Top 3 Insights from a Financial Services Roundtable
Posted June 9, 2017
We recently brought together a dozen tech executives for a roundtable gathering. While conversations varied, primary discussions covered employing Cloud technology, dismantling silos of communication, and dealing with cyber security threats.
Staying true to the ideal of “clearing the path to innovation,” the discussion provided a wealth of information that capitalized on years of participant experience. Marked by a collaborative spirit, participants discussed solutions to a range of challenges to both financial services and tech industries at large. These efforts marked not only the will to succeed, but the desire to improve individual and industry best practices.
Moving to the Cloud
Along with the opportunities and challenges, moving businesses to or expanding the use of Cloud-based technology was the main topic of the day. While large scale change does present difficulties, it was agreed by all that making the move to the Cloud was well worth the effort in terms of resiliency, accessibility, scalability, and security.
Resiliency. Physical dangers to onsite data are a major concern. Fire, water damage, weather, and power failures are all very real problems that can ultimately cripple any business. The alarming frequency at which they happen serves to clearly illustrate this point. In response to this, it was agreed on all counts that securing data offsite via a Cloud-based platform is the best failsafe to protect against these threats.
Accessibility. Working away from a physical office is frequently a necessity. More than convenience, this is rapidly complicated by unreliable or unavailable Wi-Fi connections as well as the need to access different or larger files remotely. In response, several participants discussed how Microsoft Dynamics used via the Cloud platform allowed them to overcome these obstacles. Working through OneDrive, people can access the information from their local machine and, later, synchronize and upload changes as needed to update information. In brief, this structure provides excellent mobility.
Scalability. From mid-sized to larger corporate offices, expansion of any system can pose problems. Further, merging or migration of different systems is difficult. In discussing individual experiences with this type of situation, it was agreed that infrastructure as service – Microsoft Dynamics and the Cloud – eliminated the need to deal with major adaptability issues. Further, future upgrades are rolled out with fewer difficulties and training becomes progressive. This level of efficiency allows the focus to remain on business.
Security. The ease of operation experienced in terms of scalability holds true for security as well. All participants agreed that the development and administration of advanced security measures is “not a core competency.” Again, the security assets provided by the Cloud in the deployment of Microsoft Dynamics allows users to rely on the strength of Microsoft’s decades of security experience. Rather than bogging down in attempts to develop inhouse security measures, depending on the experts to deal with security concerns “just makes sense.”
Dismantling Silos of Communication
Solid communication from the corporate to individual level is central to best practice. And when that communication involves dissemination of critical information or data, it becomes imperative. Difficulties at this level are serious, “a nightmare” to sort out on several levels. In the discussion that evolved around sorting out these difficulties, it was agreed that there were several key elements to consider.
While evaluating causes – multiple or different systems, segmented departments, etc. – is the most logical starting point, identifying the specific components of these problems can be more important. The consensus was that only from this point was it possible to establish “exactly what you really need.” This is the key to making the necessary changes.
In terms of efficiency, employing a business analyst or project manager was discussed as a preferred solution. But even this decision raised questions, primarily relating to the range of skills this person would need. To that end, it was decided that the ideal candidate would be familiar with the company, aware of all services/products, able to effectively articulate “what needs to be done,” and competent with all company technology. As importantly, the “right person for the job” also had to be personable. It was established as “mission critical” that this person fostered a culture of collaboration.
Clearly, finding and developing a person for this role entailed a great deal of work. It was discussed that this entire effort was – and always would be – an ongoing task. But, as with many efforts, it was also agreed that it was well worth the effort.
Dealing with Cyber Security Threats
During the final third of the roundtable, participants were asked about ongoing projects as well as concerns. As this topic turned to cyber security, facilitators posed a more pointed question: “what keeps you awake at night?” Resoundingly, it was agreed that the threat of a cyberattack was at the forefront of concerns shared by the group.
Given the nature and sophistication of recent attacks, there is a great deal of concern regarding how to best mitigate this risk. “No one is immune to that risk,” and there is no way to know when or how it will be made or where it will come from. Further compounding the threat is that it could be external or internal. Even without malice on the part of an employee, a single accidental breach of protocol could have “disastrous consequences.”
While there was no question about the gravity of the threat, the group outlook remained positive. In dealing with the risk, it was again discussed that the Cloud platform provided users with the full weight of Microsoft’s security prowess. “We’re not IT companies…we don’t need to reinvent the wheel.” Taking full advantage of the security that these services can provide is one of the most effective ways to address the cyber threat. And maybe sleep a little easier at night.
Would You Like to Be a Part of the Next Roundtable?
If you’d like to participate in future roundtables, let us know. We would also like to hear what’s on your mind. Please share your questions and concerns with us.