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

Austin Capital Financial institution Modernizes its Knowledge Stack in simply 16 Months to Assist First-in-market Merchandise and Companies
  • Austin Capital Financial institution, a fast-growing neighborhood financial institution, sought to modernize their knowledge stack to assist 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 Energetic 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 pacesetter in neighborhood banking, utilizing know-how and knowledge to gas its nationwide development.

“We began off a number of years in the past with targets similar to every other neighborhood financial institution, serving the Austin neighborhood,” shared Ian Bass, Head of Knowledge & Analytics for Austin Capital Financial institution. “After a couple of years of being the sponsor financial institution for a FinTech providing, our founders determined we might construct this type 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 totally digital providing of loans and features of credit score, provided to customers with no credit score historical past or poor credit score to assist them enhance their scores with out the widespread threat of predatory lending or bank cards with astronomical rates of interest.

Reworking from a neighborhood 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 activity. Not solely would it not demand groundbreaking merchandise and trendy person experiences, but additionally the most effective and brightest minds in Knowledge & Analytics, with the know-how to assist them launch and iterate at unprecedented velocity.

“My position 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 inconceivable. To fulfill the numerous calls for of a brand new digital merchandise mannequin, Ian and his staff had been tasked with a real ground-up construct of a contemporary knowledge stack.

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

Transferring from implementing Snowflake, Ian’s staff sought an answer to ingest knowledge with out the necessity for important knowledge engineering sources, selecting Fivetran and launching in only one month as they started to combine into their core know-how and construct fashions. Already present 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 assist digital monetary merchandise that required much more flexibility than conventional banking techniques, and architected to run lean.

Once I got here in, none of this existed. And right now now we have about six completely different SaaS merchandise that comprise our knowledge stack. We’ve ThoughtSpot, we use Snowflake, we use Reverse ETL instruments. We’ve a variety of issues in place that we will virtualize and deal with with a two or three individual staff, versus needing an enormous engineering staff. We’re paying for these instruments, nevertheless it’s offsetting prices in that we don’t want to rent groups to do that. We are able to run actually lean, and we will pivot in a short time.

Ian Bass, Head of Knowledge & Analytics

However whereas software after software was efficiently carried out, Ian and his staff had been spending important effort responding to requests for knowledge, and had but to discover a method to supply this knowledge in a self-service method whereas remaining compliant. Energetic 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, delivery dates, social safety numbers, and account numbers, all invaluable to unhealthy actors, and requiring cautious stewardship and strict entry controls.

“We wished to ensure that we’re being good stewards of our buyer’s knowledge. A part of that entails ensuring that solely the precise folks inside our group have entry to it and that now we 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 licensed workers of Austin Capital Financial institution can be permitted to entry delicate knowledge. Ian’s unique plan was to implement masking insurance policies in knowledge entry via Snowflake, however discovered that whereas his staff might implement these insurance policies utilizing the software, 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 an increasing number of, it turned clear I wished a software to deal with that. You actually need an interface constructed on prime 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 staff being an information staff.

Ian Bass, Head of Knowledge & Analytics

With the precise Energetic Metadata Administration platform, Austin Capital Financial institution might lastly supply self-service to its knowledge customers with out sacrificing robust entry and masking insurance policies.

“Atlan turned a necessity. That’s how we management entry in an simply repeatable style,” Ian defined. “After which the truth that now we have knowledge lineage on prime 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 staff for knowledge requests, his staff 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 accessible through self-service, however is ruled in a fashion the place solely licensed customers can entry it.

“That was a very highly effective piece of what Atlan provided 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 soundly and reliably set up, construct, and shield their youngsters’s credit score. Constructed on prime of a digital financial savings account, FreeKick mechanically builds credit score for kids 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 guardian 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 notice, however there’s not likely every other approach to do that that avoids threat. If you happen to are available right now 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 spending a dime. It doesn’t truly price you any cash.”

In FreeKick, a promising enterprise mannequin was rising for Austin Capital Financial institution. However essential to success can be a well timed launch earlier than commencement season. And on condition that FreeKick was a departure from their common merchandise, the know-how 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 know. They hadn’t pieced it collectively but,” Ian shared.

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

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

Ian and his staff additionally thought of a self-service mannequin whereas the CRM was enhanced to assist requests for shopper knowledge, however discovered it infeasible. This strategy would demand that the shopper service staff be given entry to Snowflake, with the correct roles and insurance policies, then educated to put in writing SQL queries in opposition to their knowledge warehouse.

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

We used Insights to assist our shopper service staff, and Atlan made it a lot simpler and saved a bunch of time for me and my staff. It was a simple 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 staff solely a few hours to place collectively. We couldn’t have accomplished that with out Atlan.

Ian Bass, Head of Knowledge & Analytics

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

With the precise knowledge know-how, 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 wish to incorporate these new product launches into our present mannequin structure, or if we wish to break it out individually,” Ian shared. “In some instances, that would make issues rather a lot less complicated 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 now we 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 latest adoption of ThoughtSpot is one other level of optimism for Ian and his staff, affording the pliability they should question and visualize on the velocity their enterprise is altering. 

“We’re working reside queries on prime of ThoughtSpot day in and time out, and life is a complete lot less complicated and more practical,” Ian defined. “It’s simply straightforward to put in writing up new queries, spin up new reside boards, and pivot rapidly. If somebody desires to drill down on a solution, it’s quite simple.”

Moreover, Ian and his staff are wanting ahead to cataloging Thoughtspot belongings in Atlan to higher perceive the impression of modifications to their fashions of their visualization and evaluation layer, and finishing a complete, single view of their knowledge property.

To assist their advertising and marketing campaigns for brand new merchandise, and to gather the required knowledge to evolve these merchandise and campaigns rapidly, Ian’s staff has rapidly added Reverse ETL to their rising set of capabilities. “We might have employed an engineering staff to arrange all these API connections, however we determined to only pay a small amount of cash per yr and do it via a software that I might arrange myself in a matter of 30 to 60 minutes,” Ian shared.

The highway forward for Austin Capital Financial institution stays bold, with a challenge to construct a 360-degree view of their prospects, inclusive of internet exercise. Additionally essential to assist a rising variety of deposit-based merchandise might be new metrics and KPIs, supported by Ian’s staff and accessible via Atlan.

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

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

“I need all of it to be built-in, in order that we’re capable of assess impression,” Ian shared. If now we have a change to a discipline in a desk that’s upstream of some mannequin, I’d wish 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 might be mixed in a view that aggregates knowledge, or if it’s additionally utilized by an algorithm to optimize advertising and marketing spend.”

If all of our infrastructure is tied into the identical place, we will make modifications, and earlier than we make these modifications, perceive the place the impression can be in order that nothing breaks. All of that can should be built-in into Atlan.”

Ian Bass, Head of Knowledge & Analytics

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

“With the instruments now we have in place now, we’re capable of measure the impression of product modifications immediately,” Ian shared. “We are able to additionally perceive how modifications in our advertising and marketing technique impression 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 intently in-line with what that prediction was.”

However past the apparent advantages their know-how, knowledge staff, and course of supply, 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 will 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 should make these new constructs and connections, they’re in place already and we will pivot in a short time.”

Ian Bass, Head of Knowledge & Analytics

Picture by Etienne Martin on Unsplash

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