By Achi Lewis, EMEA Director, NetMotion
Financial services are not so different from other industries in that an increasing number of employees require around-the-clock access to corporate IT services via mobile devices. As the always-connected, always-on smartphone generation continues to enter the workforce, financial services organisations find themselves needing to offer more flexible work environments to stay competitive. Many millennials in the industry have reported frustration and a general dissatisfaction with the devices and applications available to them, remarking that they want more freedom to use mobile devices. But this industry leads lags behind others in the adoption of mobile technologies for its workforce. The regulatory environment doesn’t help with IT leaders facing risk management, compliance pressures amongst others. And it’s not just compliance – financial services face numerous security and data protection concerns; data breaches are very costly in this industry, not only directly but also due to the loss of goodwill and new customers. Also, legacy platforms and applications mean that fewer companies here have integrated mobile applications with legacy back-office systems.
Whilst that level of convenience may be appealing to employees, the introduction of mobile devices as tools in the workplace can put financial information at greater risk of theft by cyber criminals. Despite the risks, the benefits of mobility are too great to ignore. Beyond the human-resources implications, IT leaders in the financial services sector recognise that mobility creates a more flexible work environment, boosts operational efficiency and user productivity, and improves user experience whilst contributing to satisfaction among clients and customers alike.
Financial services organisations need to support multiple branch locations, ATMs and advisors working to visit homes and businesses in the community. A successful mobile initiative caters to the changing needs of its customer base by incorporating a network solution that optimises, secures and delivers visibility across all enterprise and cloud applications and services. The solution has to work seamlessly in tandem with native OS security features, containerisation solutions and the locked-down security enabled through established tools such as the Apple Device Enrollment program to deliver a secure, end-to-end mobile experience. It reaches wherever they need to serve customers, and offers the flexibility to use smartphones, tablets and laptops running Windows, Android, MacOS or iOS.
In the insurance space, agents and claims adjusters have long used mobile devices in the field to process claims. These allow representatives to capture statements about the accident, document geo-location information, take pictures of the scene, license plates, insurance ID cards and driver’s licenses, and contact towing services. In the case of insurance sales, tablets can be used to automate every step of the process, from client discovery to policy submissions. By eliminating the typical back-and-forth between agent and underwriter, companies can reduce the number of meetings and significantly shorten the sales cycle. On the back end of the sales process, agents are able to easily generate quotes, ask underwriting questions, submit applications, and execute e-signatures and payments electronically, enabling them to issue new policies within minutes rather than days.
With mobile banking becoming so popular, the traditional brick-and-mortar bank branch may seem obsolete. Indeed, between 2007-2017 the U.S. lost 10 percent of its physical bank branches. The rate of closures is even higher – approaching 50 percent – in countries such as Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands. However, even though branch visits have fallen overall, bank branches still play a vital role — even among millennials. Bank customers still prefer to visit a branch when opening new accounts, dealing with problems and making large transactions. Branches remain crucial for acquiring new customers and upselling and cross-selling to existing ones. Bank executives generally see the role of the branch changing, with employees using their face-to-face contact with customers to educate them on the use of their mobile devices and assist with financial decisions. Some of the leading banks are even stationing digital ambassadors at branches, equipped with smartphones and tablets, to demonstrate services such as remote check deposit. Others are experimenting with replacing tellers in favour of roving employees who use tablets to help customers apply for loans or open accounts. Outside the branch, this mobile capability is seen as key to reaching unbanked or underbanked customers, especially in emerging markets.
Investment management organisations
Millennials are poised to inherit trillions of dollars over the coming years. For financial organisations this poses unique challenges. This generation tends to be averse to sit-down meetings in an office with an investment advisor, partly because they have grown up with easy access to financial information and comparisons just a click or tap away. As a result, financial advisors are adapting by using videoconferencing and other tools that offer convenience whilst maintaining the value of a face-to-face interaction. It’s no surprise, then, that more than half of investment management account holders say that they value the option of having immediate access to a video call with an advisor. Also worth considering is that the average age of a financial advisor is now 50, with 42 percent being over the age of 55. Therefore, in order to attract a new generation of advisors, investment management firms need tools that enable secure mobile working environments, including mobile apps that connect seamlessly to review portfolios, confirm balance transfers, monitor alerts, place trades and follow market movements.
