In today’s fast-paced digital world, financial services companies that don’t keep up with their customers don’t stand a chance.

For a global company like Western Union, the leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement, this meant not only keeping up with customers in developed countries, but also in emerging markets where the consumer adoption of new technologies often happens even faster. This includes in-person, online, mobile, and whatever may come next.

Since customers using Western Union are typically sending money to help family and friends, there’s one thing that’s more important than anything else: Speed.

But, we’re not talking shorter hold times here. We’re talking about data.

Western Union was able to completely transform its customer experience by making all of the rich customer data it possessed available not only to its customer-facing employees, but also to customers themselves. This meant customers could start a transaction online, and finish it at a local branch — without waiting in line.

To get there, Western Union turned to a Fast Data solution. Fast Data solutions enable today’s powerful business intelligence and analytics tools for big data to be applied on smaller data sets in real-time, or near real-time. Perfect for Western Union’s often time-sensitive transactions, which could now be verified and completed faster than ever before.

As a result, Western Union also empowered its customers to speed transactions by giving them greater control and more ways to complete transactions, including cash, mobile wallet and online.

Finally, Western Union was able to connect its data across channels and touchpoints, making it possible — and again faster — for customers to complete transactions across channels and touchpoints.

According to Western Union’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Sanjay Saraf, “Before, customers at agent locations had to fill out a form, and at times, queue up. Now, a customer can stage their entire transaction on their mobile, then walk into an agent location to pay. No filling out of forms, no standing in the line, they just show the agent their device with the QR code. Instant gratification for the customer also significantly improved operations for agents.”

If you’d like to get the complete Western Union story on Fast Data, you can read the complete case study here.