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Financial Service Firms Struggle to Answer Employees’ Demands for Enterprise Mobile Apps

Businessman walking in financial districtBanks and other financial services organizations have a big problem when it comes to mobility: how to mobilize their workers while complying with regulatory and security requirements.

From digital native millennials who consider their smartphones indispensable personal and business tools, to baby boomers who became hooked on smartphones with the first BlackBerry devices, employees are clamoring to mobilize their work. They want smartphones and business apps that merge productivity and flexibility, let them work when and where they want, from the device of their choice – and they consider this to be an important factor in whether they accept or stick with a job. According to PwC research,

“59% [of millennials] said that an employer’s provision of state-of-the art technology was important to them when considering a job, but they habitually use workplace technology alongside their own. Over half of those questioned routinely make use of their own technology at work, and 78% said that access to the technology they like to use makes them more effective at work.”

The financial services industry lags well behind business and employee expectations in enterprise mobility. Fewer than a quarter of employees in the industry have access to enterprise mobile applications, and this is a serious concern for recruiting and retaining top employee talent. But fixing the problem is not just a matter of IT stepping on the enterprise mobility gas pedal. Financial IT pros and leaders say tight regulation of customer and financial data, plus mobile-unfriendly legacy platforms and overtaxed IT resources, are making it extremely challenging for financial services to make headway.

Employees (particularly millennials) – frustrated with mobile restrictions and the slow pace of change – are taking things into their own hands. Rather than waiting around for central IT to catch up with today’s reality, they (and their business units) are going around IT with cloud-based and other shadow IT solutions – hindering IT’s ability to control data security, governance, and visibility.

enterprise-mobility-applications-addressing-a-growing-gap-1-638According to Enterprise Mobility Applications: Addressing a Growing Gap, a new research report by Forbes Insights, “The implications here are profound, given the need to support mobile working with appropriate tools in every sphere of corporate activity today.” Forbes Insights based its report on a survey of over 100 financial services organizations in the UK and North America, plus in-depth interviews with 10 leading financial services CIOs.

According to the report, central IT urgently needs to move mobility higher on their list of priorities because they currently have “little visibility of what is actually going on within the lines of business or at the end user level.” To reverse the widening gap between the current situation and the demand for enterprise mobility while overcoming regulatory constraints and IT resource limitations, the report’s authors recommend that central IT, lines of business, and external parties work together. Top needs, they say, are platform modernization, appropriate API interfaces, effective governance, and an ecosystem of qualified developers.

For more information about Forbes Insights’ research findings, including the major challenges and opportunities around achieving enterprise mobility in the financial sector, download the full report Enterprise Mobility Applications: Addressing a Growing Gap, available at BlackBerry’s Slideshare channel.

About Vicki Walker