Khristina Atwal
Polycom Employee

Guest Blog: Ray McGroarty, EMEA Director, Industry Solutions and Market Development


EW3_4992.jpgFinancial Services is a fast-moving sector where new decisions about the most valued commodity – money - are made with every passing second. Having a collaborative workforce that is driven towards improving business productivity and speed of decision-making is therefore pivotal to the success of any financial services company as well as their customers. The right mix of workplace collaboration tools can not only improve engagement internally between the various departments of a geographically dispersed financial service workforce, but also externally between internal departments and their suppliers and customers. This allows the workforce to be more agile and productive and in turn promotes flexible working.


The applications, devices and workspaces used to conduct business in financial services have evolved from being consolidated, homogenous and predictable to being fragmented, heterogeneous and spontaneous. The workforce is more dispersed and mobile, and business is conducted from almost any location and at any time. This is leading to an increase in the demand for workplace technology that enables borderless collaboration and improves the speed of the decision-making process for businesses within the financial services sector.


The five pillars of financial services



With the advances in technology, the ways in which customers access information supplied by their financial services providers have also changed. For example, customers can easily access their banking information or details of a payment they made using their mobile phone or computer, eliminating the need to physically visit a bank. Within the workforce, there is a growing need for mobility and access to services that do not compromise expert face-to-face interaction for the internal teams.  When it comes to external communications with partners or customers, business workflows need to be able to provide the same functionality conveniently as during such meetings there is often a need to discuss documents, applications and approvals. To do this, we need audio-visual interaction along with content sharing ability. Audio-visual interactions enable customers to understand clearly as they can read the gestures and body language too, and ask questions in real-time, discuss concerns, share documents through content-sharing solutions and obtain spontaneous feedback where possible. This speeds up the decision-making process for the financial services firm without compromising on customer satisfaction.


Agility and Flexibility

Financial service companies need to be agile to be able to search and hire new talent – currently there is a struggle to attract the best talent and make hiring decisions promptly.  Utilising video collaboration for talent acquisition, on-boarding new employees and providing learning and development opportunities helps improve employee engagement, communication, as well as the reach of corporate initiatives. Additionally, financial service organisations need to offer flexibility to work, flexible locations and training. 



The challenge around creativity is how to synchronise to ensure work and efforts are not being duplicated and that the creativity is shared – whilst this is often conducted through email, video proves to be efficient and there is a better understanding when employees are able to see and discuss in real time. It’s not always possible to meet every day so video solutions enable a financial service company to collaborate effectively.



To evolve as a business, visual interaction, especially when it’s an interesting higher-value transaction, is desired to put the face back into the heart of financial services. When making important decisions, it is vital that decision-makers feel confident and can trust that their financial services advisor is making the right choices.  Millennials are reluctant to engage with big banks, they have current accounts, credit cards, but they aren’t investing their money in the same way as their parents’ generation. The financial services sector needs to start attracting this generation if they are to drive value from these customers. There are also wider economic implications for the financial services sector and the UK market as a whole if they can’t rebuild that trust and encourage the public to engage again.


Facilitating convenient access to specialist advisors through video collaboration, and making those digital appointments as valuable as their in-person counterparts through real-time content collaboration solutions, allows customer advisors to cross-sell, up-sell and improve the overall business efficiency. To learn more about the changing face of financial services and how you can achieve collaborative financial services to gain competitive advantage please join me and FinTech expert Mike Baliman on the 5th May at 10am BST by registering here and join the #FaceOfFinance twitter hashtag to join the full conversation.


If you are unable to make the webinar you can always download the full version of our new free whitepaper which will give you access to a new, exclusive video detailing what should be top of mind for leading financial services institutions to remain competitive.


Follow the author @RayMcGroarty    

Pinky Cheung
Frequent Collector

The popular “stop, drop and roll” fire safety tip is one of the first taught to children. Rightly so, an uncontrolled fire can be destructive.


According to my trusty friend Wikipedia, Fire Prevention Week is observed in the United States and Canada the week October 9 falls on. Commemorating the 40th anniversary (1911) of the Great Chicago Fire (1871), the Fire Marshals Association of North America (FMANA), the oldest membership section of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), observed the anniversary for the first time.


Lincoln Fire and Rescue 2.pngFor the fires that do break out, we have firefighters who dedicate their lives to ensure public safety. According to Leo Benes, Battalion Chief at Lincoln Fire and Rescue, a fire can double in size in 30 seconds. Quick response time and an immediate connection are crucial to saving lives and property. High-definition video collaboration systems connect the 14 fire stations in Lincoln, Nebraska. The firefighters can virtually attend operational meetings, schedule reviews, and complete trainings without leaving their service area.


See Lincoln Fire and Rescue’s inspiring story here.


Similarly, the Pike Township Fire Department in Indianapolis, Indiana sees video as an important part of its life-saving tool kit.


They needed an intuitive system that could create and deliver information quickly as well as measure and track participation to meet certification and training guideline. Polycom RealPresence Capture Station and Polycom RealPresence Media Manager turned out to be the answer. The fire department can record instructors on video just by connecting a laptop to the system. The videos are stored and available for easy search and access on an online library similar to "YouTube." 


Firefighters can complete their hands-on training from home and fire stations when their schedules would allow, keeping them in their service area. The department is in the process of extending access to their system to neighboring fire departments so they can take advantage of the Polycom-based online training program.


Learn more about how Pike Township Fire Department is giving firefighters more time to save lives here.


The Saturday during Fire Prevention Week is Fire Service Appreciation Day. We should all give a round of applause to the firefighters who dedicate their lives to protect citizens and property from this unpredictable force of nature.


Thank you, Polycom heroes!

The on-demand webcast about Polycom's new breakthrough solutions is available for replay. Watch it now.

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