Financial organisations find themselves facing big challenges in the years ahead, given the rapid acceptance of mobile devices in our daily lives. They will need to overcome a number of security risks while embracing mobile technologies. If not, there is a real risk of losing employees and customers to more-nimble, mobile-native FinTech startups. Tackling this problem requires a comprehensive mobile-network solution that enables a single, seamless and secure network.
HOW TO MANAGE YOUR CASH FLOW IN UNCERTAIN TIMES
While the world is constantly changing, probably at a faster pace now than ever before, businesses need to manage cash flow and costs to drive success in uncertain times, says Matthew Thorpe, partner at Haines Watts Essex.
Managing people and expenses
There are certain costs that you just can’t avoid as a business – to keep your operation running seamlessly, but scrutinise the detail and cut down on any non-essential expenses. Check things like your SaaS subscriptions and look out for costs that auto-renew and if you do cancel, remember to also cancel your direct debits too.
You might want to put a freeze on hiring new people, but ensure that other roles and responsibilities are clearly and efficiently assigned across your team. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been introduced by the Government to help UK employers access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary to avoid redundancies. Affected employees are classed as “furloughed workers”.
Once furloughed, the employee cannot work or they will not qualify for the scheme. For businesses that perhaps need to go further, there may be some roles they don’t need any more, but businesses should work sensitively with people to manage this.
Cash is king
In uncertain times, owner managers will need to keep operations going to ensure financial stability. You should look to manage debt more efficiently by negotiating extended payment terms with creditors. You could also renegotiate loans for longer repayment terms to give yourself a lower monthly payment, helping the business to set some cash aside each month.
As a business owner, you need to create a cash flow projection and update this regularly if you are to improve things. You can do this using financial information to create a picture of how the business will look in the next 12 months. The forecast needs to show revenue sources and expenses, which will show the ups and downs of business income and can be used to make sure that enough finance is in place.
While banks and other finance providers recognise that the cashflow of a business may be disrupted by the impact of Covid-19, they are still going to want to see that you are viable and continue to trade in these uncertain times. Make sure your business is organised and don’t let disorganisation cause unnecessary issues. You can evidence this by having detailed forecasts; current order books and projections (as best as possible).
Having instantly accessible, accurate financial information allows you to plan effectively, spot issues before they become problems and manage your money in the most efficient and rewarding way.
Software is now incredibly user-friendly and accessible from anywhere. For a business owner embracing the technology, this means:
- Invoicing can be done instantly when a job is complete, emailed to the customer with an easy to use link to a payment platform.
- Comparison websites can automatically monitor and help maintain lowest cost for things such as light & heat, insurance etc.
- Technology can be used in place of face-to-face meetings. It can also enable them to adapt production lines to different demands.
All of these things and more, used properly, can make managing your business finances quicker, easier and often cheaper. You will also be able to bring clarity to where your business stands and prepare for the next steps.
HOW FINANCIAL SERVICES CAN GET TO GRIPS WITH RISING SUPPLY CHAIN RISK
By Alex Saric, smart procurement expert, Ivalua
UK businesses have never been more dependent on their suppliers to help them deliver goods and services to their customers. Be it retail, manufacturing or financial services, suppliers have a vital role to play when it comes to innovation and meeting customer expectations. However, as supply chains become increasingly global, businesses are potentially exposing themselves to more risk than ever before.
This is especially true in financial services. Whether it’s the impact of geopolitical events like Brexit or global tariff wars, supply shortages, security or the businesses impact on the environment, an organisation’s failure to identify and mitigate risk could see millions wiped off its share price, and its corporate reputation left in tatters. Risk can present itself anywhere and at any time, so financial services firms must be ready to address it. However, many simply don’t have the ability to evaluate suppliers for risk factors, leaving them wide open to business operations being hindered, or being slapped with financial penalties.
