Overcrowded public transport, bustling coffee shops, long queues at restaurants, Gyms teeming with activity, bar patrons over-spilling on to the streets on a Friday night are all too familiar scenes in Hong Kong. However, due to covid-19 measures in place, these sights are now rare. Customers keep their distance from crowded places to avoid catching the virus.

Brick and mortar business operations are most affected as customers shy away from their branches due to the pandemic. The human and business impact of the covid-19 pandemic continues to unfold globally. The rapid pace at which the pandemic is spreading and the global actions taken to curtail it are having an unprecedented impact on the way we live and do business.

Financial Service Firms and the impact of covid-19

One sector that is most affected by this new normal is the Financial Service sector. To stay afloat, entities providing financial services have to innovate and develop new channels for customers to engage with them. And what better and safe way to enhance customer engagement is to drive customers online. While it is too early to fully understand the long-term effect of the pandemic, financial services companies should already work on a long-term solution to sustain business operations beyond the pandemic. Aside from developing new channels for customer engagement, financial companies must ensure that any solution should be strictly compliant with stringent data privacy regulations.

The pandemic has tested, and will continue to test, the financial services sector’s ability to adapt, respond to and recover from a severe disruption. Any planned interruption of productivity or services is not something that any enterprise wants, and many of the big financial services firms have done a great deal of preparation to support business resilience in crisis situations, but 2020 has brought unique challenges to the table for all. 

“One of the most immediate and significant challenges was the need to adapt business, IT systems and teams to support a fully remote workforce and ensure operational resiliency. For example, almost overnight, banks of all sizes rapidly switched thousands of their employees to working from home for the very first time, to ensure productivity and vital tasks continued to function”.

The work-from-home concept is not new to most firms. In fact a lot of the technology companies have previously allowed remote work arrangements for non-customer facing, technical and product staff – who would only require a laptop and internet connection to be able to perform their duties. However, the concept of enabling and supporting over 90% of the company to work remotely is a concept that few in the financial services sector have practised. Tremendous pressure is put on IT systems to support ancillary teams, such as HR, Finance and IT, as well as customer facing teams such as sales and call centre agents.

There had been many different successful approaches seen since the pandemic started. A lot of the companies have moved forward plans to utilise cloud based productivity and collaboration tools as well as adapt conferencing solutions. This acceleration that just happened in months may well have been placed by the IT team on the back burner for some time. Due to the pandemic, plans have been hastily moved forward “driven by a pressing need to reduce the burden on remote access connectivity, enable virtual collaboration and exploit the elasticity SaaS solutions offer”.

Another approach focuses on rapidly building out remote computing and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that is fit for every worker’s own bespoke demands – the sector, the organisation and its end users. Yet, many of those firms who speedily deployed tactical solutions to allow employees to work remotely are now re-evaluating how they can deliver this capability more strategically and over a longer period of time. What is important is to focus on evaluating the resiliency of remote working services, and making sure that the infrastructure is sufficient to support business productivity and continuity during times it is needed to perform.

These are two simple solutions organisations are adopting to help business continue, and address its most urgent issues when moving forward. In challenging times, partnering with a reliable technology vendor and service provider is key to ensuring your IT team can rely on infrastructure and a team that will assist with any design, deployment or management of remote working initiatives to help the organisation emerge from the crisis stronger than ever.

maaiiconnect – business engagement for financial services

M800 is one such vendor that can support the requirements of Financial Services firms through its powerful maaiiconnect service and the highly secure and compliant, globally distributed carrier grade infrastructure that it operates on.

maaiiconnect (pronounced “ma-yee connect”) is an all-in-one, cloud-based customer engagement & team collaboration platform. It is the only communications solution that combines telecom and digital channels to help companies drive sales, boost team productivity, and elevate the customer experience. Voice & video call, virtual phone numbers, SMS, live chat, social media, QR code & web link channels…all ready out-of-the-box!

With maaiiconnect, companies can connect, communicate, and collaborate with anyone, anywhere, and on any device.

While it was a necessity that led this recent change, it is imperative that financial services firms plan ahead and adopt solutions that are technically and financially flexible to help them tackle any challenges that may arise as their business models change.

See more: maaiiconnect and data retention