Sophisticated cyber threats and being ready for GDPR are major concerns for finance sector IT pros

Concerns about data and system security, and ensuring systems will be equipped for compliance with GPDR are among the key technology concerns for IT professionals in the finance sector, according to a new study from digital workplace provider Invotra.

Research, conducted with senior IT managers working across a variety of financial services organisations, found that 85 per cent of respondents consider data and systems security to be their biggest priority. Over half (52 per cent) also said that high profile cyber-attacks in the news prompt greater scrutiny on existing systems, and nearly a third (31 per cent) said they make everyone within the organisation fearful, hampering productivity. However, the research points towards a confidence in the sector, with 94 per cent of organisations considering themselves well-equipped to ward off cyber-attacks, yet a quarter still fear cyber threats becoming more sophisticated and harmful in 2018.
With improving digital services a core focus for the finance sector, respondents were also asked for their views on how well they believe their organisation is performing in this area. Almost a fifth (19 per cent) said they think digitisation objectives are an important focus, but that the finance sector is way behind others. 12 per cent said they had already achieved their digital transformation goals. 
Respondents were also asked about the barriers to transforming digital experiences for customers, and a third cited high costs, with a further quarter saying not enough time is dedicated to it in their business.  When it comes to driving transformation of broader technologies used within the organisation, over a third (36 per cent) said the length of time needed to migrate to new systems is a deterrent, followed by an internal resistance to change (31 per cent).
Invotra also sought to understand how IT professionals rate the current investment levels in digital transformation. 64 per cent of respondents believe the right amount has been invested in improving digital services, but almost a fifth (18 per cent) believe not enough spend has been dedicated to modernisation.
Respondents were also asked to rank the relevance of various emerging technologies, and cited Intelligent Process Automation as the most useful to their business, followed by Artificial Intelligence (35 per cent) and Predictive Modelling (33 per cent). Blockchain ranked lower in terms of perceived relevance (25 per cent) and was only currently used by a fifth of those surveyed within their organisation.
Fintan Galvin, chief executive officer at Invotra, says: “It’s clear from our study that finance technology professionals understand the need to drive change. But, they are charged with providing an accessible digital workplace with meaningful results in terms of improving people’s work lives, whilst facing sophisticated security threats. And, there is, of course, pressure to do more with less.
“Organisations need to wake up and realise that enhancing digital capabilities is about enabling people and not the sole responsibility of IT departments. This research highlights a need for widespread buy in, and understanding of digital workplace technologies across organisations, and for proper user training. Without this, transforming the internal and external customer experience, is going to prove impossible.”