More commonly filled with gold, the vaults of Spanish bank BBVA are safeguarding swaths of data. BBVA has established itself as one of the financial vanguards of the digital transformation, investing €850m a year in technology, software infrastructure, and, more recently, on a 200k square foot data center in Madrid. BBVA expects its data on 9m digital customers to generate new applications and services.
“We’re embracing the disruption, to play a part in it, actively lead it,” says Teppo Paavola, BBVA’s head of new digital businesses. He was hired from PayPal and recently moved to Madrid from San Francisco. “In the end, what will the bank of the future be? All about data.” In an article published in MIT Technology Review last year, Francisco González, the bank’s chairman, provided some insight into the specific value of data for banks. “Banks hold huge stores of information about their customers, and this is a crucial competitive edge,” he wrote. “If banks can convert that information into knowledge, they can use it to offer customers goods and services that better meet their needs.”