Could a technology revolution be a positive outcome from the current COVID-19 pandemic?
It’s clear that the coronavirus crisis will have significant social, economic and humanitarian impacts. The financial services industry has already had to reinvent its approach to business continuity on the hoof, support a vast number of employees working from home, and rethink the way it engages with both retail and business customers, as well as the markets.
Certainly, the government-imposed lockdown, designed to prevent the spread of the virus, has led to many employees working remotely. However, financial firms are discovering that many roles and processes are tied to an on-site presence – often because of the limitations imposed by legacy and on-premise technology. It will therefore be very interesting to see how much today’s circumstances will challenge conventional thinking regarding innovation and investment in modern solutions? Will we see more firms moving more core business processes to the Cloud to support greater flexibility in the future?
And, if firms do move more core data and technology solutions to the Cloud, what related processes should also move to the Cloud? For example, the current crisis is reshaping how firms think about business continuity and compliance procedures, particularly in light of recent regulatory focus on operational resilience. Firms are recognising that their existing approaches often rely on legacy technology – or even manual/physical processes – that cannot respond nimbly in the face of the kinds of events that have recently unfolded.
To further develop this nimbleness, is there going to be a burst of innovation around solutions designed to support teams? There may well be as individuals that work with video conferencing tools such as Zoom and collaboration solutions like Microsoft Teams and Slack identify ways that these can be improved and evolved.
Could there be a similar burst of creativity across the whole financial services technology sector? Potentially, as financial firms move in new directions, they will develop closer working relationships with RegTechs and FinTechs to enhance existing technology solutions.
So, in which areas could we see creativity and innovation unleashed in response to the changes being imposed by the current crisis? Here are a few thoughts:
With change and innovation also come challenges, however. For example, Zoom has experienced issues with “Zoom-bombing” where trolls gate-crash meetings on the platform. It has also been criticized for its data privacy policies, which allows it to track user data even if the users are not members. Solving challenges like these will make proactive collaboration between financial firms and technology companies more important than ever.
In fact, if the coming period of innovation and creativity were to have one overarching theme, it would be “collaboration.” Financial firms and individuals who thrive in the “new normal” will be successful at fostering collaboration. As well, all of the areas for potential innovation listed above will also help to nurture more collaborative environments. And other grassroots initiatives can be just as important, taking many forms, from supporting online employee get-together during the lockdown, to providing more online training that has an in-person feel.
So – what do you think financial services technology will look like in two years’ time, given the creativity and innovation that are being unleashed?
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