01.04.2021
By Markets Media

2021 Outlook: Jiro Okochi, Tier1 Financial Solutions

Jiro Okochi is President of Tier1 Financial Solutions, a provider of CRM software for capital markets.

How did COVID-19-driven disruption impact industry dynamics in 2020?

Jiro Okochi, Tier1 Financial Solutions

Financial institutions are changing their approach to disaster recovery (DR) and digital transformation strategies, and COVID-19 has taught us how they should not be separate and distinct.

Previous tragedies such as 9-11 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012 triggered DR responses and subsequent improvements around getting critical systems up and running in different locations. These were localized impacts where banks could send staff to different locations and get back up and running in days or weeks. The difference then was no one had a multi-months DR plan that included nearly all staff and clients working remotely. COVID-19-driven disruptions have truly tested digital transformation plans, where banks that had properly invested in technology were able to take advantage of their fortunate positions while others who had budget cuts in years past more likely lost business and clients. 

Digital transformation starts and ends in the cloud, but in addition to the cost, many banks are still reluctant to put customer information in the cloud and instead rely on manual paperwork and workflow.  So, whether a bank calls it disaster recovery or digital transformation, COVID-19 will have driven home the necessity to have data, workflow and analysis in the cloud for staff to securely access and leverage from anywhere.

Financial institutions faced challenges on multiple fronts in 2020, including the rapid, large-scale shift to remote working in 2020 and COVID-related staff shortages. Developments in cloud-based technology and infrastructure have made it possible for sell-side professionals to continue delivering value to their clients, and for investment managers to continue making informed investment decisions, with the confidence that their CRM platform meets the rigorous security and compliance requirements of a highly-regulated sector.

Restrictions on in-person meetings and corporate access events drove a sharp spike in demand for secure solutions that enable firms to manage employee and client interactions systematically, ensuring they remain collaborative, productive and client-centric. 

What are the capital markets and banking CRM trends to watch in 2021?

The COVID-19-induced remote work environments influenced salespeople to accelerate the adoption of CRM more than ever before for remote collaboration and a real-time 360 view of customers. The adoption trend will continue in 2021 as banks add more lines of business to capture information and interactions with bank clients.  

With the consolidation of financial data providers continuing in 2020, firms now have access to more, premium data than ever before. But this is only of value if it unlocks insights into clients’ daily experiences and challenges, how they are using your product and what problems it is solving for them, which requires the ability to capture, organize and analyze huge datasets. Specialist fintech providers of high-performance CRM that anticipated the evolution of big data, and invested in the development of smart systems and analytics, will play an increasingly important role in optimizing this data, uncovering powerful insights and enabling clients to generate a measurable return. To succeed, they will also need to be flexible enough to adapt to shifting client needs and the evolving regulatory landscape.

How can capital markets and banking businesses increase collaboration and productivity in 2021?

Firms will need the ability to analyze rapidly growing volumes of data to gain the insights they need to deliver value to clients and efficiencies in their own daily workflows. To achieve this, they will need access to mission-critical tools, connectivity, and integrated workflows (across a range of platforms) via a ‘single source of truth’ – a centralized hub where client information can be managed more effectively, driving smarter client engagement and more informed, coordinated and profitable business. 

With many IT teams likely to be working from home for at least the first half of 2021, ease and speed of implementation will be critical. Packaged, “off-the-shelf” systems can be deployed remotely, in weeks rather than months – and the faster the platform is up and running, the faster it will start delivering value.

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