Data analytics “allows us to keep pace with the competition”
The pandemic has placed a greater focus on the role of data analytics in risk monitoring, encouraging employers to invest in the upskilling of their workforces.
“We live at the age of information; data and information are produced faster than ever before,” says Dimitris Kaskantanis, head of internal audit data analytics at Eurobank. “Data analytics allows us to keep pace with technological progress in our field.”
During the pandemic, the internal audit team at Eurobank shifted its focus to risks stemming from remote working and how it altered the control environment and risk monitoring framework, with data analytics providing significant value for resource monitoring, says Kaskantanis.
“The implementation of timely resource monitoring allows for a smooth adaptation to the new reality of remote working, and the visualisation of the relevant KPIs facilitates the decision-making process,” he says.
“In the financial sector data literacy is not an option, it is imperative in order to keep pace with the competition, discover new insights, offer a better customer experience and effectively monitor business risks.”
Data literacy in high demand
As market and technology trends evolve, so does an organisations’ talent requirements. In fact, 87 percent of organisations say they are either experiencing skill gaps now or expect them within a few years, according to a study by McKinsey, with 43 percent of those surveyed expecting these gaps to be within data analytics.
Upskilling employees, especially in data analytics, is vital in supporting Eurobank in achieving its data-driven transformation programme, according to Kaskantanis.
Alongside the organisation’s pivot to data analytics, the pandemic and shift to remote working has provided an opportunity for employers and employees to focus more on learning and development.
“Remote working during the pandemic has reduced commute time, which in turn freed up time and energy for people to advance their skills,” says Kaskantanis. “People showed great eagerness to advance their analytics skills through online learning platforms.”
The ICAEW’s Data Analytics certificate equips finance professionals to play a pivotal role between data and the business, combining commercial acumen and business knowledge with data analytics experience.
“It was a perfect match for us,” says Kaskantanis. “There are a huge number of relevant courses in the market that are either live, webinar-based or platforms on demand but we, as auditors, found the ICAEW’s Certificate very relevant to our needs.”
“A big advantage was the 12-month access to Datacamp which contains several educational courses on a variety of data analytics tools. We already see some of the benefits from the ICAEW programme in practice such as in the use of Python or of visualisations.”
Before enrolling employees onto the Certificate, Eurobank internal audit acknowledged the different levels of expertise among the team, which was also confirmed from a data literacy assessment survey they carried out.
Tailoring the organisation’s upskilling strategy to fit both the individual and the team helps to maximise the learning experience employees can gain from such courses, highlights Kaskantanis.
By doing so individuals with different levels of expertise can support each other and work together to foster a strong data analytics culture.
An analytical-driven future
The advancement of analytics skills enables Eurobank internal audit teams to have a more comprehensive view of the organisation and bank’s operation, explains Kaskantanis.
Not only will it help improve the quality of deliverables, but communication with stakeholders too, as well as make messages clearer to management.
“The increased use of analytics will help us to become more efficient, explore new data sets, identify new risks and ultimately understand our business better. For us, data literacy is no longer preferable, it is essential.”