Employees of financial services companies have embraced the use of digital technology. Not surprisingly, so have their customers.

This shift has led to a surge in connected devices and digital content, as well as demand for seamless digital integration with the daily lives of both these employees and customers. Smartphones and tablets now have greater practical use beyond posting photos on Instagram and retweeting on Twitter. These devices have become indispensible tools to access business content and workflow anywhere, any time; and complete financial transactions that involve sensitive personal data.

Here’s the proof.

According to a recent CEB Insight Brief commissioned by Citrix:

  • The majority of financial services employees are considered mobile. Over 90% regularly work remotely away from the office (or in the office, but away from their desks).
  • As for the customers, their preference for digital channels is increasing. In 2015, 41% prefer using digital channels to complete transactions with an insurance company, up from 28% in 2010.
  • For high-volume simple transactions, such as checking balances or paying bills, more customers use online (62%) and mobile (37%) channels at least once a week in 2015 versus the ATM, which fell from 72% in 2013 to 54% in 2015.

The proliferation of devices and digital data, and the shift in employee and customer behavior means that financial institutions must provide a business and personal experience that embraces digital technologies. It is no longer enough to offer digital channels as an afterthought or as a side project; they must be designed with user requirements in mind and embedded within processes, workflows, and transactions. And they must be tailored to fit the needs of the business, for example, security and compliance mandates.

To support a business strategy that embeds digital innovations into the existing customer experience, financial IT organizations should take the following challenges into account:

  • Existing legacy IT infrastructure: 31% of technologies are deployed on premises and self-managed. Most IT is legacy, presenting scalability and flexibility issues with new tech.
  • Diverse devices accessing the infrastructure: Accessing workspace accounts on personal devices poses a threat to security and performance.
  • Network security: Security issues can cost firms huge damage in terms of losses, remediation, and consumer confidence.
  • Budget constraints: Financial IT organizations are under constant pressure to reduce costs and improve efficiency, and they get only 18% of their budgets for innovation.

How can the IT organization succeed in spite of the challenges above? Here are some best practices:

  • Tackle the digital strategy in small segments. Pinpoint specific technologies that yield quick investment wins and provide tangible value in the short term.
  • Build IT infrastructure that extends beyond the digital device itself, supports traditional channels, and flexes to adapt to new technologies on the horizon, such as Internet of Things.
  • Define a mobility initiative that embraces BYOD for a mobile workforce. Include support programs, such as training employees to use mobile applications to interact with onsite customers.
  • Design a comprehensive security and compliance strategy that includes segmenting networks to remove sensitive data from endpoint devices.

Digital strategies for financial institutions are not down-the-road options—they are needed now in the ongoing race for market share. Without a secure, flexible and scalable IT infrastructure, future trends, such as IoT, will compound upon and expose the vulnerabilities and rigidity of you business. This will become your barrier to success in an ultra-competitive industry.

For more information, take a look at this infographic.

For a deeper dive, read the white paper
“Moving at the Speed of Byte: Ushering the Era of the
Digitally Enabled Financial Institution.”

Source: “Moving at the Speed of Byte: Ushering the Era of the Digitally Enabled Financial Institution,” a CEB Insight Brief commissioned by Citrix.

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