My meeting, my way

Existing web conferencing and collaboration solutions are too restrictive for banking and finance organisations.  Employees want to choose the devices and operating platforms they use to spontaneously connect and share with colleagues. Holger Felgner, General Manager at TeamViewer, argues that next-generation solutions will give more power to users – and pave the way for more versatile use of remote talent, changing the way banking and finance companies think about recruitment. Holger Felgner

Without question, workforces are becoming more mobile and dispersed, reducing the window for team meetings where all key members can be physically present. Flexible-working policies, designed to reduce internal costs and to attract and retain staff seeking an improved work-life balance, add to the challenge. To be productive, they need to remain fully connected in to office functionality and able to communicate and collaborate as if they were in the same space.

It is no coincidence that Gartner has forecast that ‘telepresence’ (online meetings) will replace some 2.1m airline seats this year, and that by 2015 200m workers globally will be running video conferencing from their desktops.

Yet as more employees and contractors favour using their own technology and tools to manage their workloads, as seen in the growing ‘consumerisation of IT’ and ‘bring your own device’ trends, it is becoming harder for companies to manage the ways their staff connect and share with each other. To be fully inclusive, the software and services harnessed need to be readily accessible to all users, on all devices, in all locations.

Overriding restrictions
Existing conferencing tools don’t always allow this, because the content users want to share while connecting with colleagues remotely isn’t always accessible to them during an online audio or audio-visual meeting – especially if one or more of the participants are mobile. The more that users swap desktop PCs and even laptops for Apple iOS and Android devices, like tablets and smartphones, the danger is that they will drop out of the loop.

While online videoconferencing services have made versatile video connectivity a real option, they are really designed for ‘communication’ rather than deeper collaboration. For extended business use, conferencing services need to include secure file-sharing and shared whiteboard capabilities that enable organisations to mimic physical meetings to the greatest possible degree.

That means allowing remote team members to dial into their own PCs or laptops from any location if they need to, so that they can call up and tap into their full set of files and tools, enabling even the most spontaneous conference session to be maximised. So for example, if someone is connecting from a train, but they have left pertinent resources on an office machine, by activating their remote access ID they will be able to remotely access that machine and pull the content into play.

Beyond business
Next-generation web conferencing systems will be truly cross-platform, supporting users’ choices of access device and operating system. The potential of combining traditional conferencing capabilities with remote access, file-sharing and shared screen control, in a single, flexible and intuitive solution that’s accessible from any device, is immensely powerful.

Looking specifically at the banking sector, there are a number of benefits to be gained from using remote control software. The main benefit is the fact that this type of software allows you access to any computer no matter how far or near it is from your location, meaning organisations are able to manage remote machines securely across multiple platforms to resolve issues quickly. However, to take it a step further, banks can easily benefit from using this type of software in other areas. For example, when it comes to training most companies rely on outside vendors nowadays to train their workforce, which means that the workflow may slow down as people are not at their normal work station. It also means that the company has to spend money in order to have their employees trained. However, training can be easily done with the use of remote connection software. The financial benefits of remote control software can be significant. Cost savings can result from reducing the number of help-desk staff, solving problems faster, and fielding fewer support calls. Perhaps most important of all, an effective remote control solution frees up an IT department’s time for other more important tasks.

Furthermore, remote access software can help a bank to improve the customer experience in many ways. In order to understand how remote access solutions can do this, one has to understand the reasons for their dissatisfaction with banks. Main reasons for customer dissatisfaction are poor service, unfavorable price-performance ratios and inconvenience factors such as insufficient opening hours and poor accessibility of client advisors. In order to be attractive for customers, banks must work on these specific points. Remote access software is ideal because you can address several customer needs with one single solution.

Meanwhile, the marketing, design and advertising teams within banks could use the advanced collaboration facilities to brainstorm to a more productive degree, by allowing colleagues to virtually ‘reach through the screen’ and show exactly what they mean when suggesting a change to a design in progress.

Freedom through security
With robust security, provided through comprehensive encryption and other sophisticated anti-interception technologies, these sorts of facilities can be transformational – not just in allowing more staff at a company to work from home, or be more productive while travelling, but in enabling organisations to think more broadly about how they might employ and engage with talent in future.

Web- and video-conferencing tool vendors have long claimed that these scenarios would be possible, but it’s only now that the necessary level of sophistication exists to make it a reality. Real technology progress comes when tool vendors take time to truly understand how users work and the constraints that continue to limit them. Working without boundaries requires more freedom than suppliers have allowed until now, but happily that’s all about to change as the power continues to shift and users succeed in making their voices heard.




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