Tim Slavin, senior vice president of defined contribution for Broadridge Financial Solutions, has a favorite story he likes to tell about "big data," an industry buzzword for the ever-growing spectrum of electronic data clouding the retirement universe.
"My daughter runs the Canadian arm of a major merchandising company aimed at the teen market, and in just a few seconds, she can use her computer to find out how many size-small pink shirts were bought at a store in Vancouver, and then use social media to follow up on those sales and build on it," he says.
That mess of data, in the meantime, leads to lost revenues due to inaccurate invoicing and auditing, ineffective sales and revenue forecasting, troubles in negotiating revenue agreements and the lost opportunities in not identifying and targeting top producers. Not to mention the possible compliance issues.
What's more, digging into the cloud of data can help uncover important demographic information on plan participants - how many are reaching the age for catch-up contributions, the specific participation rates and behavior sorted by gender and age, as well as tracking retirement shortfall analysis.