Friday, November 9th, 2012

Swinging the Pendulum in Financial Services

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If you’re in Financial Services, chances are you’ve spent the last few years focused on reducing costs and making sure your company was meeting regulation requirements — not on innovation.

Kristin Moyer, research director at Gartner recently said, “The banking industry has lost its way, both in the services it provides to customers and its future profitability to stockholders. Banks need to transform both their delivery models and architectures to remain profitable and relevant in the financial services’ value chain. Applications are preventing transformation in the banking industry because they are rigid and reactive.”

A key finding in Gartner’s research was that “banks need to stop relying on reactive product delivery and start providing a delivery model transformation that uses public and private Web application programming interfaces (APIs) and apps, so they can respond quickly to new opportunities.”

The cloud represents tremendous potential for innovation, especially in light of today’s mobile workforce and customer base. If you can figure out how to harness the efficiencies of cloud applications with the availability of  mobile devices, you can change the game for your business. You can improve client engagement, speed up time to market, better equip financial advisors, become a paperless company, like MCR Development LLC, and transform research collaboration – all while reducing operational costs.

How do you swing the pendulum back toward innovation at your company? Here are 3 ways to get started:

1. Equip your Wealth Management Teams with New Tech

Wealth management teams are a great place to begin exploring innovative applications.  They’re bullish on new technologies that will help them drive sales productivity and customer intimacy. Armed with an iPad and an enterprise-grade cloud app Box, your advisors can share any fund performance, research or management bios immediately with the client sitting across the table.

By taking innovation a step further and integrating Salesforce with Box, you can connect wealth management teams with their external contacts – and even give them unlimited file storage, sharing and collaboration. Advisors can easily manage content and track how frequently they contact clients and prospects. Both of which are critical components of a successful team, since customer satisfaction is directly correlated with the number of touch points between an advisor and clients. Salesforce is just one of hundreds of application integrations that are possible with Box.

2. Start Using Virtual Deal Rooms

 Another opportunity to innovate lies in virtual data or deal rooms (VDRs). VDRs are a great use case for the cloud because they typically involve lots of large files, tons of collaborators and require mobile access. Legacy VDR applications aren’t cut out for the job.

Whether you’re negotiating an agreement, developing business or managing a merger, Box helps you stay on top of all the changes flying back and forth. You can break out of email and manage documents in a separate, secure workspace across a broad team.  Read how  Cardinal Capital Management did it.

3. Improve Your Infrastructure

Of course, the cloud presents a way to make your operations leaner by weeding out infrastructure inefficiencies. Legacy applications like SharePoint and file servers aren’t nimble enough to deal with increased customer demands and mobile access, as well as tactical changes.

Secure cloud applications increase organizational flexibility, reduce capital expenses and create a more flexible, dynamic IT infrastructure. Your company will be better positioned to meet short-term and long-term needs for efficiency, information accessibility, ease of use and agility.

Once you start providing a delivery model transformation that uses public and private Web application programming interfaces (APIs) and apps like Box, you’ll uncover a number of exciting innovation opportunities. I’ve just scratched the surface of examples here.

It’s time to move from legacy applications and hardware that was built for business in the 1990’s. Where will you innovate and begin driving competitive differentiation in the highly competitive financial services market?