Building “Future-Ready Banking” in Hong Kong

February 22, 2021 10:31
Photo: Reuters

The banking industry is undergoing massive digital disruption, with online deposits, mobile apps, and digital payments fundamentally becoming the norm. In Hong Kong, dozens of aspiring digital banks are vying to expand their market share while traditional banks and financial services organizations are also taking steps to move forward in their digital journey.

Accelerating Already Fast-Moving Digital Transformation

Facing keen competition in the market, many banks have effectively automated and modernized their IT in response to customers’ higher expectations, enabling digital banking experience and engagement. Nowadays, customers, businesses and even employees are expecting any technology they use to be extremely convenient, highly personalized, user-friendly, and secure on any device.

As a result, banks need to quickly accelerate their digital transformation, including grasping emerging technologies. A recent study from MIT states that 90% of the financial respondents plan to maintain or increase their commitment to emerging technologies in their customer-facing apps, such as artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) and Internet of Things (IoT). However,it is not only IT infrastructure that holds the key to digital transformation, but also how banks attract and hire talent that can fully support the upgrades.

App Modernization Driving Customer Experience

Today, digital banking apps are quickly becoming the face of the bank and represent the brand. Almost every financial services leader has been investing in a cloud-based platform to support modern application development, especially when they need to focus on customer needs in digital-first experience in the wake of COVID.

Cloud-based platforms are crucial when deploying apps to enhance user experience. Modern apps are built differently than traditional apps. The entire app portfolio can be built, run, and operated in the cloud, which empowers financial services organizations to easily support their fast-changing business and client requirements, ultimately driving revenue.

Intrinsic security for better protection

Although the pandemic has rapidly boosted contactless solutions, when network systems cannot catch up with the swift online migration, the result is a higher cybersecurity risk.

In response to the dynamic nature of cyber threats, organizations should invest in agile and proactive solutions, such as intrinsic security. By leveraging infrastructure and control points, intrinsic security looks to fortify operations across any app, any cloud, and any device. When combining it with threat intelligence, financial services security teams can shift from simply reacting to proactively protecting their environments from positions of strength.

The increase in cybersecurity demand resonates among a majority of financial firms. In the same MIT survey, more than half of the respondents (51%) indicate they are allocating a significant share (more than 25%) of their IT budgets to security and threat management. And more than half financial services surveyed (63%) indicate they will put more emphasis on defending against cyberattacks over the next 12 to 18 months.

The Future-Ready Bank

True digital transformation in banking requires changing the organization from the inside out, focusing not only on outward services like online portals and chatbots, but also on how the company reacts to disruptions and customer expectations. Like other cities, Hong Kong relies on banks and financial services firms to bring in new capital and businesses for a robust economy. Tech modernization in banking will benefit not only the financial services industry, but also the wider economy and will establish the groundwork for a smarter city.

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General Manager of VMware Hong Kong & Macau