Gabriel Schild, Digital Transformation Consultant for the Financial Sector at Verizon
Many financial institutions are now facing the increasing need to invest in mobile banking strategies to retain and attract new customers. In today’s digital age, customers are now accustomed to taking a mobile-first approach in their daily lives and wish to do the same when it comes to banking. This has become a ‘do or die’ scenario for banks in order to accommodate the growing app economy that people now ‘bank’ on.
Cloud-based applications and services are enabling financial institutions to meet customer expectations and provide services securely across a multitude of locations and devices. Customers regularly now use specific mobile apps to access their finances, apply for loans and manage changes to their accounts. However, in order for these apps to perform efficiently and engage customers the network connectivity is crucial for maintaining the speed, security and reliability needed to manage the growing volume of sensitive data being transmitted and gathered by banks on a daily basis.
Ushering in Modern Day Banking with a High-Powered Network
Traditional networks worked well when market demands on enterprises were less dynamic, but businesses today have to be more innovative and agile. Most don’t allow applications to scale as quickly as required which can lead to lengthy and painful deployment cycles. These new cloud-based applications need to reside outside the traditional internal network used previously and require a more optimal ‘flexible’ network model.
The answer lies in Software-Defined Networking (SDN) architectures such as software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) which basically help businesses turn their physical network into an on-demand virtual network. These software-based architectures are enabling banks to create networks that are more flexible, agile and faster than ever before, ultimately bolstering their cloud-based and mobile services, allowing consumers to have more seamless user experiences.
Whether it’s faster mobile payment transfers, reduced lag times for credit card applications or even support for new AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) applications, the implementation of SDN allows networks to automatically adjust during times of high traffic, so mobile banking capabilities won’t be compromised or crashed. Because these technologies are software-driven rather than hardware, the network can automatically adjust to different levels in volume. For example, a bank’s network can automatically adjust capacity to handle historically high-traffic periods such as the first five days of the month when mortgage and rent payments are typically transferred from consumers to financial institutions and property managers.
Software-defined networks can also better support increased network traffic within a branch, so that crucial capabilities such as wire transfers or account updates will remain online and won’t be compromised or delayed. When a boost in network speed or bandwidth is needed, banks no longer have to wait for a technician to make a service call to adjust network hardware which could take days or even weeks to schedule. Instead, that same intelligent automation built into the network software prioritizes the most important applications, helping prevent congestion and creating a more elastic and flexible network.
This intelligent automation also opens networks to being updated and improved through pushed software updates as needed, reducing the need for cumbersome hardware upgrades and allowing for the support of leading-edge applications. This flexible architecture also allows banks to respond to the latest malware threats and put in place robust security measures to help protect their customers’ personal banking information and corporate assets at the network level.
Integrating a Successful Network Transformation
Before beginning a network refresh with SDN, financial institutions should define their objectives and decide exactly what they want to achieve. This will allow banks to clearly articulate requirements to their IT teams and ensure alignment between the needs of the business and IT. It is important to make the right investment in network infrastructure now as, thanks to software-driven updates which happen efficiently, today’s networks will have more longevity than the network hardware of years and decades past.
Ultimately, a healthy and agile network vastly improves the functionality of the cloud-based technologies that support the mobile banking services which consumers and employees alike have come to rely on for their banking needs. Making the investment in network transformation is crucial for supporting this shift in how people now like to bank. Ushering in the bank of the future starts with putting the right network in place to support not only the technology of today, but the smart technology-driven applications that will exist in the future.