Howard Travers, Chief Strategy Officer, MindLink
2015 has been the year of security breaches and regulatory fines but also the year when terms like Shadow IT, Collaboration of Things as well as new collaboration and productivity tools made the headlines. Here is what is coming up for the financial firms in 2016.
- Consolidation – looking beyond compliance and regulations
Most of the regulated industries have been weighed down by the investment in technology to meet compliance and regulatory standards. They, on the main, have put money into tools and applications to plug the holes in the dam of new regulation, under the shadow of increasingly large fines.
What we predict is that 2016 will be a year of review and consolidation of these tools. Whilst there will always be point solutions, we see rationalisation of the applications and aggregation of the data to save time but not having to search multiple systems e.g. having one central view of compliance data combining email, instant messaging, internal chat rooms, blogs and social systems.
- Big Data – usability drives efficiency
This leads neatly into the next growth area of Big Data. Data mining and identifying trends have been around for a while but the tools to conduct these searches are becoming increasingly sophisticated. With the consolidation of data for compliance purposes organisations will become more agile and proactive in identifying issues and weeding out wrongdoing. Another management benefit for companies is the ability to identify trends and opportunities in a way never before experienced.
- Investment in Technology – modernising beyond compliance
Outside of the substantial investment made in compliance it is clear that in many cases IT has fallen behind. There was a time when the technology you had at work was substantially better than the tools out there in the consumer space. In nearly all cases the reverse is true today and the internal consumer is increasingly unwilling to accept substandard applications being proposed by the technology teams. We are seeing the CIO’s and CTO’s widening the search and budgeting to make strategic investments in 2016 into productivity and collaboration tools.
- Shadow IT – managing the uncontrollable
Born out of frustration with the corporate IT teams failing to provide users with the latest, secure productivity tools, we are seeing a rapid growth in the use of consumer applications in the workplace. It is estimated that of the 1+ billion WhatsApp users 35% are using it for business purposes. More alarming is the growing evidence that security conscious and regulatory compliant organisations are using consumer based tools. It is no surprise as staff recognise that email has had its day and that tools like WhatsApp, WeChat etc. are a faster, more efficient way of working.
However, as recently seen in Brazil, all Police officers are now banned from using WhatsApp and other cloud-based chat tools due the security concerns of using the same insecure tools as the criminal fraternity that they are trying to apprehend.
In 2016, FinServ IT teams will be trying to proactively manage the rise of Shadow IT, incorporate the principle of it into their strategic plans (rather than trying to eradicate it) and leverage the positives coming out of the actual users demanding the best collaborating and productivity tools out there.
- Cyber Attacks – taking proactive action
With the growing use of non-approved consumer applications being used for business purposes and the danger of cyber-attacks, we are seeing an increasing crack down on those apps. It is impossible to prevent the ‘water cooler conversation’ or the use of personal devices to share information, but the dangers of using non-corporate tools on corporate devices cannot be underestimated. It seems incredible to think of businesses sharing confidential financial and personal information using Slack or WhatsApp; especially with the constant flow of security and hacking stories. (And those are the ones we know about). In 2016, we see the increasing use of tools to manage and control mobile devices. That won’t necessarily be with the traditional EMM/MDM solutions but the advent of security built into the operating systems e.g. Samsung KnoX or the applications themselves.
- Chat Enabled Collaboration (CEC) – a category taking the (business) world by storm
In 2016, we will continue to see a huge push away from email and a drive to implement real-time software tools such as messaging, voice and video applications. It is totally understandable to implement voice and video solutions to save the cost of traditional telephony systems and it is hard to argue with the CFO and the Board if you don’t. That said the business and technology leaders are increasingly looking to embrace the trends and advantages that bring chat and messaging systems to the centre of their collaboration strategy; a concept that is now widely being referred to as CEC – Chat Enabled Collaboration. The nirvana is to find a secure alternative to WhatsApp™ for business use that is fit for the security conscious, structured, regimented organisation. It doesn’t just need to have the messages secured and encrypted, it needs to be auditable and compliant. Furthermore in needs to be easily adopted, reflect the corporate culture and integrated firmly into the very fabric of the business – reducing email and saving time.
We are very excited about next year. It is going to be a big one!