Across the dynamic landscape of inclusive financial service providers, institutions that generate the greatest impact for their clients and communities are those most adept at leveraging technology and data strategically. Since 2019, Accion Advisory has been identifying these innovators and supporting them in their work to digitally transform their own operations, as well as the millions of the micro and small enterprises they serve across the globe.

With decades of on-the-ground experience working with financial institutions, Accion Advisory has developed deep technical expertise across core practice areas to support effective digital transformation. Accion Advisory’s Data Management and Analytics practice area helps institutions better leverage data to expand into and target new customer segments, automate and de-risk existing credit processes, personalize the customer experience, and strengthen decision-making protocols through robust data infrastructure.

Despite the recognized benefits and importance of adopting a data-driven approach, many institutions struggle to harness data. A key priority in our work with financial service providers globally is to help them create a closely aligned data strategy that can advance their digital transformation goals. The following case studies capture how we worked with three institutional partners to build and enhance their data capabilities and improve their ability to make a lasting impact on their customers’ lives.

Dvara KGFS

Business objective

Founded in 2008, Dvara KGFS’ mission is to empower rural communities beyond just financial assistance; but also, holistically transform lives and uplift the underserved. They offer a range of financial services and products through their network of remote branches in rural communities, reaching almost five million people. Dvara KGFS sought to more effectively use data to inform decision-making across their branches in order to better mitigate risks and tailor financial solutions to the unique needs of rural customers.

Data maturity

Since 2021, Dvara and Accion Advisory worked to develop a comprehensive data strategy that aligned with its mission and digital transformation aspirations. At the core of this project was an omni-channel customer engagement strategy to grow their reach and meet customers where they are. Through an initial data strategy workshop and close collaboration with Dvara’s internal stakeholders, Accion’s data advisors conducted a Data Maturity Diagnostic to assess their current state of readiness for data transformation (see below).

Dvara’s Data Maturity Diagnostic in July 2021 and January 2023

Bridging the data maturity gap

The diagnostic revealed that Dvara’s as-is state of readiness, from a people and process standpoint, was relatively strong. However, in order to better align its existing processes with its overarching objective of optimizing decision-making through a data-driven approach Accion provided a set of recommendations centered around the following initiatives:

  1. Revising the scope of technical and non-technical roles within the data team.
  2. Defining how the newly established data team can concurrently support core business functions and branch operations.
  3. Reviewing the current process for requesting data mapping and reports.
  4. Optimizing information flows and report production processes.

Over an 18-month period, Dvara’s implementation of these recommendations yielded a tangible improvement in data maturity, a sentiment echoed by Dvara’s Chief Data Science Officer, Bragadeesh Sundararajan.

“Our journey towards data excellence at Dvara KGFS has been transformative. We’ve cultivated a culture where both technical and non-technical members thrive on collaboration and innovation. These practices reflect a comprehensive approach to enhancing data management and utilization at Dvara KGFS, aligned with the strategic recommendations provided by Accion.”

Bragadeesh Sundararajan, Dvara’s Chief Data Science Officer


Business objective

A digital financial intermediary that serves seven million customers across India, Sub-K bridges the gap between banks and underserved populations through an extensive network of retailers and feet-on-the-street that reach last-mile communities. In order to tailor its products to the varied needs of its target segments, Sub-K identified the importance of high-quality data, which relies on the seamless flow of real-time customer data. It engaged Accion’s data advisory team to review these processes, conduct a data maturity assessment, and develop a roadmap for building ML-based predictive risk assessment models and data-driven fraud detection mechanisms.

Data maturity

Accion Advisory’s data team conducted a data maturity assessment to ascertain the gaps Sub-K faces in data availability, usage, and capacity, and the main challenges they encounter from a data management and analysis perspective. The assessment found:

These findings demonstrated that the success of Sub-K’s predictive modeling and fraud detection ambitions would be predicated on bridging the infrastructural and technical gaps that these capabilities rely upon.   

Bridging the data maturity gap

To remediate these issues, we recommended:

Sub-K leveraged our recommendations to improve its technology and infrastructure, team organization, and their effective use of data (see below). By implementing these changes Sub-K enhanced its data capabilities and ability to meet customers’ unique needs and drive internal efficiencies.

Initiatives implemented by Sub-K following recommendations made by Accion Advisory recommendations in September 2020

Bina Artha Ventura

Business objective

Bina Artha Ventura (BAV) is a financial service provider that has delivered 400,000 working capital loans to microbusinesses across Indonesia, many of them owned and operated by women. BAV has a goal of reaching 1,000,000 households within the next few years, and to do this, the company identified the need for a data-driven approach to client on-boarding, process automation, and credit decisioning.

Data maturity

Accion Advisory conducted a gap analysis to evaluate discrepancies between the technical requirements and capacity needs of a data-driven institution, and those held by BAV at the time. Following this review, we mapped out the following initiatives to be addressed:

The gap analysis sheds important light on the fundamental pillars that underlie a successful data-driven organization. These pillars, once in place, would allow BAV to effectively implement the use-cases that will drive the businesses towards its goal of reaching 1 million customers.

Bridging the data maturity gap

Implementing these recommendations provided BAV with the requisite foundation to begin to effectively capture, store, and operationalize data to better target its customers and automate processes across the value chain.

This process has allowed BAV to develop a clear subset of use cases against which it can develop a roadmap of priorities based on its strategic business objectives, as shown by the figure below.

Roadmap of data use-cases jointly prioritized by Accion & BAV in August 2020

While an institutional data transformation project is a long, iterative journey, defining a mission-aligned data strategy, devising a prioritized roadmap of use-cases, and developing target data team structures and architecture creates a solid foundation upon which to build. The three presented cases show the difference in priorities faced by institutions of varying digital maturities and underlines the importance of diagnostic tools to quickly identify their point on the maturity spectrum.

To find out more about how Accion Advisory can support your institution’s data management and analytics processes, please reach out and our team would be happy to set up a discovery session.

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