Category: Finance

Finance: Remote working in a merging Finance and eCommerce world

While hybrid and remote work will certainly remain the norm after the pandemic has finally subsided, enhanced security and privacy requirements in banking mean digital transformation should be top of the agenda, writes, Roy Zakka, CEO and Founder of Layer

It goes without saying by now that remote work was a relatively minor practice before the pandemic forced large swathes of society to quickly and unexpectedly adapt. For financial institutions, this led to significant headaches, due to data protection and privacy laws being that much more strict in banking. More than two years one, how have British banks dealt with this huge change and more importantly, where are they struggling?

First, let’s look at what the workers are saying. More than 85% of UK finance workers no longer view the office as their main place of work, highlighting the challenge that the industry faces as it tries to persuade bank employees to return to the office.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has set out what it expects regulated firms to consider if staff are continuing to work remote or hybrid in the wake of the pandemic. They will need sufficient systems and controls to support remote working, be able to meet regulatory demands for the activity it is doing, and must also consider the impact on staff and their well-being.

So now that we know the workers don’t want to go back to the office, but regulation says they do. What can new technology do to solve this problem? This is where new financial technology platforms come into play.

They can provide banks with a secure way for employees to connect to their work network via any device. This is important as it means staff can remain productive no matter where they are, without having to worry about potential security breaches.

What’s more, by using this new technology, banks can also track employee activity, meaning they can be sure staff are adhering to best practices even when working remotely. These platforms are already ISO certified and allow bank employees to work from anywhere on any device in a safe and secure environment.

So, there is no reason for any bank not to allow its staff to work from home, even permanently if they so choose.

Work flexibility will only grow in the coming years as 5G networks are rolled out and more powerful mobile devices become ubiquitous. So, if you work in banking, now is the time to start pushing for a more flexible working arrangement – it’s good for you, good for the environment, and good for the bottom line.

Additional digital infrastructures

With the technology now available for banks to serve their customers from anywhere, it becomes necessary for bank employees to have the right tools and devices available to serve them to the highest level. With these technology platforms, bank employees can use their smartphones, a tablet, a laptop, or even a desktop computer. The banking systems are all responsive to any screen size so that employees can access them and serve them even when they are on the move.

Giving bank employees access to the right tools and devices enables them to serve their customers to the highest level.

Speed in innovation – time to turn digital

The speed at which banks can turn digital varies greatly depending on the size of the bank, its IT infrastructure, and the number of employees.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the digital transformation, creating a direct need for banks to communicate with their customers through digital channels, such as platforms and apps, while social distancing was the norm. The number of digital users has increased by 23% since the start of the pandemic.

Digital transformation is top of the list for most banks. Changing employee demands, changing user behaviour,  together with a need to reduce costs and increase efficiency are leaving banks with no option but to turn to modern technology.

Gone are the days of a five-year core banking migration project that had a 66% success rate. The new platforms at banks’ disposal are far superior, and can turn a bank digital in a matter of months. This results in a more efficient business for the bank and better user experiences for the banking customers.

The pros and cons of technology taking over the banking sector

For all the positives that come with new technology, old customs and ways of life get left behind.

Years ago we used to have a personal relationship with our bank manager. We could meet them for a cup of coffee or a beer and discuss our financial plans and get genuine personal service. Those days are sadly disappearing, especially as smaller banks, credit unions, and lending institutions are being swallowed up by the bigger banks.

However, what we do get with technology is efficiency, simplicity, and experiences that are matched to our behaviours and desires.

If you take Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning models, for example, we now have access to an unlimited number of data points that we can deliver the right message and the right time to the right customer without any human interaction. It is all done automatically, and it is all self-learning. The more data the platform has access to, the better it performs.

The evolution of the mobile banking industry in recent years

If it’s not on your phone then does it exist? For something as important as your money, you want access to it at all times. How much do I have? How little do I have? How much do I owe?

These are the basic needs of money management. From there, the opportunities are endless. What started as a way to check your account balance has now become a one-stop-shop for all your financial needs.

Where is it all going?

Embedded finance is becoming more and more popular as a way to streamline financial operations. By embedding financial functionality into other applications, businesses can save time and money while improving their bottom line.

Embedded finance can also improve customer satisfaction by providing a more seamless experience. Finally, embedded finance can help businesses tap into new markets and reach new customers.

We will see over the coming years that every brand and every business will be offering financial services. It will be so simple and seamless that one will barely even notice that it’s there, until you need it. This is where these new platforms are playing now. At the intersection of Finance and Commerce.

Money is an essential fabric of society. It is the language of value exchange. Without it, society suffers. The financial world as we know is changing fast, and technology is making this happen faster than ever before

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