COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the global financial services industry. While its full effects are not yet known, there is no doubt that the pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to the industry as well as a knock-on effect from other affected industries. This has been a catalyst demanding rapid and radical changes.
The “post-COVID” era started in the immediate aftermath of the lockdowns. Even though the post-pandemic “new normal” has yet to be fully defined, actions that financial institutions took as a first response to the crisis, including remote work arrangements, deferring non-critical initiatives, increased focus on digital transformation – all constitute critical components of their medium to long-term plans.
The closure of branches demanded an immediate improvement to self-service mobile apps, support for all client service via online channels. The impact on cybersecurity, securing larger numbers of BYOD with access to the corporate networks, and data were unplanned for. Demand for large numbers of laptops for staff that did not have the adequate computing power to work remotely stretched infrastructure teams as well as cybersecurity.
Financial institutions will also need to accelerate several strategic initiatives, that were already underway in the pre-COVID era. These include digitization, data, and advanced analytics, customer experience, intelligent process engineering, and innovation across their operations.
With the onset of the pandemic, the pace, scale, and criticality of these initiatives, though, have changed dramatically. In addition, the need for enterprise agility, resilience, and sustainability has reached new heights in the wake of the global crisis.