With 19 million customers, NatWest is a household name in banking. We talked to David Charnley, the bank’s Head of Strategy and Transformation for Data and Analytics, to learn how Snowflake’s Data Cloud is providing new insights into customer activities.

Providing retail, commercial and institutional wealth services to around 19 million customers, NatWest is a household name in the UK, and also has a presence in Asia, the US, and Europe. 

Keen to enhance its competitiveness and efficiency, the bank brought in Deloitte to give it an innovation makeover with a data transformation strategy in the cloud. 

As part of its data modernisation journey, Deloitte is helping NatWest to better understand its data, see how it’s being used, and then migrating it to Snowflake’s Data cloud to help the bank control and manage it more effectively in future. 

As with all modern financial services companies, data is integral to NatWest’s operations, and with petabytes of it to put to work, it’s essential that the bank has the right data platform to support its endeavors. Its goal is to save millions in spend, increase productivity, and improve control of regulatory processes. 

“Data sits at the heart of delivering beautiful customer experiences,” said David Charnley, Head of Strategy and Transformation for Data and Analytics. “Having a really rich picture of our customers through data enables us to understand their needs and deliver against them time after time.” 

Embracing the opportunities data provides requires the ability to scale, in terms of both compute and storage, but that proved difficult with NatWest’s original data infrastructure. For that reason, Deloitte and NatWest decided on a move to Snowflake’s Data Cloud. 

“It was difficult to do what we wanted with legacy on-premises technology,” said Charnley. “By moving to Snowflake we’re doing three things: Creating an opportunity to immeasurably improve our performance with the rapid return of queries and data. Improving our agility and productivity with a cloud data platform that ensures that we can take a really transformative step. And finally, making data really simple and easy to use.” 

Using data to reduce carbon footprints 

Historically NatWest has always been a technology-centric organization, but the user-centricity of Snowflake means the bank can now federate work to its customer-facing teams, ensuring everyone has access to the data they need, exactly when they need it.

“Snowflake means that from day one we can be productive in a way that we weren’t able to be with our legacy on-premises technology,” said Charnley. “Through aggregating and sharing data, we’ve started to be able to really understand our customers—and we’ve had some fantastic success in doing that.” 

One of those successes has seen NatWest collaborate across several areas of the business, including risk teams, retail teams, and ESG teams, to produce in-depth analysis of its customers’ carbon footprints. Using Snowflake, the bank combines risk data, customer identity data, transactions, and activity to paint a rich and detailed picture of how the actions customers take every day add to their emissions totals. 

“Snowflake has allowed us to take on new projects like that,” said Charnley. “We’ve started to aggregate more data into our platform, share it across groups within the bank, bring in external data, and really develop a rich picture of the customer and their interactions with us.” 

A future built on Snowflake 

Going forward, NatWest plans to further extend its use of Snowflake, exploring new possibilities provided by its petabytes of data and a modern, powerful data cloud. 

“We’re really building a center of gravity in Snowflake that will become our analytics store for the entire enterprise,” Charnley said. “It’s going to be a journey that takes a lot of hard work over the course of the next twelve months or so, but we’re really committed to that journey and really excited about it, too.”