By Luke McLean, Chief Business Officer
19th March, 2021
The modern workplace is changing fast. Once a rigid place tied to a physical location, offices have become fluid environments where employees can efficiently collaborate over long distances. This blended workforce is more connected, more responsive to problems, and more productive.
In regulated sectors like Financial Services, transitioning to a modern workplace comes with its own unique set of challenges. The workforce needs to provide different access levels to the software (including the use of various devices) and make sure that complex data is kept secure and compliant.
A mobile Modern Workforce
The financial workplace is capitalising on new technology and employment models to be more collaborative and innovative. This transformation is not just about technology, although technological developments play a crucial role. It is also about providing employees with a type of connectivity that can help them achieve a good work-life balance, for example, by introducing flexible hours and work-from-home schemes. Cloud-based software has made collaboration even more accessible, as it can run seamlessly across various platforms and devices.
Solutions like Microsoft Teams enable employees to be able to work from various devices and locations, any time of the day. This provides users with ease of access that promotes communication and collaboration. In minutes, they can create teams, invite relevant colleagues and join forces on projects or particular topics.
Transitioning from traditional tools to web-based tools can also enable employees to generate better, clearer processes. This is also aided, in large part, by automation. Automation significantly reduces the number of steps required to complete a task. The result is an environment where companies are benefiting from technology as they have never done before.
Achieving optimum productivity, anywhere
One of the keys to maintaining efficient and productive environments is sharing interfaces and platforms between users. Many workplaces that have incorporated Microsoft products like Office 365 Groups, Yammer, and Teams have reported consistent connectivity and productivity improvements.
Before, handling documents in a collaborative setting was challenging. For example, co-workers trying to access the same file simultaneously would usually block each other. Or different versions of a document would get saved to the desktop or a file server without a way of identifying the one with the most recent changes. These were not the only issues; some attachments were too large to email – and many long email threads extremely difficult to follow.
The modern workplace paints a very different scenario. There are now tools that allow teams to share ideas and collaborate between employees, target groups, and external business partners. Platforms like Office 365 Groups and SharePoint Online provide a central location for emails, tasks, calendars, and file directories. With them, all employees can edit and comment on a document simultaneously and in real-time. Everyone also has access to the most up-to-date version through a shared interface that integrates several programs and screens.
Group messaging tools like Microsoft Teams give employees more visibility for objectives and results. It is no longer necessary to repeat information to absent team members, as they can be in the loop at all times. Discussions are easy to track, and notifications can be set up automatically.
Legacy systems tended to produce data silos. The modern workplace acts as a central repository, where the main application handles the project workflow to help people collaborate more efficiently. With the help of cloud computing, these workflows are also available on any device and location.
Change how you serve customers with Modern Workplace tools
Financial Services organisations face a somewhat challenging scenario. Institutions can replicate most products, rates, and conditions offered by other institutions. This is why organisations can make a substantial difference if they focus their efforts on the customer experience.
To fast-track products and services, financial institutions need to provide employees with modern productivity solutions that create new value for their customers. Several workplace tools enhance a banker’s role by incorporating automation and intelligence into everyday activities. These usually result in significant improvements to the user experience.
Advanced cloud computing, for example, allows products and services to interact in an omnichannel capacity. Language translation can help workers save time to focus on high-value activities, while intelligent tools help gather valuable customer insights. For example, advanced analytics can identify customers at risk and take proactive action without delay.
These are some of the existing advantages of using automation technologies for financial services. As artificial intelligence blends with human-led channels, we will see the implementation of even more sophisticated tools. Service bots that can already answer customers’ questions and make relevant offers will become more tailored to a particular user, taking all their previous decisions and history into account. We could witness bankers immersing their customers in holographic representations of various financial scenarios, graphs, and dashboards in the near future. Microsoft HoloLens is already being used to enrich discussions around financial planning. The technology is in place; we only need to continue designing the customer experiences around it.
Automation is already helping workers gain a personalised understanding of a customer’s needs. With modern workplace tools, financial institutions can predict customer needs and offer the most appropriate product in the right way at the right time for each individual. When combined with the employee’s ability to access data securely and from any location, teams can collaborate to deliver proactive and insightful services in real-time. This creates new value for the customer and maximises the customer’s value to the business.
Securing the Modern Workplace
The modern workplace does not just need to be connected and automated. It also needs to be secure and compliant. For employees to work flexibly in and between teams, in real-time, and in a mobile capacity, a range of technologies have emerged that protect data and manage its governance.
The Microsoft 365 security stack, for example, acts as a security centre that combines detection, protection, investigation, and response to various threats such as email, identity, collaboration, and device incidents. The tool merges functionality from existing Microsoft security portals (like Microsoft Defender Security Center and the Office 365 Security & Compliance) into one centre available to all relevant employees. Because it acts as a hub for different workloads, Microsoft 365 security centre can unify investigations from alerts and incidents, threat analytics, hunting, and action centre. This hub creates a single pane that centralises all incidents across an organisation and generates integrated reports for admins.
Combining the Microsoft 365 ecosystem with Azure Information Protection, Windows Virtual Desktop, Mobile Application Manager, and others, organisations that offer highly regulated financial services ensure the workforce can be productive while following governance.
Protection of devices, data, and identities is critical to running modern financial services. Customers demand increased security to trust personal data and banking assets to a financial institution. With the aid of security centres such as Microsoft 365, it is possible to create a truly modern workplace that complies with the relevant legislation, PCI-DSS and APRA standards such as CPS234.
Building the Modern Workplace with TAS
Financial Institutions can thrive in this increasingly digital market by adopting Modern Workplace solutions. Implementing a Modern Workplace can be a significant undertaking, but the long-term benefits are a must-have. Learn how you can build your Modern Workplace with TAS.
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