In the context of the coronavirus crisis, the financial sector has been pushed to accelerate their digital transformations to guarantee business continuity of their products and services.
The COVID-19 pandemic is dramatically affecting people lives and society as a whole. In this context, companies are facing multiple challenges to continue their businesses, while protecting their people and navigating through times of uncertainty. Agility and adaptability are now more important than ever and it has shown us that the “new normal” is being digital now.
The financial sector is quickly pushing their digital transformation to the front of the line, with a clear change of mindset from a “nice to have” goal in the medium/long-term to a “must have now” in order to survive and guarantee business continuity.
On their way to digitalisation, financial institutions are facing numerous challenges, depending on their size, service, and level of maturity in their digital transformation efforts. Almost overnight, the office-based benchmark was replaced by the remote access standard and financial organisations have learned that these virtual methods will be necessary to move forward or else they risk being left behind.
Transformation-Tech - the tools that enable digital transformation
The best known acronyms in the technology space are “FinTech” and “RegTech”. But a lot of these solutions are actually about technology-enabled transformation, or Digital Transformation. Since the emphasis is on transformation, we propose to call it “Transformation-Tech”.
There is already an endless landscape of transformation technology companies out there. For each organisational problem there is an innovative tech solution out there with the right ingredients to fix it, the challenge is just to find the right one.
As a Transformation-Tech company, specialised in digital governance solutions, we have identified three main digital transformation challenges for financial services organisations triggered by Covid-19.
Due to the reluctance to embrace digital change in the past, much of the compliance function is still an extremely manual and paper-based process. Take client due diligence as an example, which as a result of being perceived as a primarily office-based function lacked investment in up-to-date digital infrastructure. As a result, organisations now find themselves running into compliance and data access issues when working from home.
At Governance.com we have advocated the values of digitalised and automated alternatives to manual processes as a means of operational efficiency and effectiveness. It has now become a necessity to have a real time view of your organisation and processes, automation of your workflows, customisable dashboards and tools to mitigate identified risks quickly whilst ensuring compliance.
Almost overnight, an industry that traditionally relied on physical encounters has had to move their discussions to digital platforms. According to the Grand Ducal Regulation (Règlement Grand-Ducal), dated 20th March 2020, these financial companies may now host their shareholder, board and committee meetings in digital form and must reassess their ability to do so whilst keeping safeguards in place.
Our Meetings solution allows companies to manage all aspects of organising and running their remote meetings in which attendees can exercise their rights and place their votes on a secure portal. Since it is a cloud-based solution, it can be implemented within 48 hours so that companies can start managing their virtual shareholder meetings and board meetings comfortably and in compliance with applicable laws immediately.
While all financial organisations have a business continuity plan in place, no one could have anticipated needing to utilise it for such a long period in 2020. While employee wellbeing is the main priority, companies must also remain healthy themselves by implementing a means of monitoring remote staff progress and track business targets.
If financial companies have learned anything from the past crisis, it is the importance of a strong Business Continuity Plan that guarantees a crisp continuation of processes and controls. That means ensuring data availability, enabling simple collaboration and concentrating resources on key matters. So even if there is a disruption to human resources, decision making can be transparently recorded and responsibility can be delegated.
Now more than ever we are helping companies to do so with our Ready To Go Business Continuity Manager, a cloud based solution that ensures companies to quickly make decisions, handle incidents, manage resources and documentation and oversee activities.
Digitalisation: it is not too late, it is time to speed up
For companies who haven’t already adopted such solutions, it is not too late to take control. They always can rely on mature Transformation-Tech firms to help them enhance their operations, simplify regulatory oversight and improve their productivity. The firms who implement such technological solutions will be the ones to survive and prosper through this time of uncertainty and remain relevant in the future.
As the European Investment Bank (EIB) stated in a recent publication, digitalisation is associated with better firm performance. “Digital firms who have better management practices, are more innovative and productive, grow faster and create higher paying jobs”, says the report “Who is prepared for the new digital age? Evidence from the EIB Investment Survey”.
As we know from the past, economic downturns usually lead to heightened rules and regulations. Likewise, the economic and regulatory consequences of this pandemic will likely follow a similar path. This is why digitalisation may very well be the best business continuity move you can make.
Bert Boerman is the CEO of Governance.com.
Governance.com provides regulated companies with digital governance. The platform helps clients connect data, automate processes, monitor performance and record actions. Governance.com's data aggregation, business analytics and robotic processing engines ensure that business-critical information is consistently available in simple views, understandable dashboards and automated workflows. At your fingertips whenever you need, and wherever you are.
You can contact us at email@example.com.