How Union Bank of Nigeria Created a Searchable Business Reports Platform


Yomi Ibosiola, Chief Data and Analytics Officer at Union Bank of Nigeria, shared how to improve data lineage capabilities and manage risk, the BFSI industry must stay up-to-date with evolving privacy laws and create a searchable Business Reports platform for non-technical teams and users.

No single tech stack is perfect for all business projects, but certain factors can help make the best decision. We began by clearly defining our requirements and envisioning what success would look like. Then, we identified the platforms already in use across the bank to make management, governance, and integration easier, says Yomi Ibosiola.

Ahead of his session at Velocity – Data and Analytics Summit – taking place in South Africa on March 07-08, 2023, Ibosiola spoke about leveraging data and analytics for improved data lineage and risk management in the BFSI industry.

Excerpts from the interview;

What are the tools you use to improve data lineage capabilities?

To track our data journey from the source application to the data warehouse, as well as for insights used in decision-making, we have developed a customised application called DataGov in collaboration with one of the Big 4 firms. This application offers various features, such as tracking data process errors, implementing process changes with lower risk, performing system migrations confidently, and creating a data mapping framework by combining data discovery with metadata. We can ensure the reliability of our data by confirming its trustworthiness from a reliable source, validating its completeness and consistency through upstream and downstream searching, and discovering and rectifying any anomalies. Furthermore, DataGov provides us with a clear understanding of the underlying architecture, enabling us to manage structured and unstructured datasets and comply with industry regulations that govern privacy and security protocols. 

How can data leaders help measure the success of enterprise-wide digital transformation?

Over the period of 2019 to 2021, the bank underwent a three-year digital transformation cycle sponsored by the CEO. A council was established to oversee the journey and guide the delivery team’s multiple initiatives. This council quickly established data-driven metrics for measuring the success of the initiatives and the overall transformation agenda. I was responsible for regularly reporting on these metrics, which helped identify progress made and determine the needed support. The metrics measured included cost-benefit analysis, return on digital investments, customer experience metrics, employee productivity, adoption and performance metrics, platform reliability and availability, percentage of cloud deployments, percentage of AI-enabled businesses, revenue from digital technology, and data quality index.

What are the key considerations when investing/ building solutions for your technology stack?

No single tech stack is perfect for all business projects, but certain factors can help make the best decision. We began by clearly defining our requirements and envisioning what success would look like. Then, we identified the platforms already used across the bank to make management, governance, and integration easier. Additionally, we engaged with and discovered the needs and expectations of our target audience, their digital literacy, and how it could affect our selection of tech stack. Moreover, we considered ease of use, learning curve, cloud versus on-prem architecture, cost of deployment and license maintenance, scalability, and security to make the optimal decision in selecting the right tech stack for our data projects.

How do you use data and analytics for controls to manage risk?

The Data Analytics Office and the Enterprise Risk function of the bank have collaborated to modernise the risk identification and monitoring process. By developing data models, they continuously test and validate quantitative-led Key Risk Indicators (KRI) using predefined analytics. These tests are run automatically, and any red flags are sent directly to Control Officers’ inboxes for investigation and remediation. Additionally, a similar model is used to monitor transactions, leveraging anomaly detection to track patterns and analyse trends for new or emerging risks.

How can technology leaders in the BFSI industry ensure data compliance in an evolving landscape of privacy laws?

Ensuring data privacy compliance is a complex and critical task that requires knowledge of regulations, complete visibility into data flows, and appropriate safeguards. While many data privacy laws across Africa are modelled after the EU GDPR, organisations with operations across the continent still face challenges.

To remain up to date, we prioritise keeping our data privacy and protection measures current. This includes ensuring platform security, providing employee training, and periodically updating data governance policies to align with ever-evolving regulations. We use encryption, access controls, and activity monitoring on key systems and reports to protect personal or KYC data from unauthorised access. Additionally, the DataGov app helps manage data classification to ensure all personal data is protected and secure.

How do you approach search and navigation within organisations to make data more accessible for non-technical teams and users?

We have created a searchable Business Reports platform, providing users with easy access to data profiled for their team. We have designed a demand and supply structure in which non-technical users submit requests to the data team, which are then assigned to an analyst. Through this process, the analyst works with the user to determine whether an existing report is available or if one needs to be created.

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