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Resolving 3 financial services challenges with Neo4j Aura on Google Cloud

Over the last decade, financial service organizations have been adopting a cloud-first mindset. According to InformationWeek, lower costs and enhanced scalability were the biggest drivers for cloud adoption in financial services, and cloud-native applications allow access to the latest technology and talent, enabling adopters to rebuild transaction processing systems capable of supporting very high volumes and low latency.

Both Neo4j and Google Cloud have been using relationship-based data representations since the beginning, and we’re dedicated to using this technology to help financial services customers drive business transformation. We are excited about the prospects of financial services (FinServ) cloud systems and believe that graph data in the cloud can help solve significant challenges in the industry.

Data Challenge #1: Risk Management and Compliance

First among the top concerns for any CIO moving to the cloud is risk management and compliance. Disconnected, uncontextualized, or stale data create opportunities for fraud and financial crimes to occur. The fact is when it comes to FinServ, the question is not “if” but rather how often an attack will occur.  Unfortunately, incidents have been trending upward over the last decade, and COVID has only exacerbated this reality. Financial crimes affect the bottom line both in the remediation of these crimes and in intangibles like brand value.  

Add to this the complexity of international banking, which makes “compliance” a moving target. Penalties due to noncompliance are a constant concern to any FinServ organization.

The tabular representation of information with a fixed number of columns that never change prevents a description of an ever changing world with changing characteristics. Relational databases are great if the world you describe does not move fast but have limitations when data structures are highly interlinked and not homogeneous.

Neo4j Aura on Google Cloud provides a foundation for creating dynamic, futureproof, scalable applications that adhere to the security standards and protocols today’s financial services organizations require to meet the challenges of finding and preventing bad actors. This also includes enterprise scalability; reaching over 1 Billion nodes and relationships to streamline queries and provide solutions that meet regulatory and privacy compliance across geographies. Neo4j has helped some organizations save billions of USD in fraud in the first year of deployment alone.  

What makes graph technology the best choice for fraud detection use cases is that the relationships between the data-points are as important as the data-points themselves. Let’s take as an example, one John Smith approaches a multi-national banking institution to manage the primary account for his new holding corporation.  

While no one has any record of John R Smith Holdings LLC, the bank’s application built on graph technology understands that there are several well-known entities owned by John Smith Holdings. The application also identifies several well-known board members who bank with this institution. Due to this relationship-driven approach, the bank now understands John R Smith is not “John Smith,” who previously attempted to open an account for his holding corporation, which had no information associated with it prior to two months ago.

Data Challenge #2 Manual Processes and Inefficiencies 

The ubiquity of the cloud offers an opportunity to deploy automation at unprecedented levels to tackle the errors and inefficiencies that manual processing allows to creep into processes. When data comes from disparate, perhaps legacy systems – which may have become siloed and “untouchable” over the years – further complexity arises. As an example, if someone in sales types “John Smith” into a CRM system not knowing that John R Smith is the spelling in the customer data master, it may result in two separate and potentially conflicting records. Being able to join those records together in a mastered view helps to solve this problem. In addition, low data quality equates to an increase in risk, costs, and implementation times for new systems. 

Neo4j Aura on Google Cloud provides automation and artificial intelligence (AI) that reduces manual processes and the errors that accompany them. In this graph architecture each node, which can represent a person, will have labels, relationships, and properties associated with it. This allows for the use of AI which can easily understand that John Smith in the CRM is the same John R Smith in the customer master. The information contained in Neo4j can be connected bi-directionally to ensure consistency across applications and data sources. 

One of the benefits of this approach is that linking information allows organizations to keep the full value of the data, rather than forcing the data into predetermined tabular representations, with the risk of losing valuable information and insights.

Data Challenge #3: Customer Engagement and Insight

Another significant concern is the high expectations today’s customers have for every interaction. End users are accustomed to predictable experiences on their digital devices, and FinServ apps are no exception. Added to this, the “Covid economy” has driven digital adoption significantly across demographics; even among customers who might traditionally have used in-person services. This also equates to increased expectations for personalized, predictable experiences with every digital interaction. We know that latency has always been a key consideration for financial trading, but a recent ComputerWeekly study showed that every financial organization should ensure their visible latency is at 10 milliseconds or less. Customers no longer accept their broadband is at fault.

Finally, blind spots in the customer journey often result in dissatisfaction, which ultimately leads to increased churn. Without gaining actionable insights from your customers, there is no room to innovate and iterate on what they are looking for in your products and services. And this translates to losing market share and competitive advantage.

The NoSQL architecture, specifically the dynamic schema and structure of Neo4j Aura gives you the ability to take charge of your data and make changes according to your development cycles or newer data models. This equates to faster builds, more comprehensive releases and a wider, richer data-set that can be contextualized and understood instantly. Graph technology is the logical choice for building a Customer 360 application. Under this approach organizations not only get valuable insight into the individual client’s behavior and patterns, but also those of their family, friends and colleagues. This allows for stronger personalization, targeted campaigns and successful execution, resulting in increased customer satisfaction and retention levels.

Graph Technology on Google Cloud

Neo4j can help analysts visualize which accounts have shared attributes, making it more likely that they have the same high risk owners.

Neo4j is a recognized leader in graph database technology and the only fully integrated graph solution on Google Cloud, helping to fill a common need for Google Cloud customers. Both Neo4j and Google Cloud are invested in continuing to grow our partnership and mutual product direction.  

You can find and deploy the Neo4j graph database straight from the Google Cloud marketplace, whether you want to download the software for an on-premises deployment, use the virtual machine image, or use the hosted solution, Aura on Google Cloud, the graph database-as-a-service. In any deployment, you get the same enterprise-grade scalability, reliability, and connectivity along with successful, repeatable use cases you can rely on to resolve your particular challenges and integrated billing. 

For a real-world example of how graph technology can optimize financial services, you can read our Case Study with fintech Current. Current, a leading U.S. financial technology platform with over three million members, used Neo4j Aura on Google Cloud to create a personalization engine based on client relationships. 

To learn more about Neo4j Aura on Google Cloud for FinServ organizations, register for our webinar on Thursday, December 16 with Jim Webber, Chief Scientist, CTO Field Ops at Neo4j and Antoine Larmanjat, Technical Director, Office of the CTO, Google Cloud. 

Click here to Register

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