The need to focus on data quality

GFT’s Tony Muraki-Hart (Client Solutions Director and ESG Lead) attended the recent PAC Horizons event in London, hosted by analyst firm PAC, where much of the conversation continues to be about the potential of AI. In our latest GFT blog Tony provides his thoughts on where the real priorities should lie.  

In 2023, the top 15 of the largest IT services firms account for only 40% of the total market, underscoring the importance of the many specialised suppliers with a focus on engineering, such as GFT. Some key dynamics that many of us are experiencing include: 

  • A focus on short-term ROI, increasing efficiency / productivity / automation, with agility and resilience at the core 
  • Decision-making cycles getting longer, even for mid-sized deals, which are becoming more popular for cloud transformation and enterprise-wide data, analytics and AI 
  • Price negotiations becoming much more tense, with both vendors and buyers being more cautious on recruitment plans 

The top three cloud providers in EMEA are not necessarily who you think they are! SAP commands 3rd-place behind Microsoft and AWS, with almost 6% of market spend. Surprisingly, Google is 5th in EMEA, with a market share just above 4%, but has been growing 50% year-on-year. They will continue to grow at a faster pace than Microsoft or AWS, and from what we’re experiencing with our customer base, GFT expects the balance to change in the coming years. 

PAC’s latest outlook for the UK IT Services market sees the following growth drivers in 2024: 

  • Acceleration of Digital Transformation (again building on the Covid-19 IT catalyst) 
  • Increasing spend on Cyber 
  • New wave of interest in AI 
  • Growing focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) topics 

In the banking sector, the focus is on Digital Customer Engagement, AI in Risk Management, and Sustainability Analytics.  

GenAI is here to stay 

The buzz and general hype around GenAI is huge! However, PAC suggests that the emphasis is currently on discussions and discovery, rather than actual initiatives and deals. Ensuring data quality is crucial for successful implementation of AI and GenAI to avoid misleading outcomes, often known as ‘AI hallucinations’. However, AI in all its forms will become very real, very soon and will have a major impact on the design, software development, testing, release, and support pillars. It is safe to say that GenAI is here to stay, and it’ll be interesting to see how long it will be before it becomes a natural part of business, IT delivery, communications, and so on. I’ll take a stake on a 2025 timeframe! 

DataGovOps will become as natural as DevOps 

The UK will place a strong emphasis on data-centric approaches in 2023 and 2024, addressing regulatory pressures, meeting demand and safeguarding against cyber threats. These capabilities and offerings align with GFT’s focus on providing services to the retail banking, capital markets, insurance, and asset management sectors. 

Similar to the relatively recent rise of FinOps, Data Governance Services are also gaining momentum, with a need for a similar concept, logically named DataGovOps.  

DataGovOps refers to the practice of integrating data governance principles and practices into DevOps processes. This incorporates data management, data quality, data privacy, and data security considerations into the entire data lifecycle, from development to deployment and operations. 

DataGovOps aims to ensure that data-related requirements, compliance and best practices are effectively addressed throughout the DevOps pipeline. Naturally, GFT’s data team possesses significant expertise in delivering such services for our customers. 

A sustainable industry 

The significance of sustainability in the banking industry is increasing, particularly in the field of analytics. However, it is crucial to avoid merely making superficial claims of being a sustainable provider without taking substantial actions. Net Zero is becoming very real for many organisations, with stringent reporting directives being dictated by the EU in 2024, 2025 and beyond. 

The core sustainability themes in EMEA for 2024 include: 

  • Data-driven sustainable transformation – how firms can capture and employ sustainability data using technology to drive sustainable business? 
  • Complexity of sustainability reporting – how organisations can track, consolidate, manage and automate data for ESG reporting 
  • Net zero and decarbonisation – how technology can help decarbonise and optimise business / industrial operations 
  • Social sustainability – how companies can develop equal opportunity and fair working policies 
  • Responsible procurement and circularity – driving sustainability from design, to minimise waste in operations and across value-chains. 

Whilst corporate and social responsibility (CSR) teams in banks may focus on the above themes, investors are focused on companies and equities that are driving change that are focused on environment, social and corporate governance (ESG).  

Furthermore, it is essential for IT providers to incorporate sustainability services and data into their offerings, integrating these crucial aspects into their overall portfolio. This is core to GFT and something we’ve been developing over the past few years, with a focus on: Green Asset Ratio (GAR) Reporting, ESG and Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) Taxonomy tooling, Carbon Footprint Calculator, ESG Reporting and Analytics, Green Coding, and Digital Bond Green Issuance amongst others. 

Discover more about GFT’s AI:DA Marketplace here 

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