What Big Data Can Do for Public Pension Customization


What would our digital world be like without big data? Specifically, the big data from online transactions, databases, social media, and mobile apps that businesses use to power customer personalization? There’s no more comprehensive method of data collection for businesses to determine customer preferences to tailor online experiences. But a better question is what can big data do for public pension member customization? Like many for-profit organizations, pension systems have realized the importance of mining constituents’ big data to create enhanced, hyper-personalized member journeys. For pension systems nationwide, using members’ big data is the way to create the personas, journeys maps, and other hyper-personalization tools that best engage and educate members about their retirement benefits.

The Next Level of Hyper-Personalization

Public pension members are accustomed to the hyper-personalized customer services of their for-profit institutions: their banks, retailers, and media streaming services. Their preferences and tastes are recorded by sophisticated algorithms, which are then translated into big data to drive personalized selections. As such, they expect this same level of tailored service from their pension systems. For pension systems to keep pace with member expectations, they need to embrace personas to best represent the interests of their member segments. This is especially important to achieve long-term member engagement and to succeed in an ecosystem where most members prefer digital interactions for straightforward, expedited transactions. For many pension systems, the most significant touchpoints are during pension counseling and estimating, and the omnichannel personalization derived from personas can ensure superior results and overall member satisfaction.

Persona Power

Personas, semi-fictional representations grounded in market research about existing members, bring personalization to life. Instead of multiple, intangible, and generalized member characteristics, personas actualize member segments. Pension systems can use personas to collect essential big data to deliver automated and individualized experiences to engage these segments, in particular their millennial, established employee, and retiree populations, who each have unique communication and engagement preferences.

Journey Maps

A second benefit of using personas is that pension systems can extrapolate data to develop personalized journey maps for an individualized, step-by-step service flow, starting with contact and discovery throughout engagement, resulting in long-term member loyalty and advocacy. Journey maps can improve campaigns, and plot member goals and preferred channels to best educate and retain members. With reinforced messaging, members are empowered with better system knowledge and expertise to gain the most from their pension system.

Wins for All

The advantages of data-driven, hyper-personalized interactions benefit pension systems’ internal and external constituents. “Internal” constituents, namely the system staff and administrators, can implement persona member data to make better, more informed decisions that will ultimately reduce service costs and lead to more efficient operations while minimizing overhead. “External” constituents, specifically pension members, benefit through personalized self-service and tailored customer journeys to help them best understand their pension system.

Final Thoughts

Businesses are more accountable than ever to their customers to provide personalized service and value. While the pension system/member relationship is vastly different from the for-profit business/customer model, the need for pensions to provide hyper-personalized services is just as compelling. By using big data, pension systems can offer tailored member journeys that result in ongoing engagement, education, and peace of mind for a secure retirement.


Christa Punturieri is a Senior Product Manager at Vitech, where she defines the vision and strategic product direction for the company’s retirement vertical. She brings 15+ years of product management experience to her role, having worked at SaaS fintech and blockchain organizations, such as Bear Stearns, D.E. Shaw, and E*TRADE.


Varia Lvova is a Solution Architect at Vitech and a dedicated Delivery Team leader with over 20 years of software experience. She combines her knowledge in implementing complex systems with an intimate understanding of Pension and Insurance business processes, deep knowledge of Vitech solutions, and Agile Delivery methodologies.

About the Author

Mitch Baker

Mitch Baker is Vice President of Sales at Vitech Systems Group. He manages Vitech’s go-to-market Sales and strategy for the Public Pension market. His responsibilities include ensuring that Vitech’s product teams understand how V3locity meets the evolving demands of the market so that plan members’ experiences are top of mind and expectations met. Mitch has held leadership positions at top-tier software companies and has extensive experience in identifying/analyzing market trends while providing sales and client development support.