amount as held on 200 two-hour DVDs, while another used the analogy of the information contained in 50km worth of four-draw filing cabinets.

The largest data warehouse in Australia - with 22 terabytes to 23 terabytes of data - is believed to be run by Telstra.

Iain Ferguson travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Teradata.