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Facing Extinction – What African Banking Needs to Learn from Rhino Conservation

by Connor Blake on May 4, 2021

Topics: Financial Reporting | Banking Business Intelligence

A research team at Cornell recently found that transporting rhinoceroses by dangling them upside down from helicopters was the safest way of doing so for conservation.

The position allows the spine to flex and helps open their airways. Additionally, the team found that when lying on their side for road transportation, rhinos have a larger “dead space” — the amount of air in each breath that doesn't contribute oxygen to the body.

Data is Oxygen to a Financial Services Organisation

Data is essential for healthy financial performance. In the same way as the rhino lying on its side, current data bottom-up methodologies are often strangling the capability of the business.

Restricting actionable insights to senior managers is like cutting off oxygen to the airways. Data warehousing creates useful data but often fails to deliver the value on top.

The helicopter pilot in this scenario requires just the minimum data needed to guide his path, maintaining a top-down view of what is happening and precisely where to go.

What the bank needs to do is collect the minimum data that finance needs to drive automation and performance analysis.

That's a very different view from saying, “let me collect all the data I can, and then look for a solution”.

Like the black rhino, banks are facing threats to their survival in an increasingly hostile environment. Competitors are snapping at their heels, tempting their customers, and taking away prime pieces of business.

In doing so, they are forced to become leaner and search harder for new ways to balance and protect the interests of their business, customers, employees, and shareholders.

Benefits of the Top-Down View

Transporting rhinos via helicopter has been happening for 10 years and is faster, easier, and less expensive than road transport. However, until now it hasn’t been clear how being flipped upside down affects the rhinos.

But for banks, a top-down view allows CFOs to better understand their business, and view daily performance with greater insight. Through this, they can more successfully realise efficiency gains, grow the balance sheet, and monitor profitability.

If senior managers can’t measure and monitor the business, their ability to manage is threatened.

The Cornell report shows that even a minor improvement in oxygen levels improves the rhino’s welfare.

Enhancing the flow of information to senior managers in a bank has the same effect. Automating slow, manual processes to get daily actionable insights into the hands of business managers leads to measurable improvements in financial performance.

Top 5 Takeaways

Rhinos Banks
This method is saving an endangered species of a certain
Banks of a certain size are facing threats to their survival too
This is not a new technique, but it is the first time the positive
effects have been measured
Banks should take an evidence-based approach to performance
Hanging rhinos upside down improves ventilation and opened the airways.  Data is like oxygen to a bank. The bottom-up approach to solving data challenges can strangle the ability of the bank to succeed.
The black rhino is critically endangered. Conservationists have been finding ways to better protect them for years and often find themselves thinking outside the box. Senior management needs to think outside the box to find ways to protect the business, shareholders, employees, and customers.
Helicopter transport is faster, easier, and less expensive than road transport, but until now it hasn’t been clear how being
flipped affects the rhinos
Resistance to change in the banks can perpetuate a bottom-up approach when there are top-down options available today.

Getting the right information into the hands of the CEO, CFO, COO, and their teams can deliver more value and deeper insight than those working under conventional methodologies.

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