Most financial services companies already know this: Employees are increasingly demanding a mobile-friendly workplace — just like their customers want mobile solutions for their transactions.
But many banks, insurance companies and other providers have been known to resist this new workplace requirement. Unfortunately, mobile adoption comes with complex infrastructure, governance and resource challenges to overcome. Simply put, the data security and risk management concerns are huge, especially for small and midsized organizations.
The payoffs, however, include a nimbler, enabled workforce and increased business efficiencies. Additionally, companies need to recruit and retain talented, tech-savvy Millennials, and mobile integration is a way to do that. Younger workers continue to favor office environments that nurture communication and collaboration via tablets and smartphones.
If your financial services firm seeks to attract and retain younger workers and gear for the future, here are five recommendations.
- Embrace the mobility trend; it’s here to stay. If you prefer to issue corporate-owned Apple® iPads or other mobile devices, do so. But you will still need a policy for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and productivity benefits make this worthwhile. A 2015 survey of financial services providers by IDC found that two-thirds of its respondents had yet to fully develop a policy governing the use of mobile devices. Two years later, we should assume that a larger percentage of companies currently have a BYOD policy. Yet employee use of personal devices for work continues to rapidly grow, putting those still delaying the inevitable at risk of falling behind their competitors.
- Specify what devices are permitted and establish a stringent security policy. As we noted in an earlier post, the financial services industry is one of the most regulated industries when it comes to data security. You may not be able to support every device, but your BYOD policy must be clear on which ones you can and will support — iPad and iPhone but not Android, or vice versa, for example. It also must address requirements such as multi-factor authentication, which apps can be used via mobile devices, and other ways to protect your corporate systems. In short, your BYOD policy must be well thought out. Here is a sample template to consider customizing.
- Compensate or reimburse your employees who use their mobile devices for work. With work-related information available to employees anytime and anywhere, they’re able to do their jobs more effectively and can save you money. Their own devices will often be more modern and powerful than those provided by the company. So, it makes sense to compensate them through paying a percentage of the cost of their device as well as part of their data plan. This can be covered in your BYOD policy.
- Provide wireless access throughout your workplace, and IT support for devices. A wireless local area network (LAN) is not complete if it doesn’t support mobile connectivity. Employees will feel empowered if they can take their tablets to team or client meetings and have access to documents and information they need. Providing IT support for iPads or other tablets and smartphones is another mobile-friendly initiative that an increasing number of companies are offering. Device and issue coverage should be clearly defined in your BYOD policy.
- Find a partner who can help with a mobility risk assessment and mobility management. Supporting mobility and BYOD programs doesn’t mean your company must actively manage the devices or all the issues related to their use. You likely don’t have the resources or the budget for that. A better plan is to have a managed services provider you can trust to assess your risks and provide mobility management services. The provider you choose should also be skilled at managing the types of mobile devices you choose to support.
For small to midsized firms especially, the cost of neglecting mobility management is high and potentially catastrophic. Millennials and other workers may be using their mobile devices for work anyway, and a data breach at an unprepared organization could drive it out of business.
Is your financial services organization mobile-friendly? How has it helped your recruiting and retention? Do you have any tips to add to this list? Do you disagree? Please leave a comment below.