More suppliers, increasing risk
One reason why financial services firms aren’t able to evaluate suppliers is the breadth and scale of today’s supply chains. For example, French oil company Total said in in a recent human rights briefing paper that they work with over 150,000 direct suppliers worldwide. This is just one example of how large and varied the roster of partners has become. Research from Ivalua has found that financial services businesses on average are working with around 3,600 suppliers annually, which is evenly split between UK-based and international partners. That number is expected to rise, with 60% expecting the number of suppliers they work with to rise.
The expanding nature of suppliers is only going to expose financial services firms to more potential risk than ever before, yet 78% say they face challenges gaining complete visibility into suppliers and their activities.
A lack of supplier visibility leaves businesses unable to identify and mitigate against supply chain risk. In fact, almost three-quarters (73%) of financial services firms have experienced some type of risk during the last 12 months. These include; supplier failure (43%), environmental impact, such as pollution or waste (35%) and supply shortages (45%). Supply shortages can be among the most damaging to a business, as seen by both the KFC chicken shortage which closed stores, and the summer 2018 CO2 shortage which caused companies such as Heineken and Coca-Cola to pause production, impacting supply across Europe during the World Cup.
Businesses unprepared for the worst
One way financial services firms can better prepare for risk is to ensure they know what to plan for to reduce the impact. However, whilst some say they have a contingency plan in place to deal with risk, many of them are unprepared. Financial services firms admitted to not having comprehensive and deployed contingency plans in place to prepare the supply chain for risk such as; natural disasters (68%), supply shortages (67%), geopolitical changes (65%), environmental impact (63%), supplier failure (62%) and modern slavery (50%).
In order to effectively prepare for these types of risks, it’s vital that financial services businesses fully understand their suppliers, their business environment, global variations in regulations, geopolitics, and a host of other factors. But for many, there are multiple challenges when it comes to gaining this understanding. A prevailing factor is an inability to gain visibility into all suppliers and activity because supplier management data is stored in multiple locations and formats, making insights difficult to access. This leaves teams unable to review supplier activity and assess compliance.
Making supplier management smarter
It’s imperative that financial services businesses are able to respond or prepare for supply chain risk. Clearly, much more needs to be done to ensure they have complete visibility of suppliers, especially in an era where regulators can levy heavy fines for GDPR breaches and scandals spread in minutes over social media. These types of risks can be reduced in the future if procurement teams have a 360-degree view of suppliers which will help with contingency planning and risk management.
For example, in the instance of supply shortages, plans could be put in place that identify alternative suppliers to ensure any shortages do not impact end users. This type of supplier collaboration is paramount when it comes to managing and mitigating against supplier shortages. When it comes to regulations, financial services firms can’t allow a lack of visibility to limit their ability to ensure all suppliers are compliant.
To do this, teams must take a smarter approach to procurement that gives complete visibility into suppliers throughout the supply chain. This will allow financial services firms to identify and plan for risk, reducing the potential damage, and ensuring they are working with and awarding business to low-risk suppliers. Supply chain risk is rapidly becoming an overarching concern for financial services firms, but by providing the ability to assess suppliers, they will have all the insights they need to mitigate the impact on business operations.
HOW TO KEEP DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION ON TRACK AFTER THE PANDEMIC
Ashley Coker, CEO and founder, Slate Introduction The global coronavirus health emergency has made it abundantly clear how dependent...
THE FUTURE OF CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IN DIGITAL BANKING
By Richard Billington, Chief Technology Officer, Netcall Over the past five years, the digital banking revolution has had a seismic...
TRANSFORMING BANKING: WHY COVID-19 IS UNFREEZING CONSUMER HABITS
Raj Chakraborty, Senior Managing Director, Publicis Sapient There is much debate about the impact of COVID-19 on the economy....
