Central banks in the digital age

Bringing data into focus

Over the past 20 years, the types of data institutions gather have expanded enormously, and the tools available to profitably interrogate these data for novel insights have grown tremendously in sophistication. Central banks are no exception. New technological capabilities have incited major changes in the type of data central banks collect and the way they use data for policy-making and other key functions.

Central banks are expanding their big data capabilities and their use of unconventional data sources, using mobility and telecommunications data, social and news media web scraping and granular, transaction-level data analysis, to inform their policy decisions. But as the gathering and processing of increasing volumes of data becomes a bigger part of the central banks’ daily operations, data governance has become increasingly challenging.

Through a series of interviews with central bank officials, this report examines the strategies central banks are employing to exploit new data sources and manage existing ones efficiently.

We explore the challenges and advantages that cloud services pose for central banks, and the difficulties of securing the necessary technical expertise.

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