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By Clint Oram, co-founder and CMO, SugarCRM

It may seem obvious, but our lives continue to shift, evolve and change increasingly quickly. Today, technology’s pace of change – along with the often erratic nature of the global economy and politics – means even last year may seem like a generation ago.

Our lives have been changed beyond recognition thanks to the seemingly unlimited acceleration of IT. Everything from our behaviour, beliefs and expectations have been impacted. You only need to look at the plethora of instant services consumers now use for entertainment, travel, dining, transport and even banking to see exactly how technology has changed our assumptions of speed, value, relevance and experience. We no longer buy things, we join things and, whether it’s Netflix, Spotify or Zipcar, we use them when we need to. The subscription economy makes it easier to maintain a healthy work life balance – freeing up time that may previously have been spent rushing around, perhaps shopping or organising travel, and means when we’re home from work we can truly relax.  Everything is readily available, wherever and whenever we want it.

Blurring the lines between professional and personal lives

The commute to and from the office used to separate your professional world from your private life. This is no longer the case. You can now do both around the clock, regardless of your location, especially in the world of investment banking and wealth management. While it’s great that you can access work and contact clients from wherever you are, it’s also important to remember to keep a balance between your professional and private life. Remember to take advantage of the added personal time new technologies can offer you. Your life can be lived as you want it or, to coin a phrase, increasingly you can “work like you live”. It’s no wonder then, that 60 per cent of city staff now have the option of working remotely, according to Astbury Marsden.

But how many times have you sat staring at unresponsive documents, or become frustrated as your VPN constantly fails? This isn’t comparable to the instant experiences we expect in our personal lives, which brands like Netflix and Amazon Prime are delivering. It also differs vastly from the seamless experience banking customers now expect, so why should you put up with sub-standard technologies?

Now we’ve experienced the truly instant experience there’s no turning back. Our experiences of technology outside of the banking world means we’ve shifted our ideals of pace and experience. Leaps in technologies like mobile, big data, machine learning, virtual reality, quantum computing and many more are powering all these trends.

Time for bankers to work like they live 

However, while technology in today’s world is having an amazing impact on consumer and personal experiences, the work environment is still lagging behind. You only need to look around at the proliferation of desktop PCs in your office to see how different it is to the smartphone world we live in outside of the working environment. The instant culture of our personal lives is often absent when we’re in the office; we’re asked to forget our thumb-driven world and regress several years. Enterprise software is often bloated, clumsy and sometimes decades behind the rest of our digital life.

I believe people should be working like they live and the new generation of relationship intelligence solutions are beginning to make this a reality. This is particularly important for customer-facing financial professionals, as success almost entirely depends on the customer experience. (Gartner research found 89 per cent of marketers now expect to compete solely on this).

In the near future, technology such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) will provide background on the customer or prospect with little input. For example, their title, where they work, their education, family information and even personal hobbies and interests. By automating the aggregation of large and diverse data sets while using deep learning techniques, businesses can understand their customers at a deeply personal level. The below video focuses on the future to envision just what this could look like.

[Embed video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkXCEUA0as0]

The future of banking 

We’re not quite there yet, and predicting the future is always fraught with surprises. Perhaps the best way to summarise is to reuse a quote from Abraham Lincoln, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it”. So, if you and your fellow bankers spend large quantities of time waiting for the future to arrive you’ll soon find it’s passed you by. It’s time our experience of technology became universal, running seamlessly wherever we are, whether we’re working or playing.