How financial institutions see the future

Citrix recently carried out research on ?Financial Institutions of the Future? taking input from 45 C-level representatives from across the market and across the world. As head of financial services for Citrix in the UK and Ireland I felt this first-hand information from our customers on the challenges they've been facing and how they see the future panning out, ensures we are aligned with and can help with their real issues.

The pandemic has had one of the biggest impacts the industry has ever seen so we wanted to know how financial institutions responded to Covid-19 and how it changed their perception in how they work, security and digital transformation. Financial services firms have always been more traditional when it comes to people being present in offices. However, the pandemic soon proved that there were no boundaries to where you can work.

Our research found that the cultural and social impact of the pandemic and the importance of employee wellbeing was a priority. There was a notable shift in organisations focusing on the impact on talent planning and acquisition and how they drive a collaborative culture.

Following on from the research, we held a panel discussion with senior representatives from a number of international financial institutions. A handful of areas stood out, in no particular order:

  • Cyber security - panellists felt that it's a growing risk area and that it could be the next ?business pandemic? in banking.
  • Cloud adoption - the pandemic has forced the industry to accelerate adoption and proved it can be done in line with regulations.
  • Regulatory Conduct - ensuring that whatever they do moving forward is robust, secure, and meets regulation.
  • Collaboration and wellbeing - redefining remote collaboration and ensuring consistency across the industry and the impact remote working has on employees.
  • Sustainability - sustainability is high on company's agendas. Moving to the cloud enables a more efficient data centre strategy, and end user compute device strategy.

Financial services firms were well-prepared for the pandemic from a technology perspective which enabled them to invoke their business continuity plans with very little disruption. What was holding them back was a will and desire to allow remote working and a company culture which supported it. In some cases, the pandemic completely changed firms? ways of working and accelerated their digital transformation plans. 

Several financial institutions were already far advanced in their cloud adoption strategy with Citrix, and whilst in the past, this hadn't included home working, they were able to switch on the capability quickly, safely and securely. Financial institutions who have embraced the cloud have seen significant competitive advantage. I see this continuing.

There are other industries that are also highly regulated, what makes the finance sector different is the criticality to the economic stability of the country. They were simultaneously dealing with a complete change in working culture and being a conduit for government economic stimulus packages as well as packages designed to help their customers out during periods of furlough or hardship. So whether the move to remote working has been pretty or ugly it should be celebrated as just having been successful at all!

So what does the future look like?

Citrix will continue to enable financial institutions to serve their customers with technology that allows their employees to work wherever they want securely, remotely, and provide a good employee experience.

We will help them with security and how we deliver protection around the user, the endpoint and the perimeter. Cyberattacks are happening daily, and the weakest part of that security perimeter is often the human, their device, and their actions.

As employees get used to remote working, it's important to keep them engaged in order to maintain productivity and effectiveness. There's a lot of value we can add in these areas in the future as we move out of crisis recovery mode and into planning the next phase.

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