After the novel coronavirus forced banking and financial services industry (BFSI) branches to shutter their doors for months at a time, many industry leaders posed the same question once economies started to re-open: do we really need all those branches?

After all, no industry has spent as much on technology as BFSI in recent years. The average IT spend across all industries in 2018 was 3.28% of revenue, while the financial services industry more than doubled that, averaging 7.16% and leading all industries in the process.

While the way in which we interact with these institutions as a consumer may have been utterly transformed over the last decade or two, many of the industry’s biggest challenges remain:

  • As institutions continue to work to differentiate by launching new and innovative products, it’s more difficult than ever to effectively govern them.
  • As these products become more complex, the regulatory hurdles they must clear to reach the market continue to grow in complexity as well.
  • As customers take advantage of products in different functions of the company (checking, savings, retirement savings, mortgage, loans, annuities, etc.) it’s difficult to ensure the customer and the institution are able to take a customer-centric viewpoint on all the products in their portfolio.

Why do these three challenges remain unsolved after years of outspending every other industry? The journey to harness the power of data may have begun more than a decade ago, but as data and complexity have steadily increased, it still comes down to the age-old challenge: an inability to deliver the right data to the right people at the right time.

Delivering the “five C’s” of data with IBM Product Master

IBM Product Master—formerly known as IBM InfoSphere Master Data Management Collaborative Edition—has been a trusted product information management (PIM) and master data management (MDM) solution for more than a decade, supporting a variety of industries from retail and banking to manufacturing, healthcare and government.

IBM Product Master performs three critical functions for the entire organization:

  1. Collecting disparate types of product information from a variety of upstream providers like product development, marketing, and investment banking.
  2. Ensuring the information is complete, current, correct, and consistent, based on the organization’s unique business rules, data shapes, and data governance.
  3. Delivering this product information instantly and accurately to customers and employees in the optimal format for their needs.

IBM Product Master is a holistic solution that allows BFSI organizations to deliver a “single source of truth” anywhere in the organization on-demand, ensuring the information requested is:

  • Consistent across the organization
  • Complete
  • Current
  • Correct
  • Cognitive

BFSI use cases: Putting IBM Product Master to work


One of the largest banks in the UK has relied on IBM Product Master to help the institution comply with Open Banking, an initiative in the UK to drive innovation in the retail banking industry by increasing opportunity for competition, with the ultimate goal to improve outcomes for customers. This is similar to the PSD2 directive in Europe.

With IBM Product Master, the bank is able to comply with Open Banking’s regulatory needs as a natural byproduct of its operations, without the need for separate and distinct reports and data.

In addition, the automation of processes and the increased collaboration within teams has streamlined operations and delivered efficiencies across the organization—efficiencies that were magnified as the institution faced massive physical displacement and disruption due to the novel coronavirus.

As organizations across the world scrambled to maintain productivity in the face of unplanned remote work arrangements, IBM Product Master ensured this bank’s employees had the right information at their fingertips, wherever they were.


Another multi-national financial services giant uses IBM Product Master to manage the lifecycle of its trading and banking books and their reconciliation against source systems. This central platform not only helps the global institution manage its complex regulatory needs; it also ensures the same information is available instantly across the organization, delivered to the customer, and the customer-facing employees automatically based on the organization’s own business rules.

Not only does this provide an enhanced customer experience (CX) when accessing the product information, but it creates a great employee experience (EX) and unlocks new revenue and margin opportunities for the institution’s employees and marketers through seamless up-sell/cross-sell and superior customer service delivery.

Accelerating BFSI’s digital transformation

IBM Product Master is a trusted yet modern platform that provides several core features designed to accelerate the digital transformation of BFSI organizations, including:

  • Cloud-first architecture: IBM Product Master is multi-cloud ready out of the box, reducing time to value, improving infrastructure efficiency and providing a seamless cloud migration.
  • Flexibility: An adaptive data model ensures financial organizations can capture upstream information in any format—especially valuable in organizations that have grown through acquisition.
  • Quality: A powerful UI based rules engine makes it easy to create and maintain hundreds and thousands of data quality rules without the need of any coding or scripting knowledge.
  • Security: IBM Product Master supports GDPR compliance and reduces the risk of unintended data sharing through the platform’s robust permissions functions.
  • AI & ML built-in: IBM Product Master integrates IBM Watson to scan data sets for anything that doesn’t meet the specific business rules of the organization, harnessing the power of AI to decrease errors and reduce enterprise risk in the process.
  • Scalability: One large European retailer supports more than 33 million product SKUs with more on the way, so there’s plenty of room for growth in BFSI.
  • Speed: A manufacturer of luxury goods reduced the time to get new products onto their ecommerce sites from an average of 22 days to just minutes today.

To find out how IBM Product Master can help your BFSI organization improve your compliance, reduce your complexity and enhance your customer experience through one cloud-ready platform, and watch our latest webinar now!