In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, leveraging data through digitalisation has become critical to success across a number of industries.

The pensions industry is a prime example, where high quality, digitalised data is imperative to its advancement; be it through the management and operation of pension plans, improving operational efficiencies, or responding to changing customer expectations.

Pensions and wealth management company Isio has found a fresh way of looking at data in the industry. As a leading innovator, Isio uses technology and specialist expertise to improve data integrity, enabling their pension schemes to deliver the very best experience and outcomes for their members.

Prioritising data integrity and digitalisation 

For too long, pension clients have accepted a slow, inconvenient service as standard, in a sector where improving poor quality data is often seen as low priority; a cost to be postponed for another day.

Isio is determined to change that, with its team of actuarial consulting, pensions, administration and investment experts, on a mission to transform the industry.

Kristy Cotton, a Director at Isio, sees how the band-aid approach to fixing problems created by a lack of data digitalisation isn’t sustainable, and understands that inaction can prove costly to the business.

Kristy Cotton, Director, Isio

“What’s happened now is that those costs are coming through too much — higher costs — in trying to fix the problems that have been created [by a lack of data digitalisation].

“It’s not uncommon to see boxes of paper files with handwritten calculations on there, or some really clunky databases that are just not suitable for use,” she says.

“The challenges are around how do we actually get that data, and keep it up-to-date. How do we store it in a way that means we know where that data is degrading, and how do we use it going forward.”

Her colleague, Director Sam Coombes, agrees.

“It’s creating a paralysis in the industry where we’re not able to enact a lot of the change that we want to, to drive strategic change — to drive better member experiences. Because what we have is data stored in this way rather than electronically.”

Kristy with fellow Director, Sam Coombes (right).

“It’s absolutely an opportunity to make sure that we’re delivering the right outcomes for members. We can’t do that as an industry if we don’t have the data held in the right way and that data is accurate; it just won’t work.”

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Isio has built a highly specialised digital transformation team drawing on all the pension industry’s established proficiencies, but supercharging them, with forward-thinking technological capabilities.

“We’ve cultivated this mix of skill sets between traditional actuarial consulting, coding, data science, data visualisation, business analysis, really driving large scale digital transformations,” says Chief Digital Officer, Vito Faircloth. 

Isio’s Chief Digital Officer, Vito Faircloth

Unsurprisingly, AI has a key role to play in this transformation.

“AI can examine huge data sets, but it can also learn very quickly from those data sets. So having cleansed that data, we’ve used AI to improve it, and we’ve now got a very high quality data set.”

“What that allows us to do is make all our communications to members, all journeys that we present members with, very relevant and very personalised.”

Isio and its digital transformation team understands that ultimately data is an enabler rather than a problem.

Isio works closely with PASA, the Pensions Administration Standards Association, a collaborative vision for innovation and change that plays a crucial role in supporting the pensions industry — particularly in the context of pensions dashboards. They engage with industry and government to create protocols for understanding good administration, and work to enhance data quality, streamline processes, and facilitate the adoption of pensions dashboards.

PASA have found a valued partner in Isio, as PASA’s chair, Kim Gubler, explains in an interview with ITN Business, as part of our Pensions at Work 100 programme. 

“We have firms that work with us that are at the top of their game and an expert partner for data — and for us. We can achieve a lot [in the industry], but we can’t do without good data. What we find really exciting about working with them [Isio], is they’re not afraid to do things a little bit differently.”

Pension schemes can be a significant cost and risk to businesses, but as lifelines to their members, achieving best outcomes for schemes, businesses, and members is the shared mission of everyone in the industry.

“It’s not about trying to do better, we will do better for this industry,” says Kristy. 

Watch our Pensions at Work 100 programme to explore more insights, interviews and business stories