IS YOUR OFFICE LEASE CRUSHING YOUR BOTTOM LINE? YOU HAVE OPTIONS
By Jonathan Wasserstrum, Founder / CEO, SquareFoot These are unprecedented times for us all. Nobody has a playbook to get...
THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF TRADERS TRADING FROM HOME
Steve Haworth, CEO of TeleWare Group Banks had hoped to keep their London trading floors open amid the worsening coronavirus...
HOW WILL REVOLUT’S MOVE INTO OPEN BANKING AFFECT US?
By Richard Mathias, Senior Technology Architect at LiveArea Despite current uncertainty, the financial services sector is experiencing transformative change year...
IN CONSUMER BIOMETRICS WE TRUST: AUTHENTICATION FOR THE DATA PRIVACY AGE
Jonas Andersson, Head of Standardization at Fingerprints Data privacy is high on the global agenda. In the wake of data...
CAPITAL MARKETS – LIQUIDITY MANAGEMENT DURING COVID-19
Tony Farnfield, Partner at management and technology consultancy, BearingPoint When “Dr. Doom” predicted the 2008 financial crisis back in...
SONY BANK SECURES AND ENHANCES MOBILE BANKING WITH ONESPAN’S MOBILE SECURITY SUITE
App shielding, biometric authentication and additional technologies secure and improve the customer experience for Sony Bank’s mobile banking app ...
KOREA’S KB BANK USES TRUSTONIC IN-APP PROTECTION TO ENHANCE MOBILE BANKING EXPERIENCE
Using Trustonic Application Protection enables KB Bank to dramatically improve the authentication experience for users of its mobile banking app...
CUSTOMER CARE TODAY WILL BUILD RESILIENCE FOR FUTURE CRISES
Cathal McGloin, CEO of ServisBOT writes, “The COVID-19 pandemic has created major spikes in calls to financial sector helplines dealing with customers...
THE CO-BRAND CREDIT CARD MARKET – SINK OR SWIM
By Chris Vinnicombe, VP Financial Services at Acxiom The co-brand credit card market is the result of the partnerships between...
HOW TO MANAGE YOUR CASH FLOW IN UNCERTAIN TIMES
While the world is constantly changing, probably at a faster pace now than ever before, businesses need to manage cash...
NEW IVALUA STUDY SHOWS TECHNOLOGY CHALLENGES ARE HINDERING PROCUREMENT TEAMS FROM ACHIEVING BUSINESS OBJECTIVES
Lack of system integrations and actionable insights are stopping organisations from accurately measuring performance Ivalua, a leading provider of global...
WHY DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IN FINANCIAL SERVICES IS ABOUT CULTURE FIRST, TECH SECOND
Stuart Templeton, Head of UK at Slack In today’s world, there’s no such thing as a ‘non-tech fin’. Every...
STOP THE CONFUSION: HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR BUSINESS MAY BE INSURED AGAINST COVID-19
By Alex Balcombe, Partner at Harris Balcombe The last few weeks has seen businesses in hospitality, tourism, retail, leisure...
BRAVE NEW WORLD: A FUTURISTIC VISION OF PAYMENTS
James Booth, VP, Head of Partnerships in EMEA for PPRO Over the last ten years, the retail e-commerce ecosystem...
A PROPTECH FOUNDER’S BEGINNING, THE START OF KLEVIO AND HOW ACCESS-TECH IMPROVES FACILITIES MANAGEMENT
An interview with Klevio’s CEO and Co-Founder, Aleš Špetič What is Klevio? Klevio is a smart intercom that allows...
HERE’S HOW YOU CAN LEARN TO TRADE RISK-FREE DURING THE COVID-19 MARKET CRASH
Trading app BullBear has launched new features to support budding investors looking to hone their skills against the backdrop of...
ENTERPRISE BLOCKCHAIN: DRAGGING INSURANCE OUT OF THE DARK AGES
Ryan Rugg, Global Head of The Industry Business Unit at R3 The history of insurance traces back to the development...