The Top 4 IT Challenges Facing Financial Services



By Mihaela Risca, Industries Manager, Financial Services, NetApp


Tales from the Field blog series explores customer trends in vertical areas including Financial Services, Healthcare, Media & Entertainment, Oil & Gas and High Tech. NetApp executives and customers detail use cases, including challenges and solutions, in today’s IT environments.


Similar to other industries, financial service organizations are under enormous pressure to take advantage of cloud and mobile technologies to better serve their customers and improve their top line. However, what is most unique compared to other industries is that financial service companies have the difficult challenge of intense regulatory pressure. We examine some of the top IT challenges facing the financial services industry today and how implementing NetApp’s Data Fabric vision can help alleviate some of these challenges.


Playing Catch-Up to Demands From Customers to Digitize

The ‘Uber-ization’ of financial services is here: With a tap on the screen, customers expect the information they need and want delivered to them instantly – much like the way the 21st century digital taxi service works. Financial firms have been slow to adopt digital channels, compared to consumer-focused companies. Digitization and creation of mobile apps have become top initiatives now. This drives the transformation of IT architectures from monolithic to modular and distributed, from silo’ed to shared services, built on infrastructure that spans different types of clouds. Customer analytics is a very important component of the Digital Enterprise. Knowing your customer and being able to act in real-time when and where the customer is using one of the channels, is how firms can cross-sell and up-sell their services.


Cyber Threats

However, expanding customer touch-points with the rapid growth of mobile, and digital bank channels can pose many security risks. The more information and product offerings that financial services organizations make available on the Web, the more valuable and attractive they become to hackers looking for their next target. In today’s world, it’s not a matter of if, but when a breach will occur. Yet one of the biggest contradictions in financial services might be the lack of resources allocated to keeping its most important assets secure. PWC’s Global State of Information Security Survey found that only 33 percent of its respondents say that their board is involved in the review of security and privacy risks, while only 44 percent are involved in setting security budgets.


Regulatory Roadblocks

The financial services industry can aspire to integrate all of these technological advances – from big data analytics to hybrid cloud to software-defined networks – to the best of their abilities, but the fact is, there will always be one roadblock: regulation. Due to regulations and data security requirements, financial services firms need to maintain strict control of their data. Innovators in the industry are already finding ways to use cloud offerings, first for less sensitive data. The main challenge is to prevent lock-in and be able to move data as needed between cloud providers.


While the financial services industry will always face an endless battle with regulation, organizations will eventually need to beat this roadblock in order to meet today’s demands.


Complexity of Data Management

In recent years, there has been a massive explosion of data. Many industries including financial services are still trying to figure out how to manage. Analyzing data can provide useful insights to improve customer interactions and decision-making. Without a data management strategy, financial service institutions will not be able to produce quantifiable and actionable insights. The influx of data can also negatively impact IT infrastructures, especially if systems are not set up to handle this massive amount of information due to a lack of storage or slow networks. 


The list of IT challenges will continue to grow unless the industry can communicate or come to a compromise on what tools they’ll need to ensure smooth operations. For data management, there is NetApp’s Data Fabric vision. Financial services organizations can respond and innovate faster when data is free to flow where it is needed most.


By implementing a Data Fabric strategy, financial services organizations are given the choice to decide on the IT partners and cloud providers that make the most sense for their needs. The ability for data to flow seamlessly across flash, disk and cloud means organizations can manage, move and protect data, while running applications without changing them across different cloud models. This allows organizations to also integrate easily with the rest of their environment without creating new data silos, in a secure way between cloud service providers and back to their data center.


Data Fabric is NetApp’s vision for the future of data management. It gives you the freedom to seamlessly manage your data across the hybrid cloud. You can move data where you need it most, innovate faster, and always make the best decisions for you and your organization.


Data Fabric