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Mar 24, 2014

Gaining Competitive Advantage with Financial Enterprise Apps

 The financial services industry is a diverse one, including everything from credit unions to banks to mortgage lenders. Like other industries, many of its employees have a significant need for enterprise apps that help them to do their job more effectively. Financial advisors and salespeople need to assuage the concerns of nervous customers as their nest eggs dwindle in an uncertain economy, mortgage officers need to complete transactions efficiently, and in general the industry needs to process significant amounts of data while still complying with its own industry regulations.

All this requires employees to be nimble and up-to-date with technology. Employees who are on-the-go rely on their mobile devices for information and communication with their colleagues. They might be using their own device if their corporation allows BYOD, or their company may provide the device. Either way, they need to have tools that help them to do their job, which opens the door for an enterprise mobility management solution.

In fact, according to IDC, IT spending in the financial services industry is predicted to exceed $430 billion this year, and to pass $500 billion by 2020, while claims that companies in the financial services industry comprise 24% of all enterprise mobile device deployments, the highest adoption of any industry.

Barclays bank in the UK already launched an initiative several years ago, providing iPads to 8,500 of its branch employees to run a mortgage application that compares different scenarios, and more recently added more in-bank transactional functionality and the ability for customers to leave feedback. Last year, Citi has leveraged its successful consumer app to launch a similar app designed specifically for its commercial customers, enabling them to visualize account data and conduct transactions from an iPad.

Even smaller banks are jumping on the bandwagon, such as Chicago’s Signature Bank, who has deployed iPads to its front-line employees to capture electronic signatures. However, although these enterprise mobility efforts are effective in both increasing employee productivity and enhancing customer service, implementing them does not come without challenges -- most importantly mobile security, due to the significant amount of confidential data handled by financial services firms.

There are many regulatory requirements these firms need to comply with, such as the Gramm Beach Bliley Act and SEC Regulation S-P, which regulate privacy of customer data, PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), which governs data security for credit and debit card data, and SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act), which requires specific internal control procedures in qualifying organizations. There are also authorities which govern member behavior such as FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority). Once you add BYOD and enterprise apps to the mix, compliance can be quite difficult for companies, given the myriad of devices and applications that can be brought onto their network, increasing the potential for malware or data leakage.

With the right mobile application management (MAM®) solution,  financial services organizations can empower their employees with enterprise apps while effectively managing these risks. An app-based approach focused on mobile security provides granular control for IT while minimizing impact on the employee’s user experience, important for busy financial advisors. If your financial services employees aren’t yet mobile, what are you waiting for?


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