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18 Aug 2015

How financial services can maximise private cloud investments

Embrace emerging technology without compromising security

Financial services firms can maximise the return on their investment (ROI) in private cloud infrastructure and run a lean operation by employing advanced communications services.

Branch operations are expensive to maintain. Financial services brick and mortar operations require infrastructure and people to function and interface with customers.

Financial services organisations can harness their private cloud infrastructure to share information between branches and central operations quicker and more efficiently to feed higher complexity, lower volume operational and customer interactions. High volume, low complexity customer interactions can be conducted online. The result would be leaner operations and lower branch operation footprints and lower commensurate infrastructure requirements.

Financial services firms were, according to this story at ITOnline, among the largest consumers of ICT in 2014. They spent $1,3 billion and the sector’s ICT spend is set to grow at 3,8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach $1,5 billion by 2019.

Financial services firms were found, by the Frost & Sullivan analysis quoted in the story, to be turning to emerging technologies and new service models to grow revenues and keep operations lean. However, security remains a primary concern. And that is why these organisations largely favoured private cloud infrastructure over public cloud infrastructure, even though it is more expensive.

They’re looking to satisfy a number of business objectives:

  • Better visibility into customer needs
  • Greater operational risk visibility
  • Offer more personalised services
  • Beat competition
  • Contain rising costs of brick and mortar operations

Using apps on mobile devices, particularly in a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) scenario, was also considered too much of a security risk by many financial services businesses. However, the desire exists largely because that is increasingly how customers and employees communicate. Security breaches and the lack of integration of these types of communications with document workflows and digital document stores hamper implementation – but need not.

Higher complexity customer interactions often require face time with a more senior employee and they are more valuable. And sharing documents between branches and central operations can be a time consuming task that impedes customer service levels.

The ability for senior, centralised personnel to sit in front of customers can be greatly improved by video, no matter where the two people happen to be. They can also share documents immediately, online. They can do so via tablet, smartphone, a desktop, laptop, an electronic whiteboard, smart projector, and IP phone. The ability to work with those documents, completing forms, signing papers, and editing them, can be done immediately. They are directly integrated with workflows and other digital services that adhere with safe operating policies and meet governance, risk and compliance requirements.

Advanced collaboration and communication tools lift the big data typically found in branch environments, things like scanned IDs, completed and signed forms, utility bills to meet FICA requirements and more, out of the obscurity of e-mail inboxes. They shift them into integrated digital document systems, that through something as simple as print stream that can be interrupted, and make them available to interrogation and reporting tools, data stores for analyses and market intelligence. That’s besides improving customer service levels and keeping central and satellite operations lean by leveraging existing core infrastructure investments to maximise ROI.

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