Insight

Ignite Live 2020: Leading with Confidence During Uncertain Times

October 28, 2020

 

By Prasanna Dhore, Chief Data & Analytics Officer, Equifax

Sharing Ideas and Best Practices for a Challenging Time

This year’s Ignite Live 2020 was buzzing with ideas about how to lead with confidence in today’s uncertain business climate. The virtual event, held September 15 and 16, included more than 2,200 Equifax customers, partners and experts from the United States and Canada. The event, which was a follow-up to the successful Spark 2019 conference, included 29 virtual sessions. Topics ranged from how to navigate the COVID-19 business landscape; assessments on where we’re headed; lending with confidence; new data for new challenges and more. As one participant summed it up, the content was actionable and everyone had an opportunity to share ideas and best practices.

I’d like to give a special thanks to all our guest presenters, including leaders from Keybridge, GM Financial, DISH,  S&P American Express, Wells Fargo, Deloitte Consulting, Navy Federal Credit Union, Badcock, Alchemy, Acima, and Sentilink. All sessions were recorded and can be watched on-demand.

Equifax CEO Mark Begor kicked off the event acknowledging that today’s uncertainty can be challenging -- even paralyzing. “This global pandemic is like nothing we have ever seen before,” he said. “The power of data and analytics is even more powerful today than it was in the past.”

Breaking Through the Uncertainty

I followed with my keynote on “How to grow your business during this era of uncertainty.” I explained how economic assistance like accommodations and payment assistance programs, while necessary and good for consumers, have an unintended side effect: they distort the  credit file.  

Specifically, credit files have been impacted in two ways. First, the credit score as a predictor of credit worthiness is diminished. Secondly, the implicit relationship between the credit file and the ability to pay is less clear. These factors result in uncertainty and can hamper lending. 

Fortunately, there is a solution. It’s the combination of more frequent information, more alternative data and more supplemental information.

The right data will provide lenders with the clarity and confidence they need to increase lending.

How Business has Evolved During COVID-19

In another keynote, “The Customer Experience: A Transparent Discussion of the COVID-19 Landscape,” Sid Singh, Equifax U.S. Information Solutions President talked with Dan Berce, President and CEO of GM Financial; and Jay Roth, SVP and CMO of DISH. 

Sid and Dan discussed how data and analytics are playing a key role in the growth of GM Financial. While GM Financial has long used credit and credit results in the decisioning process, Dan said the company is also trying to leverage data in the area of customer experience. He said they’re starting to use unstructured data to gain more insight into what drives a better NPS at the customer level -- and what effect the NPS has on the customer buying another GM vehicle or financing through GM Financial.

In the conversation between Sid and Jay, they discussed  leadership lessons from the pandemic. Jay believed the number one lesson is being prepared in good times with a strong risk management plan, and a close second, having an empathetic leadership style because employees need help and flexibility to manage through the pandemic.