3 Big Takeaways from a Financial Services Roundtable
AKA Enterprise Solutions recently hosted a group of executives from leading firms in the financial services industry. Addressing issues common to their field, discussions focused on several issues, including:
- Employing Cloud Technology
- Breaking Down Silos of Communication
- Dealing with Cyber Security
Participants shared professional experiences and discussed how others dealt with similar situations. The meeting was marked by lively discussion and a wealth of information was exchanged over the course of the day.
Moving to the Cloud
Resiliency, upgrades, and security were the central focus of conversations about moving to a Cloud-based platform. Group members discussed how these challenges were being dealt with in terms of cloud migration. Working through several scenarios, participants asked and responded to questions, thoroughly developing the topic in the context of their experience.
Resiliency was stressed as one of the most important considerations for making the move to the Cloud platform. Central to this were concerns relating to physical dangers: power failures, fire and water damage, and weather factors. In every case, it was agreed that these dangers happen with alarming frequency and must be taken seriously. Without exception, the group agreed that Cloud-based servers addressed these concerns while improved accessibility.
Looking at accessibility, all agreed that “there’s no way an office-based data center is ever going to be just where you need to be when you need to be there”. More than remote accessibility, businesses experienced serious limitations when faced with questionable Wi-Fi availability as well as accessibility to large amounts of information away from the home office.
Participants went on to discuss how Microsoft Dynamics through the Cloud platform mitigated these difficulties: “[they] sync information through One Drive, to [their] local machine, …make changes to it and it will synchronize and upload the next time they connect.” Resoundingly, this was recognized as the mobility businesses need.
Moving to scalability, successful business practices clearly necessitate the ability to develop system assets within a company. But making this happen can be difficult. Specifically, the merging and migration of disparate systems is a major challenge. Regardless of the size of a business, there was again consensus that the Cloud was the solution to this set of challenges and difficulties. Looking to infrastructure as service, employing Microsoft Dynamics and the Cloud takes care of adaptability issues. Further, upgrades and releases are rolled out with much greater ease. Further, training is progressive and much more efficient. All of this serves to streamline learning and implementation processes while improving efficiency.
The same observations also applied to security. Rather than “reinventing the wheel”, using the AKA Cloud platform to deploy Microsoft Dynamics gives users of access to the strength and experience of Microsoft’s security teams. In addition to improved efficiency, having one of the top experts in the field to provide security makes sense.
Silos of Communication are an Issue
Open communication is critical to business in every context. This is particularly true in sharing data and information within a corporate structure. Dealing with multiple CRMs, segmented departments, and multiple physical locations all serve to complicate the issue. To effectively address the situation, identifying specific issues as well as “where you need to be” must be established from the beginning.
Hiring a BA or project manager was discussed as one of the most effective means for addressing the problem. But with that, there came another set of questions; most notably, who’s right for the job. While a definitive answer was difficult to establish, a specific set of attributes was developed. The ideal candidate for the position must be:
- Knowledgeable of the company as a whole
- Aware of all services, products, and business practices
- Articulate and able to clearly express what the company needs
- Competent with all company technology
It was also discussed that the ideal candidate had to be professional and personable. Central to the role is developing consensus throughout the company and getting people “on board” with each effort or campaign. Developing and maintaining this level of investment across departments and amongst individuals is never an easy task.
In addressing this, it was discussed that establishing a “culture of collaboration” was critical. By having individuals “sharing of expertise within areas of the same departments as well as interdepartmentally” as a “standing agenda item on weekly and monthly conversations, calls, and meetings” all involved become engaged in the process. This is further supported by actively discussing “what’s working and what’s not”. Ideally, the consistent implementation and review of these programs will serve to more fully develop open lines of communication.
Cyber Security is What Keeps Us Up at Night
During the closing segment, participants discussed current projects and concerns. By way of introduction, the question was posed: “what keeps you awake at night?” Amongst other topics, security was at the forefront of participant concerns. All agreed that lack of predictability (time, source, nature of attack, etc.) compounded by potential for catastrophic damage made cyber security a chief concern.
Despite the ominous nature of the topic, the group outlook was optimistic. Given the pace at which current technology is being improved along with resources provided by Cloud infrastructure as managed Cloud Services, there are options available for addressing cyber threats. Ain closing, it was agreed that these measures serve as a best-practice defense against security threats.
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