If you invested in a digital currency like Bitcoin back when the concept was first introduced, you would probably not be reading this right now. Bitcoin’s value has skyrocketed from just a few dollars to more than $2,000 in the last few years, so you’d likely be too busy relaxing on your own personal Caribbean island instead.
It can be tempting to lose yourself in “what-ifs” — but it isn’t always a bad thing. Bitcoin is just one part of the wider financial services (FS) trend of investing in digital. The good news is that you and your organization haven’t missed the train; there are plenty of areas where digital is creating value for financial services organizations, and by exploring these now, you can reap the benefits as well.
Digital Work Is Driving Financial Success
In a recent survey conducted in collaboration with Citrix, Oxford Economics found that 78% of surveyed financial services executives linked digital work with financial success. And this digital work comprises much more than just the support of remote working — it includes virtual and mobile work and flexible workspaces as well as redesigned core business processes to take advantage of mobile and digital technologies. When implemented effectively, it affects the way businesses design their offices, processes and strategies that enable employees to work how, when and where they want.
In fact, open-plan offices are a key part of many digital work strategies, boosting collaboration and allowing employees to choose to go where they’ll be most productive for each task. Organizations with highly developed digital work strategies benefit from increased agility, profitability and productivity.
Despite the Benefits, Less Than Half of Financial Services Businesses Are Taking Advantage
The study found that financial services executives are more likely than others to say they have changed mobile and virtual strategies in their workflows and business processes (45% vs. 38% total) and their IT procurement processes for endpoint devices and applications (43% vs. 36% total).
You can download the full report here.
However, that’s still just less than 50% of the financial companies investing in virtual work. Now is the right time to invest. Seventy percent of surveyed executives are expecting to either increase or significantly increase their spending on virtual work over the next three years, meaning that financial companies that wait too long risk losing out on the productivity and business gains that cost them their competitive edge.
Security Remains a Key Concern
Similar to their peers in other industries, financial services executives are understandably focused on security: 76% say that security software is a top-three concern. Despite this, less than two-thirds of organizations have accounted for digital work in their risk strategy.
In particular, higher staff turnover and a greater reliance on freelancers and contract workers are putting businesses at risk. While 63% state they can effectively manage employee-owned devices, just 29% are confident that data used by their contingent workforce is secure, and a similar number express confidence in the security procedures they use when employees and contractors leave their jobs.
Going forward, new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), will create huge benefits for businesses, but only when managed correctly inside the appropriate security framework.
Looking to the Future
Financial companies must look beyond smartphones and tablets. The digital work of the future will include big data-powered artificial intelligence, new and more powerful ways of working with virtual and augmented reality, and many new strategies that take advantage of these technologies to boost productivity and collaboration.
It is essential that your financial business invests in digital work strategies now to ensure you don’t get left behind. Set your path to digital work success, and download our infographic, “Why the financial services industry is bullish about digital work” to learn more.