Today, the financial service industry runs on fintech — the technology tools enabling nearly all business processes. For years, new industry entrants have reshaped markets with innovative fintech tools. Meanwhile, long-time players that formerly led the industry face an environment that could leave them behind. Adapting to the latest fintech evolutions is now a critical priority for all financial services institutions.
Nearly every facet of business is changing. Customers expect digitally available, 24/7 services. Operations are managed remotely and informed by advanced data analysis that wasn’t previously possible. Simultaneously, new cybersecurity risks are rising in number and growing in sophistication — creating a cyber arms race. Decision-makers face pressure to not only adopt the necessary tools to succeed but also keep a constant eye on what’s next.
Your financial services business — whether it’s in banking, insurance, investment, payment processing, credit or lending — needs a cohesive IT strategy that employs the latest technology tools. As technological progress marches on, key fintech evolutions can transform your business and ensure future success.
While there are many innovations to consider, there are some tools and methodologies that we see as paramount to any organization’s success. Below, we share how you can get your fundamentals right with essential IT tools you can bank on.
Cybersecurity for financial services
Cybercrime is on the rise and has big implications on all businesses — especially financial services organizations that handle sensitive customer data, payments, money and more.
The International Monetary Fund reports that both cybersecurity risk and material loss of money, data and reputation are growing for financial institutions. In fact, the report notes, experiencing cybercrime is no longer an “if,” but a “when.” The report goes on to note that we live in a reality that the responsibility for staying safe from cybersecurity risks falls on financial institutions.
The perpetrators behind cybercrime aren’t small-time players and individuals either. Commonly, both state actors and large criminal organizations are behind cyberattacks. A hopeful attitude and basic or aging technology are far from sufficient security strategies.
Financial organizations need to get serious by adopting modern tools and policies. These include Zero Trust security measures that require devices to be authenticated before gaining access, whether they’re accessing your systems from inside or outside the network.
You also need to adopt encryption tools that secure customer and employee data, as well as implement firewalls and ransomware defense tools that help protect your cloud and on-premises resources. And, most important is your networks. Securing this infrastructure component will help keep your systems online and data from being disrupted or stolen.
With the right security tools in place to protect your information, transactions and more, your financial firm will be free to focus on other important initiatives like customer service and process optimization.
On-demand everything puts the customer first.
Creating a modern customer experience is one of the most important components to staying competitive in today’s digital world. Customers expect on-demand access to nearly everything from shopping to food, but especially their financial services.
A Harvard Business Review report on how financial services can upgrade the customer experience states that, “customers need access to their account and clients expect to engage with advisors from anywhere. Employees must be able to serve their customers remotely with the same level of service as when they are face to face.”
The key to success is delighting your customers no matter how they choose to transact with your organization. Delivering more ways to help your customers help themselves and tools that make it easier for your teammates to serve customers goes a long way.
You’ll want to ensure your mobile and digital applications provide customers all the capabilities they need to transact online. Features should be designed with usability and ease in mind, so customers can conduct business quickly.
Live chat and chatbot capabilities are also great ways to expand your customer service footprint and improve the overall experience.
Using instant messaging tools to connect customers to teammates will ensure your customers can get the answers they need when making financial decisions. Smart chatbots also give you the ability to answer simple questions during and after business hours, and they can be a great way to connect a customer to the right teammate.
Devices play a role in the customer experience too. Mobile and cloud-based devices that give your teams the ability to meet customer needs anywhere lead to efficient, productive interactions.
You can deploy mobile devices in your physical locations, giving your teammates the flexibility to serve customers on the spot. Additionally, cloud-based devices are a great option for replacing customer-facing teammates’ aging devices that may be slowing customer interactions.
Using modern, fast and interactive tools will help make your organization a preferred financial services option.
Game-changers: Big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Big data — information that’s collected from various resources at high speeds for analysis and use — and AI — the use of digital algorithms to complete tasks that humans normally complete — are major components of modern financial services.
Together, big data and AI empower self-service capabilities, enhance security, improve decision-making and streamline customer interactions through chatbots.
Banks can create systems that review customer incomes and expenditures using these tools. Not only can you improve fraud detection, but you can also personalize financial services offerings based using a customer’s financial history. The end result is an empowered and secure customer who can make best-fit financial decisions.
Meanwhile, investment and insurance organizations can better understand risk and make informed decisions using historical data. Before, it would take teams of analysts and weeks of work to plot out the right financial course, but tools can now complete these tasks in a matter of moments.
And, chatbots can grow in sophistication as you leverage data from customer interactions. You’ll be able to answer more complex questions and better direct your customers, which increases your ability to serve your customers efficiently.
One key component adopting these technologies is ensuring you have the right IT infrastructure resources — from the data center and cloud to network and storage — in place. Aging systems often can’t properly support big data and AI systems. Modernizing your infrastructure will help ensure success and return on investment.
Big data and AI will grow your understanding of customer needs and market trends. Ultimately, you’ll be better positioned to serve customers and adapt to change, so you can continue your transformation journey.
When and where we work has changed significantly over the years. Offering employees a way to work from home is more than a perk, it’s a necessity to attract and retain top talent.
Adopting a remote and hybrid work strategy reduces your organization’s physical footprint too, so you can direct resources to other parts of the business. Many organizations have found that remote work improves productivity while maintaining team and process unity. But challenges remain around maintaining the right mix of tools and policies.
Collaboration tools that include voice, video, instant messaging and — perhaps most importantly in the financial services industry — document sharing are key to a successful remote/hybrid work strategy.
A comprehensive solution that supports all those capabilities, including the ability to edit documents simultaneously, helps you maintain clear, reliable communication between teams. You’ll also want to use these tools to keep each step of the document signing process moving smoothly.
As we noted, modern devices including cloud-based computers are paramount to keeping your customers connected. Not only will you ensure everyone can use the same tools, but you’ll also promote always-on connectivity between employees and customers.
Last, a critical remote work technology is videoconferencing. You’ll always have a mix of in-person and remote staff, so providing tools to strengthen connections inside and outside the office will enable smooth, effective collaboration.
Making it all work together
Over the years, many organizations have adopted some or all these tools. But the latest cloud, security and integration innovations make it essential to re-examine what capabilities you have and start rapidly adopting the ones you don’t.
Maximizing the return on your technology investment requires ensuring everything is adequately connected. This improves efficiency, employee and customer adoption rates, and reliability. Making this a reality can be a tall order — especially if you work with multiple partners across planning, implementation and management.
Choosing an end-to-end partner who can handle all aspects of technology modernization reduces complexity and accelerates transformation. Insight is a solutions integrator with a team of experts who bring a breadth and depth of resources and expertise to connect your people to the right technology tools.
We match technical expertise with financial services industry know-how to propel organizations into the future — ensuring technology is secure, reliable and innovative enough to compete in today’s dynamic marketplace.
The result is a technology environment that not only works effectively, but also helps you put your customers first — a necessity everyone banks on.