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  • 98% are not using real-time data to make critical decisions
  • 100% of operations leaders believe it takes significant effort to get insights from their data
  • Almost half are basing decisions on data that is over two months old

Operations leaders within financial services are facing decision paralysis, painting a concerning picture for the industry across the Republic of Ireland. The latest research from ActiveOps, provider of AI-powered Decision Intelligence for service operations, has revealed that senior operations heads are unable to make critical decisions due to poor data – highlighting a concerning state of play that involves significant data issues and challenges that are impacting businesses’ ability to achieve their priorities in 2024. The ActiveOps solutions and implementation partner in the Republic is award-winning, Irish owned Xcentuate.

To better understand the current data landscape, as well as AI adoption and maturity within operations in financial services and uncover the challenges they face with data, ActiveOps commissioned market research of more than 800 Chief Operations Officers, Chief Financial Officers, and Senior Heads of Operations across the globe. This included the Republic of Ireland (ROI), the UK, the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.

Almost half (46%) of ROI operations leaders are basing decisions on data that is over two months old, with 14% using data that is older than three months. As well as data being out of date, 100% shared that they must put in significant effort to get insights from their operational data.

Bhavesh Vaghela, Chief Marketing Officer at ActiveOps said: “It is clear from our research that operations businesses have serious problems with their data. Many have invested heavily in process reengineering and automation to drive efficiencies, and to support digitisation strategies, but have failed to address the fundamental data problem. Managing in an environment of spreadsheets, data siloes and decision making by hunch is not tenable, and operations teams can’t achieve their goals if these challenges and barriers remain.”

46% of businesses are putting an emphasis on improving sustainability this year, while 38% want to focus on increasing business resilience, and yet these same businesses agreed that they are poor or average in areas such as operational performance which would enable the advancement of these priorities.

Currently, almost half of ROI operations leaders are relying heavily on human instinct to make decisions, and 44% believe that using AI will provide diagnostic insights to help remove this dependence. Similarly, the majority of leaders think that having access to trusted, real-time operational data would help them take control of their costs, decision-making and operational performance – key success factors in 2024.

Ray Bowe, Chief Executive Officer at Xcentuate, added: “Basing critical decisions on insights that are incomplete, inaccurate and months old puts operations on the back foot. In today’s world, where customer demands are so high, speed of decision making to drive productivity and efficiencies becomes a competitive advantage. Leading to faster turnaround times, reducing overtime, limited staff burnout and avoiding costly SLA breaches.”

Despite challenges, there is an indication that operations leaders recognise the power of data if it was accessible, relevant and available in real-time. The key to this is Artificial Intelligence (AI), and financial services companies will need to prepare themselves to embrace this technology so they can realise their potential through decisive decision-making.

Bhavesh Vaghela concluded: “AI has the potential to transform the world of operations and confidence from operational leaders seems high. However, data holds the key to not only automate processes but to also support human decision making – via predictive and prescriptive insight in real-time.

“It’s time for operations leaders to take their belief in AI and real-time data and turn it into tangible practices and results. A lot of work needs to be done to get their data to a point where it is relevant, consistent and trusted. Only then can they make the best possible decisions for their business and realise the potential of AI and real-time data, beginning the journey from data drudgery to a leaner, transformed organisation.”

To find out more, read the full whitepaper here.


Research methodology

ActiveOps commissioned Censuswide to survey over 850 Chief Operating Officers, Chief Financial Officers, and Senior Heads of Operations within the Financial Services sector, to gather insights on their priorities for 2024, challenges they were experiencing with their operational data and adoption of AI. The research was conducted between February and March 2024 in seven countries including the UK, Republic of Ireland, the United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.