Blog · 13 Aug 2020

Banking on the digital workplace

Due to Coronavirus, many people in banking offices and contact centres needed to quickly move to remote working. And many retail branches shortened opening hours or closed altogether.

Managing director international banking, BT

As the pandemic began to affect day-to-day life, no sector was immune to the impact.

In banking, many people in regional offices and contact centres needed to quickly move to remote working. And whilst retail branches were mostly exempt from closure, many firms significantly reduced opening hours – or they closed altogether.

Where branches were closed and people were moved to remote working, there was a new challenge - the work hadn’t changed, but how it was delivered had. For the millions of customers who visited their local bank every week, they now needed to do everything online or through a customer contact centre. This led to a huge surge in demand to contact centres and remote-working agents.

These challenges led to a significant change in how banks operated. In many cases, they had the technology capable of making the change, but often it hadn’t been designed or configured in a way to easily provide the flexibility needed to support homeworking. In the short-term, we supported our clients by helping them move from location-based working to flexible and home-based working. We were able to do this quickly because many customers had chosen scalable, agile technology. For example, a number of our banking customers use our Cloud Contact solution – so we could rapidly reconfigure and enable their agents to work remotely. This was a good test for us. It showed that even in a heavily regulated market, we were able to move at pace – delivering compliant changes in days and weeks not months.

Changing habits

The change in customer habits has been rapid. We saw a significant increase in call volumes – up to 400% in some cases as banks played a critical role giving information and direction to customers about their savings, wages, loans, etc. At the same time, there was a surge in the uptake of digital banking. Typically, around 43%1 of the over-55s in the UK use mobile or digital banking. But if you can’t get through on the phone and the branch is closed, the only option is online, and the feedback from people who hadn’t previously used it was that they loved it.

Another thing we saw during the lockdown period was banks using video technology far more than they’d done previously. Nationwide Building Society, for example, logged over 2.5 million video calls2 a month between staff working from home and those deployed in the branch network and call centres – a 3,000% increase on the month before lockdown.

Life after lockdown

Coming out of lockdown, we’re seeing a significant acceleration of their transformation plans. Banks know where they need to be in 3-5 years, but they need to get there in 1-2 years. The key challenge is whether they have the digital, transformation and agile skills needed to move at pace and get to where they need to be. And how they’ll deploy the technology needed, to support the business change.

From our perspective, we’re geared up to support banks with their digital transformation journeys. Everything from making sure they have the very best network, wi-fi and cybersecurity services to deliver a brilliant customer experience, to enabling customer contact centres to offer, not just voice but biometrics, webchat and video capabilities. And we’re working to give users the collaboration tools they need to work in a more agile way whether they’re in the office, at home or in a coffee shop.

How we’ve helped some of our banking clients during Coronavirus

We helped one of our large global banking customers enable remote and home working for their traders. By moving to soft switches for their trading activities, we helped them maintain their strict regulatory compliance by using cloud services for voice and media recording. We also integrated collaboration services to maintain interaction between the traders. Through the support we gave this influential banking customer, we not only enabled them to continue operating, but helped to keep markets fluid across the world.

Another of our banking customers needed their location-based agents and services to be virtualised – enabling access from any location. It was also critical for them to provide the security and governance around this to keep their customer data safe. The desire to move agents and branch staff to remote working had previously been in their long-term plan, but there had been hesitation due to the change management required. Once it had become business-critical to have this, their plans were accelerated. Our change management, agility and expertise made it possible for them to do this with circa 1,000 customers agents over just one weekend. 

Meeting your challenges head on

If you’re going to benefit from digital workplace transformation without placing extra pressure on already over-burdened IT departments, you need simpler solutions that deliver:

  • seamless migration to the cloud without disruption or risk
  • cutting-edge mobile tools and collaboration services
  • managed adoption for your users
  • reduced costs, improved productivity and rapid ROI
  • flexibility to grow with your needs and demonstrate long-term value.

We can help you meet all these challenges.

Flexibility and choice, without disruption and risk

Our approach to migration means that multiple technologies, legacy systems, and varied infrastructure can be easily managed to create a single, seamless, secure global structure that optimises operations and repays your investment quickly.

We can help you connect smoothly and securely to the collaboration applications, data and third-party cloud providers you need globally, including Microsoft and Cisco. And we’ve got a wealth of knowledge and expertise from defending our own network and corporate assets to help you secure yours.

It’s only as good as your people think it is

One of the major keys to success is actively helping your people make the most of collaboration and digital services. 

Our adoption management approach uses a persona methodology to make sure each member of your workforce gets the tools they need to be as productive as possible. And the support they need to use them effectively. It’s how we’ve previously helped large corporations deliver 70% adoption globally within three months. 

Another key component is keeping the user experience consistent across the entire platform, with a choice of vendors as part of your ecosystem. This means you can tailor the experience for each user. And by using standard APIs, you don’t have to waste time on integration.

Helping you create a compelling business case 

Unified comms should help you work smarter, not harder. And it should cut costs, not increase them. 

Our innovative commercial models mean you can manage your costs as users migrate to new platforms. A single global price per user allows you to predict costs and you can flex up and down on users, so you only pay for what you use. For CFOs, this means being able to realise and demonstrate return on investment more quickly, allowing a clearer view of the value and a stronger business case for future transformation. 

Driving more value through better user experience

In short, banks need to be able to flawlessly migrate to a digital workplace, get rapid uptake from their users and demonstrate the value of the investment as quickly as possible. These are all things we can help you with.

Wherever you are on the road to digital workplace transformation, we can get you there faster.

If you’d like to know more, please get in touch, we’re here to help.


1 Internet banking, by age group, Great Britain, 2019 (ONS)

2 Nationwide records surge in video calls during pandemic (Finextra, 9 July 2020)