Driving ideas with a valuable commodity: data
Driving ideas with a valuable commodity: data
October 29, 2015

Driving ideas with a valuable commodity: data

Prahalad Thota, head of Enterprise Analytics, discusses Wells Fargo’s focus on data and an upcoming college challenge in which students use social media data to solve problems.

We often say data is one of these new, valuable commodities, like lumber, gold, or oil has been. But once you have oceans of data, not everyone knows what to do with it. That’s where data analytics comes in: to provide the insights and innovative thinking hidden inside mountains of data.

Because data and analytics are more useful when working together, the mandate of our analytics team is to find connections across Wells Fargo and uncover value in the data assets we have. We’re focused on using data in three areas:

  1. Drive an integrated customer experience. We’re using analytics to look across the company and deliver a more integrated customer experience. We want to speak to our customers as one company and not as individual product offerings; data helps us figure out where we can make those connections.
  2. Understand our customers’ needs and customize marketing. Data helps us know where our customers want to interact with us: using our mobile app, at one of our more than 8,700 physical locations, at one of our more than 12,800 ATMs, or on the phone. Knowing our customers in this way means we can communicate with those customers when and where they want.
  3. Mitigate risk. Data is helping us understand and mitigate credit risk, operational risk, and market risk so we make better informed decisions.

We continue to have our eye on data integrity and protecting our customers’ information. We always want to maintain appropriate safeguards and controls and ensure we’re leveraging data appropriately, and in accordance with customer expectations. We don’t take this lightly: We’re responsible for the data we collect and creating robust governance on how we’re using and safeguarding it.

In addition to our own capabilities, we’re also looking outside of Wells Fargo for inspiration and connections by engaging academic institutions to:

  • Apply the academic expertise of leading professors to real-life data challenges.
  • Engage students to unlock their ideas and perspectives.

Social media Campus Analytics Challenge

Driving ideas with a valuable commodity: data

Social media is a prime example of a vast amount of unstructured data. While we have many tools to measure sentiment expressed via social media, or the tone of what consumers are saying on social media channels, we want to use analytics to glean insights from social media about pain points, the customer experience, and what actions consumers are taking.

To help us achieve some of these insights — and the accompanying solutions — we’re turning to college students at 13 universities across the U.S. We’ll provide anonymized social media data to these students and challenging them to study and analyze it.

Last year, we held our first Campus Challenge, which focused on financial health. This year we’re expanding the challenge to more universities and conducting it virtually. The Campus Analytics Challenge will take place on the MindSumo collaborative platform Nov. 9–30. Participants’ results will be judged by Wells Fargo’s data analytics experts, and each of five top individuals or teams will take home a $2,000 prize.

The challenge is sponsored by our Data and Analytics Group, Innovation Group, and Social Media teams. For more information, email edacommunications@wellsfargo.com.

Participating colleges and universities

  • Arizona State University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • College of Charleston
  • Georgia Tech
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Iowa State University
  • New York University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Saint Mary’s College of California
  • Stanford University
  • University of California Berkeley
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte