Citrix Synergy LA 2014 was jam-packed with activity, but much of my time was spent talking to customers in the banking and financial services industry about the specific challenges, opportunities, priorities, etc. they are facing today. You name it, we discussed it: securing mobile devices as Blackberry replacement becomes the new reality, the constant challenge of aligning IT and lines of business, enabling contact center staff to work from home, etc.

The list goes on, but, we’ll save those topics for another post because I feel compelled to share some especially eye-opening anecdotes from customers about how building the right technological foundation provides true value to the business. By the lengths taken by organizations in this industry to protect and secure corporate and consumer data and comply with all sorts of evolving regulations, it probably comes as no surprise that I’ve been asked to preserve the anonymity of the quote-givers and the organizations that they represent.

“You can’t put a price on that.”

That, being the quick and painless provisioning of 800 new contact center desktops in a brand new facility…with one month’s notice given to IT. Then, being asked to move those users into another new building the very next month. Sound familiar? Thankfully, this multinational retail bank’s large-scale virtualization deployment enabled unparalleled IT flexibility and real estate agility, which resulted in zero loss of productivity for call center staff.

“Single call resolution” improves IT SLAs and increases operational efficiencies.

The chief architect of a mid-sized retail bank in the central US recalls the IT organization upon his arrival at the organization as “stuffy, rigid and traditional” to now being “mobile, flexible and agile”. Today the company is truly a pioneer in mobile workspaces, with C-level execs seeing the value in investing in the Citrix end-to-end solution to increase business agility and operational efficiency. The investment has paid off – business units are raving about vastly improved IT response times, and end users, like personal bankers and tellers, love the freedom to use iPads to interact face-to-face with customers. IT promised…and delivered (swoon, “my hero!”).

“The new era of end user computing, virtualization and mobility” ushers in fresh talent and new ways of working.

A number of Synergy attendees from leading full-service FIs spent time talking about the importance of embracing existing and emerging technologies with regards to attracting and retaining the best talent – including millenials. They talked about the significance of improving work/life balance – and employee engagement scores – by giving people the flexibility to work from home. One Citrix customer, representing a credit union, remarked how equipping loan officers with tablets finally gave them the ability to travel to meet with clients from the comfort of their own homes.

Citrix Synergy and similar events are invaluable beyond just attending sessions. Sure, the sessions are great, but at the end of the day, technology is technology. You can talk until your face turns blue about features and functions and upgrades…you get the idea. What I find awesome about Synergy is that it gives like-minded people the opportunity to engage and learn from each other; to hear real-world stories about how this technology is truly impacting the organization’s bottom line…and more importantly, people’s lives. When you hear insights like the three I shared above – THAT’S when you know that you’re doing something right.