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Digital transformation and financial services: Banking on emerging tech

Banking and other financial services industries are traditionally conservative and until recently they have resisted efforts toward digital transformation. Things are changing though, and now these businesses are finding themselves in the place of having to catch up with technology to survive. To learn more about this subject I talked recently with Steve Stover, VP of products and strategy at SolarWinds.

MITCH: Steve why do companies in the financial services sector usually struggle with introducing new technologies?

STEVE: While financial services organizations might have traditionally shied away from large-scale technology changes that would upend their operations, this isn’t the case anymore. Many financial organizations have adopted technology solutions to stay competitive in the market, improve process efficiency, and create a better experience for customers. Digital solutions are now more sophisticated and designed with industry challenges in mind, allowing financial organizations to incorporate new tools for every employee in the organization — from contact center employees to software developers.

When it comes to digital transformation in the financial sector, organizations want solutions that improve productivity and empower employees through new engagement tools. One of the areas where companies can streamline productivity is in the IT service desk. As an integral part of the entire organization, the IT service desk can be one of the most effective places for financial services to begin digital transformation. Smart tools in the service desk are able to automate service desk processes, such as asset management and ticket workflows, and allow service desk workers to focus on more complex IT issues. In today’s digital world, a company’s business goals depend on the effectiveness of their technical operations, and a modern IT stack can make or break whether digital transformation aligns with long-term business success.

MITCH: How can the IT team of a financial services company be realigned to ease the transition toward emerging technologies?

STEVE: To ensure collaboration with key stakeholders and help employees transition to digital tools, IT teams should marry key frameworks, such as ITIL 4, with existing communication channels like mobile and chat. By leaning on best practices to create a more holistic, company-wide approach to IT service management, teams can support digital transformation in every department. For example, if the payroll department implements a new software tool, the service desk would need to be equipped with automated monitoring to catch any repeat issues associated with the new project. By understanding the support each department needs to successfully use new tools and providing specific strategies to address those needs, the company will be better set up for success.

By leaning on best practices to create a more holistic, company-wide approach to IT service management, teams can support digital transformation in every department.

IT teams should also align their strategies with other departments. Technology now touches every employee at an organization, and department leaders and C-suite executives are necessary voices during the digital transformation process. It’s no longer typical that only a few workers have knowledge of the company’s technology, especially as new generations of digitally-native employees have entered the workforce. By making sure everyone is on the same page and pursuing the same goal, IT workers will be better prepared to assist all departments at the company.

MITCH: What tools and processes can financial services companies use to help ease the way forward towards digital transformation?

As the financial sector continues to embrace new technologies, many organizations will adopt automated solutions for employees and see operational improvements. Smart, automated solutions not only streamline mundane processes to remove inefficiencies throughout the organization but create a streamlined experience that makes the daily tasks of employees easier. These same organizations have also embraced AI in automation, allowing intelligent technology to help predict IT issues and automatically take the correct course of action. By implementing AI technology at the backend of the IT department, such as within the service desk, financial organizations can create a more modern experience for employees and give employees the right tools that improve service for the entire organization.

Emerging technologies like AI are also helping IT leaders align digital goals with the company’s long-term business initiatives. While some executives might resist these tools and the organizational change that comes with going digital, the reality is that streamlining processes with AI is just one step towards a more efficient organization and productive workforce. Financial services organizations now understand how important digital transformation is to their company’s future successes.

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MITCH: Anything else you’d like to say on the subject?

STEVE: While it might appear that digital transformation has been around for a while, in actuality, most organizations are in the early stages of this process. This is true not only for financial services but for most industries that aren’t digitally-native. True digitization may take years to achieve, but more companies will implement the right strategies to enable large-scale change with technology.

Companies that invest in smart tools early on will drive a modern employee experience, engaging both employees and customers, and see ROI faster than competitors — ultimately staying ahead of the market. This includes aligning best practices with IT service management to ensure every department is able to utilize technology to improve the employee experience and meet business goals. For financial services, an increased demand for digital tools has accelerated digital transformation overall, but many of these companies are still figuring out what works best for their business. By communicating with stakeholders and IT decision-makers, digital projects can be supported by the entire company rather than a few employees. This will help ensure the success of digitization.

Companies that invest in smart tools early on will drive a modern employee experience, engaging both employees and customers, and see ROI faster than competitors — ultimately staying ahead of the market

MITCH: Steve, thank you very much for taking a break from your heavy workload during this ongoing COVID-19 crisis to talk a bit with us about a subject like this that is poised to become increasingly important in the emerging “new normal” of working from home and shopping mostly being done online.

STEVE: You’re very welcome!

Featured image: Shutterstock

Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of both WServerNews and FitITproNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows Server and cloud technologies. He has written more than a thousand articles and has authored or been series editor for over 50 books for Microsoft Press and other publishers. Mitch has also been a twelve-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award in the technical category of Cloud and Datacenter Management. He currently runs an IT content development business in Winnipeg, Canada.

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