As the landscape of communication continues to evolve in our increasingly digital world, the financial services industry is feeling the pinch of regulatory scrutiny. In recent years, financial firms have faced nearly $2 billion in penalties from the SEC and CFTC due to unregulated “off-channel” messaging. This surge in “off-channel” communication, including usage of platforms such as WhatsApp, WeChat, SMS, LINE, and mobile calls, is largely fueled by the rise of hybrid work. Yet, regulators maintain that all business communications must be monitored, auditable, and occur only within official channels. In the words of SEC Chair Gary Gensler, “As technology changes, it’s even more important that registrants appropriately conduct their communications about business matters within only official channels. And they must maintain and preserve those communications.”
A Communication Transformation: Broader Access to Voice
A Communication Transformation: Broader Access to Voice
The past two years have brought rapid transformation to the business landscape.
- Remote working became standard.
- Customers became mobile.
- And corporate leaders were suddenly managing a very different type of employee.
All this raised a valid question: How can a company remain effective in this new reality? Like everything else in life, the answer starts with communication.
More Than Ever
More than ever before, business success depends upon an organization’s ability to communicate quickly and effectively. It’s clear that the “workplace” has radically changed. This new landscape demands three things from every company’s communication tools:
Accessibility is a two-way street. Bosses require that during the workday, their employees are reachable at a click. Similarly, workers want to have the flexibility to work anywhere in the world while also having instant access to their colleagues, regardless of either’s location. And everyone must be effective, regardless of their technology environment.
In a mobile world, locations can change….but connectivity should not. This doesn’t just mean your location. It applies to the shifting locations of your co-workers, vendors and customers. Regardless of the service your company provides, it only works when everyone can communicate smoothly, and the system is flexible to accommodate the unique needs of each team and team member. In financial services, being accessible requires secure, cloud-based communication across multiple modes – such as messaging, voice and file-sharing.
These are the dynamics that will enhance – or destroy – your company’s productivity. Because ultimately, this is really about revenue.
Accessibility, Not Surveillance
Productive environments require fast communication. But being quickly accessible should not be equated with surveillance. Because people perform best when they feel safe, valued and understood. All good leadership understands this.
Thus, the manner in which people are connected makes all the difference. Because employees should always feel they are in the loop. But they should never feel they are under a microscope.
The truth is that the majority of workers do want to be accessible when needed. They aim to be there, when colleagues and customers need them. Employees want to be trusted to be available for the virtual version of a “cubicle chat” when not in the office.
Yet a distributed workforce is challenging for companies. Whether justified or not, many believe that “working remotely” is very different from “working from home.”
The former is engaged.
The latter is out walking the dog…
So the question becomes, “How can company leaders provide a trusting environment…while still maintaining remote-worker productivity?”
Technology becomes the bridge to this new way of working.
Because legacy tools alone – chat, email, etc – lack the instantaneous connection that today’s workplace requires, an increasing number of companies are solving this challenge through the adoption of voice technology.
Instant Voice Connectivity
In the past, only the trading desk had access to high quality, instant, voice communication. Such direct connection was traditionally handled by turrets or an additional telephony-based intercom solution, using expensive “shouts” and “ringdown” circuits. But today’s speed of business impacts all departments. Thus, all professionals – front, middle and back office and all levels of seniority – now require the capabilities of instantaneous connection. In a hybrid-office world, immediate response is often expected. But the popular tools used today support scheduled meetings and lack the functionality for instant connection.
That said, we now live in a cloud-powered world and the traditional telephone is fast-becoming an anachronism. As you watch, the phone’s functional role is being replaced by something called “Instant Voice.”
Instant Voice is cloud-based voice-communication that enables a higher-level of interaction across the entire firm. It’s often the best and most effective option for when you need to reach a colleague rapidly. In a world where time to execute matters, instant voice brings trading floor-level speed to your entire organization.
The old phone system simply doesn’t stack-up against the apps and data-networks of today. Instant voice has already replaced much of the classic hardware with software-based applications. These provide the mobility, flexible integration and the instant response that is demanded by today’s world.
But the rise of instant voice connectivity isn’t a simple story of technology advancement. What really changed things were the lockdowns of 2020.
The truth is that the global pandemic actually altered industry attitudes around how employees communicate. This opened the door for cloud-based instant voice. Suddenly, it became a viable tool for companies to rely upon.
But while the pandemic moved technology forward, it also revealed a major weakness in institutional planning. Until then, “disaster recovery” essentially implied temporary events, such as floods and snowstorms. The need for remote access was reserved for a select few, and didn’t go much beyond a summer stretch at a vacation home. But the global crisis demanded a more robust, long-term solution. Most importantly, it needed to serve more than just a senior executive at a cottage in the country.
However, the critical issue was security.
This was a particular concern for security-conscious industries like finance, government, insurance, and accounting. Because extending connectivity outside the safety of the office carried major risk. From ensuring compliant communication to safeguarding customer financial data, the stakes were massive. Companies suddenly needed instant connection in a manner that enabled compliance.
Cloud-enabled voice technology offered a cost-effective solution that could be deployed quickly, from anywhere in the world..
As companies continue migrating back to the office today, connection still matters. Organizations are returning at different speeds, which means that work environments are shifting again. Security and connectivity are most crucial during times of change.
The next evolution of business communication will enable tighter collaboration. In this regard, instant voice connections help businesses remain connected in changing times. Indeed, they are turning it into their advantage.
It is clear that we are collectively entering a new world of work. As we do, you can expect voice technology to occupy a central role in this new business landscape.
In “A Communication Transformation: Broader Access to Voice,” we explore how companies can remain effective in the new business landscape. Get the free PDF here.
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