If your financial organisation is looking to the future, driving forward innovative approaches to working and introducing new technology to drive productivity are most probably at the top of your list. Over the next few years the industry is likely to see significant changes, with the rise of mobile banking, social networking and video collaboration already beginning to reshape the financial sector.
Financial institutions are looking to the latest technology not only to improve their business processes but to gain a competitive edge and to keep up to date with the latest trends in a constantly evolving industry.
We have compiled a list of four trends in collaborative technology that are likely to be utilised within the financial industry in the coming year.
1. Video Collaboration for Customer Service
In the future, effortless communication between your bank advisers and customers will be the norm, with the utilisation of video helping to provide expert advice and consultations. The ideology is already being implemented in the U.S, with the use of video banking machines. They perform the same basic tasks as an ATM but with the inclusion of audio and video capabilities. Customers can carry out a transaction with a live employee, as well as using cheque scanners and signature pads to accommodate more complicated requests.
This technology is ideal for financial organisations who need to offer a more personalised experience to customers. Not only that but its use will optimise resources, reducing in-branch staff and permitting a wider range of services in understaffed branches. For example, specialist mortgage advisers could oversee a number of customers in a range of branches within a certain area. One of your advisers could potentially handle many accounts without the need for travel. Putting technology to use in an intelligent way can be the competitive edge for financial institutions to create an ideal environment for individual and superior advice, while enriching customer relationships and building trust.
2. Workplace Flexibility
Workplace flexibility is more in demand in the financial sector than in any other, with 94% of workers claiming it is important to them (PWC). We are moving away from the traditional methods of working as the concept of an ‘office environment’ has changed dramatically. The growing trends of remote working and Bring-Your-Own-Device policies has meant that employees can be disparate and yet never be out of touch. Nearly a third of employees are working from home at least one day a week (Forrester) and by 2017, half of all employers will no longer provide devices to their workers. This means the majority of workers will be able to bring their own personal devices – smartphone, tablets etc – and connect them all to a cloud-based work server.
This can also be helpful with regards to recruitment. Competing for talented candidates in a global pool can be made that much simpler, with the ability to conduct interviews with overseas prospects easily and effectively. Moreover, the most sought after customers can be easily collaborated with, increasing your global reach exponentially.
3. Virtual Banking
Although still a while away from mainstream use, the trends in online banking and video collaboration point towards the growth of ‘virtual banking’. A virtual bank branch goes beyond simply enabling customers to conduct their day to day online banking requirements - it will embrace live chat and video messaging, online authentication, shared screens for collaborative documents and form-filling to provide all the services that the traditional high street branch provides but with the convenience of being available for business 24/7.
This trend echoes other recent adaptations to banking, including contactless payments and smartphone-connected credit and debit cards. The modern day consumer evidently requires simplicity and convenience, but with the security they have come to expect from a trusted financial organisation.
4. The Internet of Things
By 2020, the number of physical objects connected to the Internet will grow to 50 billion, and the long-term economic opportunity of the Internet of Things (IoT) is estimated to be between $10-15 trillion (GE). The IoT will facilitate communication by making it easier and more natural for people to interact with the tools and objects of the physical world.
But how can financial organisations leverage IoT technology? We are seeing this concept applied in insurance through telematics, in which your insurance provider installs a device in your car which monitors driving behaviour. Your insurance premium is then based on the standard of your driving – saving the more sensible drivers huge amount in insurance costs. Other potential applications include ATMs, information kiosks in bank branches and credit/debit cards that may use sensing technology to monitor activity and take action on the consumers’ behalf.
It must be noted that such innovations always come with new risks. The deluge of new data is likely to complicate data management for financial services firms, and cyber-security may become an even greater challenge.
Impact on Security
One of the biggest concerns we face with clients in the financial sector is, quite obviously, safety. Privacy is of the utmost importance, with sensitive details and documents being used and read on a daily basis. Where new technology is invented, the threat of hacking and misuse is never far behind. However, there are regulations being specified on a regular basis, as bodies like the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) publish best practice guidelines to help cope with the influx of new technology adoption.
In spite of these concerns, there is an exponential uptake of these trends which is changing the face of finance. Video collaboration is already starting to be used alongside various other advancements, all aimed at improving workflow and customer relationships.
For more information on how technology is shaping the financial and banking industry, download our whitepaper Video Collaboration in the Financial Sector. The whitepaper looks at some of the biggest technology trends in this industry as well as the key considerations financial organisations should take into account when implementing video collaboration solutions.