This is one of a series of articles on what makes a business resilient, and how Skience is helping wealth management firms not just survive this global event, but thrive in both virtual and face-to-face environments.
Over the past several weeks, financial companies have responded quickly to sudden mandates to close offices, work from home, and replace in-person meetings with virtual ones. As a result of these conditions, many of our clients are re-engineering the way they work and figuring out new ways to equip their employees to succeed in a remote work environment. In this remarkably short time of change, implementing the technology required to keep businesses running smoothly so they can focus on their clients is imperative.
Is the ‘New Normal’ Here to Stay?
Firms have faced an unprecedented amount of change in a short timeframe. Most companies had some percentage of employees who either worked remotely full-time or traveled frequently enough to require remote accessibility. But many traditional financial services firms required at least a percentage of their employees to work out of an office—whether for security, collaboration, or reasons having to do with their corporate culture. So within weeks, companies have gone from allowing a percentage of staff to work from home to an environment where they have had to extend 100% remote work capabilities to all of their staff simultaneously for an extended period of time.
This transition has required a tremendous amount of internal collaboration as well as external cooperation and communication with clients and partners. What originally seemed to be a temporary strategy, as the weeks of social distancing mandated by this pandemic have continued, has now become the status quo.
The question that we as an industry have to ask ourselves is, “Is this remote work environment the “new normal,’ and is it here to stay?” For companies that have had to pivot their operations in response to the disruptive threat of a global pandemic, will they be able to return to the same model of business once the threat wanes?
We believe that the answer is no. As an industry, we can’t go back to entirely office-based work. Companies that we were forced into making this change are now realizing that even with a remote workforce, they are achieving gains in productivity while reducing operational costs. And employees who might not be used to working from home are recognizing that the time spent not commuting is adding value to their day and increasing their engagement at work or at home.
Over time, we recognize that this pandemic might be a catalyst to a larger geographic shift, as individuals empowered to work from anywhere might choose to move to an area that offers a better quality of life. To continue to attract and maintain top talent, companies may need to consider a remote work model where they can operate their businesses with zero interruption and a 100% up-time, no matter what is happening in the external environment.
Operating a business in a remote work environment for a limited amount of time is one thing. But moving to a new work model that offers efficiency, sustainability and scale is another. Financial services firms need to examine whether they are interested in building the technology infrastructure that they now require internally—and then invest continually in maintaining them over time. For those choosing to develop home-grown technology systems, do those firms have access to industry-wide best practices, or are they limited by their own internal knowledge and resources?
An alternative would be for firms to consider subscribing to managed platforms that improve business productivity, can deliver new features and upgrades as technology needs change over time, and preserve strict security standards for accessing and managing their data. And to work with companies that have access to leading-edge business intelligence, technology, and service delivery methods that are built on real-world scenarios and can help them achieve organization-wide change as seamlessly as possible.
As leaders in digital transformation, our mission at Skience has always been to enable financial services firms to move to a cloud-based environment for improved efficiency and greater business resilience. What we have seen over the past month, and what we believe we will continue to see, is an acceleration around digital transformation initiatives from leading financial institutions around the country.
As the business landscape has changed, there is a new sense of urgency and focus around transforming existing practices to more efficient digital experiences. Skience is serving as a trusted partner in these endeavors. Our clients are actively reaching out to ask us to help guide them through this process so that their focus can remain on the health and safety of their employees and how best to continue to serve their clients in this new work environment.
Click here to learn more about how the Skience Platform enables businesses to stay resilient in a time of change.
April 21, 2020