26 November 2014

Geoff Merrick

Geoff Merrick - Cloud Sherpas

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Debunking Cloud Myths: Mobility for Financial Services

28 August 2014  |  2310 views  |  0

Mobility is at the top of everyone’s mind these days, and I have no doubt that your firm is no exception to that. Despite the importance of mobility in today’s always-connected world, many financial services firms have delayed taking action in this area due to their fear, uncertainty and doubt about how mobile solutions will work in the highly regulated industry. While these concerns are certainly important, many of them are actually unfounded. With that said, here are the seven most common myths I’ve seen around mobility for financial services firms.

Myth #1: Compliance & Legal will never let you put CRM data on a mobile device.

Fact: Plenty of financial services organizations are actually doing just that. Yes, the financial services industry has been slower to adopt mobile technology, but many firms are now making headway in this area as they realize mobile is becoming a necessity. For asset management firms, in particular, salespeople are on the road almost 100% of the time and the need for mobile access is now critical. The key for financial services firms is understanding the right amount of data to make accessible via mobile and taking advantage of encryption and security technology such as Good Technology. The bottom line is that you don’t need to put all of your data in a mobile app to make it useful: don’t let the fact that certain data are more sensitive than others restrict you completely from going mobile.

Myth #2: Rolling out basic CRM data to mobile devices without including back office data is good enough.

Fact: Providing customer data to users via a mobile app is great, but when it comes to the financial services industry you also need to include some financial data to make it truly useful. For example, what happens when your insurance agents meet with customers but can’t access quoting or policy data? Or when salespeople for asset management firms meet with clients but can’t access portfolio information? While you don’t need to make every single piece of data you have available, you do need to find a secure way to expose some of this data in order to make the app beneficial for your users.

Myth #3: The next version of a development platform or language will have everything you need, so it’s best just to wait for that to become available. 

Fact: Don’t wait for the next version of something to come out, act now. A lot of businesses are always waiting for the next version, and that’s a bad habit to get into. While you’re waiting for the next version, everyone else is working on the current version and getting their processes figured out. Then, when those desired capabilities do become available, you’re starting from scratch whereas your competitors have already figured out 70% of the equation. Furthermore, when those capabilities launch, there’s no guarantee they’ll work the way you want them to. The best thing you can do here is create your strategy now, pilot it, learn from what you’re doing and get most of the equation figured out. If you wait, you will fall behind and your business will have a much more difficult time adapting when you finally do introduce mobile.

Myth #4: Employee apps need to be consumer-grade.

Fact: Everyone always hears about how people use better technology at home than they do at work, and there’s no denying the truth of that statement. As a result, many companies think that if they can’t deliver a consumer-grade mobile app it’s not worth providing anything at all. While it would certainly be great to provide the same quality technology and applications in the business setting, this isn’t a requirement for gaining user adoption. Instead of trying to build a perfect app from the start, work on producing something that’s good enough for your needs and improve its capabilities through various iterations and user feedback.

Myth #5: Mobile is only about phones.

Fact: When someone says mobile, nine times out of 10 people immediately think of iPhones. This is a common mistake to make, but it’s important to recognize that mobility is about more than just one type of phone and even more than just phones -- it also includes tablets and other new devices connected to the Internet of Things. There are countless different devices to support and thinking you can develop something for one particular phone and it will work for everything else is short-sighted.

Myth #6: You need to support all devices equally.

Fact: Having recognized that there are a multitude of different devices to support, it’s also essential to understand that you don’t need to support all of these devices equally. The best thing you can do is take a middle-of-the-road approach: you need to understand your device environment and what all your users are connecting to the network, but you don’t need to develop applications for all of these devices. Focus on the most commonly used devices and/or development platforms first and see what makes sense from there.

Myth #7: People know how to use these devices, so training isn’t necessary.

Fact: Thinking that you don’t need to offer any training “because everyone already uses iPads” is very misguided, and those organizations who don’t provide training will encounter adoption issues. While some users may know how to use certain mobile devices, others may not have as much experience and will need a little more help. More importantly, just because people already know how to use the device, does not mean they already know how to use the application. These are two different competencies and delivering training for your mobile application is essential for success.

Don’t Get Left Behind

The facts above should demonstrate that many of the fears that are holding back financial services firms from going mobile today are actually unfounded. Mobility is critical in today’s digital environment, and those firms that don’t empower users with these capabilities will fall behind. At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is to start simple, realize quick wins and build on your success.

 

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name

Geoff Merrick

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VP, Financial Services Sector Lead

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Cloud Sherpas

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2014

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Atlanta

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