COVID-19 abruptly forced many financial institutions into a remote staffing model without the slightest inclination of its duration. Barring the infrastructural challenges, many employees have enjoyed the elimination of commuting, comfortable attire, and flexibility. The mandatory adoption of working from home will have significant implications for the daily trips to the office that were once the norm.
An Operational Assessment of your firm’s technology and procedures will identify issues that will be exacerbated by a sustained virtual workplace and provide insight into four verticals: Planning, Security & Controls, Collaboration, and Client Interaction. It is important to perform an exhaustive analysis of your firm’s technology and procedures to identify issues that will be magnified by a remote model.
The importance of planning is one of the few constants in today’s erratic climate. Many organizations are creating management teams and enlisting the assistance of third-party specialists to navigate these tumultuous times. Creating a specialized team will enable flexibility, establish accountability, guide the implementation of new technologies, and mitigate risks.
The sensitivity of client data within financial services results in security being a predominant concern. One particular issue is numerous employees accessing company information with wireless networks beyond the organization’s control. The combination of unsecured networks and increased attacks from opportunistic deviants poses significant risk to financial institutions and their clients.
Furthermore, cybersecurity teams’ impeded ability to respond may affect their capacity to remediate issues in a timely fashion. Many teams are accustomed to face-to-face collaboration and/or additional resources that may not be available when working from home. Prevention is the best defense and can be achieved by conducting a detailed assessment of your firms processes and systems.
Establishing procedural controls and maximizing the native features of current technology will enable your company to stop attacks before it is too late. An effective defense for eliminating external access to company information can be as simple as utilizing 2 Factor Authentication or modifying a monthly process.
Collaboration is a major concern that inhibited employer’s from implementing a remote workforce prior to the pandemic. The recent success of remote work has assuaged worries and has even led banking heavyweights such as JPM and Barclays to consider the implementation of remote teams and/or rotational models. Rotational models are particularly attractive because they reduce fixed costs while balancing the benefits of in-person and entirely remote staffing models.
The short-term success of a virtual workplace will not persist if institutions fail to align their technology and operations accordingly. Video conferencing has emerged as the predominant medium for establishing virtual connections but has unfortunately been accompanied by a series of growing pains.
The sheer volume of concurrent employees leveraging the video conferencing system often overloads the solution if it was configured for a lower number of users. Additionally, various teams utilizing different platforms may result in access issues. Mass collaboration can be facilitated through the implementation of a uniform video conferencing system such as Microsoft Teams or a sophisticated document management system like SharePoint.
User error caused by a lack of sufficient training and limited employee access contributes to bottlenecks that can be easily avoided by partnering with an experienced implementation partner. Although the days of side-by-side spreadsheet collaboration may be behind us, teamwork can be augmented with the use of platforms such as Microsoft’s SharePoint. Multiple users can simultaneously work on the same file while SharePoint maintains versioning, audit trails, and an assortment of security features that protect sensitive data.
Successful client interactions are dependent on thorough and frequent communication. The investment industry has recently experienced a level of volatility and uncertainty that makes communication more important than ever. Asset managers and financial institutions must have the necessary operations and technology to efficiently communicate and protect information that has traditionally been delivered in person.
A popular solution for the mass distribution of content among Salesforce users is Pardot. Pardot is a marketing automation tool offered by Salesforce that boosts communications with potential and current investors. Moreover, it is important to evaluate CRM solutions such as Backstop, Clienteer, Dynamo, or Salesforce to ensure that your team is maximizing their functionality.
The unexpected transition to remote work was a daunting task that will have lasting impacts throughout the financial services industry. Organizations must align their processes and technology if they desire a seamless changeover. Technologies such as Microsoft Teams & SharePoint, an Operational Assessment, and a dedicated Management Team are likely required. FinServ has served as a trusted advisor to the world’s leading Asset Managers & Financial Institutions for more than 15 years and is the ideal partner for facilitating this conversion.
About FinServ Consulting
FinServ Consulting is an independent experienced provider of business consulting, systems development, and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks and their service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle and back office, providing managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience from working with the largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks in the world.