21 November 2019
How SD-WAN Can Improve the Finance Customer Experience
Author: Paul Vidic, Director, Certes Networks
The customer experience (CX) is the interaction between an organization and the customer. It encompasses all points of customer/company contact, including mobile apps, social media, phone calls, text, the point-of-purchase, marketing and support. The CX is extremely important to all companies looking to retain their competitive advantage.
In this current digital age where customers expect businesses to be available and contactable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on their chosen platform, the CX is now more important than ever. In the finance industry, customers now need to be able to access their banks at any time of day, on any device, in order to look through existing accounts, set up new ones, solve any problems with logging in or move large sums on money. Customers want full product and service information and the ability to start and cancel transactions of any size, with complete support, all without delay.
However, the highly sensitive nature of financial data exposes institutions to risk. Numerous high profile data breaches have demonstrated what can go wrong when data is not sufficiently protected – from Tesco Bank in the UK and Equifax and Capital One in the US – all are a testament to this. So, how can financial services organizations effectively address these seemingly conflicting requirements of meeting today’s customer experience expectations and ensuring data security?
Bringing back the branch experience
In large part, the challenge the industry faces is due to increasingly disaggregated network systems, such as third party systems with many remote sites and branches with which to communicate. However, despite many banks making decisions to close branches in certain areas, Deloitte’s 2019 digital consumer survey states that bank branches shouldn’t be viewed as standalone services, but instead banks should “fully and seamlessly integrate branches into the bank’s overall digital transformation strategy.”
Software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) are technology for configuring and implementing an enterprise WAN – based on software-defined networking (SDN) – to effectively route traffic to remote locations such as branch offices, which is ideal for banks and financial services organizations. As SD-WAN matures, these organizations are moving away from traditional branch routers to offer consolidated network functionality on a single device. This enables banks to prioritize bandwidth and centralized management capabilities for remote WAN sites, without compromising performance or the experience that can be delivered to their customers.
SD-WAN may seem like a costly move for banks and financial institutions, but the benefits for both the customer, and the bank itself, far outweigh the expense. Additionally, hardware improvements have also enabled software-based routing to drive better performance of standard server platforms. Software-based routing provides advantages in terms of flexibility, as it can be implemented anywhere and combined with other WAN functions for a complete package. This means that in an SD-WAN environment, applications – such as the website and online chat – are able to run more effectively, which will undoubtedly improve the customer experience.
For banks and financial services organizations it is entirely possible to meet customer expectations, compete in the new digital environment and at the same time keep their data secure. So, as banks consider moving to an SD-WAN environment to meet customer demands, the need for a data security solution that is simple, agile and that can interoperate within their current network architecture will ensure continued performance and a rich banking experience for customers.
With a security solution that is network agnostic, financial services organizations can benefit from the agility of SD-WAN for an improved CX and a scalable cyber security solution that can easily integrate into a software-defined network.