Virtualization: Disruption in Financial Services
The financial services industry is going through a phase of disruptive transformation with the advent of contemporary technologies, changing consumer demands, new competitors, and, of course, COVID-19. The challenge of connecting and engaging with customers is not unique to financial institutions, and many, if not most, of them are already pursuing digital transformation and virtualization. But the ability to operate in a virtual environment will require even more sustained, strategic effort with respect to connecting with customers and enabling remote work.
This poses two imperatives for financial institutions:
Virtual customer connect: The future of interacting and working with customers for financial services firm is moving beyond physical branches, call centers, and mobile apps to virtual branches, virtual assistants, and virtual reality. This shift will enhance the customer experience and the value proposition.
Virtual workplaces: Financial institutions also need to virtualize their workplaces by providing adequate resources to the workforce and by introducing clarity about how workers should collaborate across business units and functions. This requires assessing solutions with a long-term perspective to ensure business continuity and to enable anywhere/anytime/any-device access with seamless connectivity and enhanced security. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is increasingly gaining attention across financial institutions, and investments in VDI in financial services and could reach $6.3 billion by 20271, due to multiple benefits including remote access, security, cost savings, and simplified IT management. Several technology companies have started developing or already developed a hybrid cloud managed workspace solution (e.g., virtuadeskTM from Wipro) to transform workspaces for the financial services industry. Like enterprises in many industries, financial services firms are using virtual meeting, collaboration, knowledge sharing, and project management apps to support a large employee base across organizations.
To support these two imperatives, financial institutions are building virtual IT infrastructures that provide greater flexibility, innovation, and cost optimization. Examples include consolidation of servers and cloud computing solutions. Cloud is becoming a mainstay for the financial services industry, and COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption. Moreover, financial services companies are looking to leverage data centers by moving them to cloud-based servers; many of them lack adequate and updated technology infrastructure, which limits their virtual access to data and critical systems.
Senior managers of financial institutions should work with their technology leaders to support essential remote access to key systems and data while maintaining proper information security—critical to banking and financial services. The migration to a virtual environment creates more external access points to systems, potentially making them more vulnerable to cyber risks, including data theft, ransomware, and other attacks. Financial institutions also need to build security and resiliency against internal and external threats with robust DevSecOps pipelines and environment management.
The way forward
There has never been a better opportunity to use today’s technologies to transform the financial services industry to meet the many challenges of engaging with customers and managing a remote/virtualized workforce across multiple business segments. In order to get the best decisions to meet these challenges, financial institutions should throughout articulate their existing issues, map their goals and strategies, and invest in technology capabilities that meet their size and structure. Having virtualization as a key component of technology budgets and functional strategy frameworks can help financial institutions gain competitive advantage and enable them to make seamless migration to the virtual environment.
Chief Executive Officer - Americas 2
As Chief Executive Officer for the Americas 2 at Wipro Limited, Angan Guha manages customer relationships for a range of industries in North America. These industries include Financial Services, Manufacturing, Energy and Utilities, and Hi-Tech. He drives the overall business strategy in the market to identify big bets, manage profit and loss, and ensure high levels of client satisfaction.
Angan started his career with Wipro 28 years ago and has held various leadership positions across India, the UK, and the US. His most recent role was Global Head of BFSI (Banking, Financial Services and Insurance) where he honed deep industry and domain expertise. He has extensive experience leading large transformational engagements and building high-performing global teams committed to client success.
Angan is a member of Wipro’s Executive Board and a member of Wipro’s Group Executive Council with a degree in Electronics Engineering. He currently resides in New York, NY.
Contributor: Shri Dhar (Senior Manager, Wipro Insights)