"Follow the money!" is a phrase that came into the popular consciousness during Watergate, but it also describes the financial services industry. After all, financial services as an industry is all about money. It includes banking (savings and loans, commercial banks, mortgage banks, credit unions), securities and exchanges (brokerages, investment banks, investment advisors) and international finance (currency exchange, foreign investment). In these businesses, the use of business intelligence (BI) has been focused on finance, rather than business operations.

In general, use of BI in financial services has provided value. A recent Gartner, Inc. survey evaluated responses from banks, insurers and nonfinancial businesses. The survey found that more than 95 percent of banking respondents agreed that BI is a strategic initiative driven by senior management, and more than 90 percent agreed they received the value expected from their BI investment. This compared very favorably with nonfinancial respondents, where both categories were approximately 20 percentage points lower.

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