Big data management and business value in the commercial banking sector in Kenya
Kenya's financial services industry is one of the most prominent in the economy, within it banking possibly the most vibrant sector. The financial services industry is amongst the most data driven and increasingly facing the challenge of big data where unprecedented quantities of structured and unstructured data stored in a variety of systems and formats. Identified as the biggest information technology trend for 2012, big data gets global attention and can be best described using volume, variety and velocity. Big data refers to environment in which data sets have grown too large to be handled, managed, stored and retrieved in an acceptable timeframe. Given the enormous growth of data, banks are suffering from their inability to effectively exploit their data assets. Central Bank of Kenya develops appropriate laws, regulations and guidelines that govern the players in the banking sector. The regulatory environment that commercial banks operate within requires these institutions to store and analyze many years of transaction data. In response to new regulations, banks need to have a horizontal view of risk within their trading arms. Providing this view requires banks to integrate data from different trade capture systems, each with their own data schemas, into a central repository for positions counter-party information and trades. Banks have relied on relational technologies coupled with business intelligence tools to handle this ever-increasing data burden. This research paper focused on the extent of big data management in commercial banks, benefits of big data management, challenges in big data management and the effects of big data management on business value. This study adopted a descriptive survey. The population of the study consisted of all the 43 commercial banks and 1 mortgage finance company in Kenya. Primary data was collected using structured questionnaires and it was presented in pie charts, bar chart and percentages. The results of this research clearly indicate a great deal of activity around planning and implementing big data management environments. This study showed that indeed the banking sector in Kenya is in the very early stages of the big data management initiatives and banks are using various big data management techniques and tools and at the same time struggling to keep pace. There were a number of challenges in managing big data that were identified which hinder big data implementations. Finally, this study also showed that more than half of the banks studied have invested or are planning to invest in better understanding and utilization of the data they collect with the rest of the banks under study not having any big data management initiatives. For organizations, this paper can act as an eye-opener as it shows the potential of big data management. When it comes to banks there is need to understand immediate and strategic information needs of the organization before bringing big data management initiatives on board. Additional research might focus on other markets or types of big data analytics such as real-time analytics, which receives an increasing amount of interest. In addition, its impact on competitive advantage and the creation or reinvention of new business models, might be studied too, as value creation and competitive advantage are closely related.