The digital era has revolutionized the way we do business. From communication to payments processing to data processing, practically every element of a company’s day to day operations is now conducted, through one application or another, online.
Client engagement is a key part of this revolution, but in one industry more than any other, digital client engagement doesn’t yet seem to have made the impact it could.
In the financial services space, printed material still underpins meeting material, contract formalization and information storage, to name just three, and it’s quickly becoming the most inefficient aspect of today’s commercial world, and especially in industries such as insurance, investment and retail banking and wealth management.
There are two primary hurdles that companies in the financial services industry have struggled to overcome in their bid to bring client engagement into the today, and take it digital.
The first, tradition.
The behemoths in the space have been communicating with clients in environments such as meetings, or presentations, with a paper base, for hundreds of years. The newer entrants to the space see that this works, and emulate the established names. Non-digital client engagement has become and established norm, and in this industry more than any other, norms are resistant to change.
The second, industry regulation.
Things have to be done right in financial services. Paper trails need to be kept, accountability needs to be present, attribution and recognition needs to be readily available. Companies that are subject to strict regulation, and that have maintained compliance with said regulation for their entire operating history by way of non-digital client engagement, might be concerned that a shift in process could lead to a falling short of regulatory requirements.
These problems have just been solved.
A number of elements have come together in today’s world to provide combinatory function and allow companies in the financial services space to overcome the above discussed hurdles: mobile devices, cloud storage and robust, but cost-accessible, data security.
Even with the availability of these elements however, execution can be tough. There’s a framework that needs to be in place that ties mobile devices in with cloud storage, and relates this tie in to client engagement in the financial services space.
There is one company that brings them together in a neat, affordable package and has already helped a large number of big name entities do just that.
The company is Paperfin.
Paperfin was born out of its parent entity, MightyMeeting, with the remit of bringing financial services companies into the paperless world. Before we get in to what the company does, and how it helps said companies shift to digital client engagement, however, let’s briefly address the question:
Why Digital Client Engagement?
Here are some of the reasons financial services companies are taking advantage of what Paperfin offers:
- Cost savings – this one’s an obvious one. Printing costs such as paper, ink, equipment purchase/rental add up quickly. Additionally, the cost of storing paper documents that track client engagement can be sizeable.
- Time savings – this one plays into cost to a degree, but it’s wider scope than just financial. So much time is wasted printing documents, ensuring up to date distribution, filing and securely storing contracts, etc. Going digital through a system such as that which Paperfin offers removes all these time drains, bringing us nicely to our next point…
- Productivity improvements – without the burden of having to handle paper documents, employees are free to use their time adding value.
- Security improvements – contrary to common perception, paper document storage, and especially that which relates to something as important as client engagement, is incredibly insecure. Physical location banks of paper based data are vulnerable to theft, reproduction and, on the other side of the picture, unwanted destruction. A fire or similar can wipe out important paper documents in an instant. Cloud based storage, with the right security and backup framework in place, makes data and important documents extremely secure, and not vulnerable to unforeseen event destruction.
- Accountability – It’s very difficult to stay on top of who’s doing what, and what happened when, if all a business, or management team, has to go on is a literal paper trail. Digital documentation enables easy tracking of a workflow, for anyone who has the requisite access, any time.
- Attribution – this one plays into accountability, but from a different angle. With digital workflow and record, managers can track productivity on an individual level. Similarly, business can track engagement, efficiency and efficacy discrepancies between two or more workflows, and use the gathered information to improve operations. Paper-based workflow simply doesn’t offer this degree of insight.
These are just a few of the many ways a company can benefit from shifting to digital client engagement, but how does Paperfin fit into the picture?
The Paperfin method
Well, the company has developed its platform specifically for the financial services industry, based on feedback and service requests from MightyMeeting’s client base of over 100,000 registered presenters. A large portion of these presenters are finance industry professionals, and Paperfin’s solution is tailored to this base of requirements.
At core, Paperfin has developed an application based system that can be accessed on any device running iOS – iPads, iPhones, etc, and is designed to bring the entire client engagement process into a digital, paper free environment.
The application provides for cloud based access to a company’s bank of documentation, and provides functionality to manipulate, edit and distribute this entire document store remotely.
Here’s how it works.
- The meeting attendees download the Paperfin application onto their iOS devices ahead of the meeting (there’s a solution for attendees that might not have an iOS device, and we’ll get to this shortly).
- They log in to the application using designated access credentials, and once logged in, are able to view the latest iteration of all the relevant material for that meeting.
- In addition to read function access, the attendees are able to take private notes direct through the application, and at the end of the meeting, these notes are automatically uploaded to the application’s cloud storage facility, the Paperfin Vault.
- Post-completion, participants receive a secure link that affords them access to the meeting material, and their private notes, online.
And that’s it.
No rushing to print swathes of documents the night before a meeting for dissemination at the event. No problems with printing equipment delaying a meeting, or resulting in incomplete information access. No need for an administer to distribute updated information post-meeting. No need for attendees to make paper based notes that may be lost, or worse, fall into the wrong hands.
There’s more, of course.
Not only does the application allow for participants to access the relevant Paperfin Vault, but it also allows other (designated) users to access the meeting materials, and the workflow associated with the meeting, remotely. Think sales managers keeping track of pitch progress. Senior bankers staying on top of the meeting based developments of their juniors. All done automatically, and securely.
Additionally, and as touched on above, Paperfin has teamed up with Flying Connected to offer iPad rentals as part of its service, meaning a company without iPad access on site can still take advantage of the Paperfin system.
As discussed, Paperfin is born out of an already extremely well established player in the digital business space, MightyMeeting. The latter’s sizeable base of clients serves as testament to its effectiveness, security and benefits.
The team that underpins the company and its services is industry leading, with a wealth of experience in the space. Paperfin’s Founder, Dmitri Tcherevik, is also Founder and CEO of MightyMeeting. Before MightyMeeting, he served as the CTO at FatWire, the world’s largest private web experience management company, now a part of Oracle. Prior to FatWire he founded two succesfull tech startups, one of which he managed through to succesfull exit via M&A, and at both of which he raised succesfull investment rounds.
The bottom line
Companies are acting now to get a head start on the transition to digital client engagement, but there have – until recently – been hurdles that have stopped some doing so, even if they wish to, especially in highly regulated industries such as financial services.
Paperfin’s service allows financial services entities to take the plunge, and immediately start to reap the benefits of this sort of approach, at a price that will be very quickly offset by the savings associated with the shift.
Take a look at the company’s white paper for an in-depth case study of where Paperfin fits in to a financial services company’s day to day. (need’s a link to the white paper)
Read more about the company at its website here.
Find out what packages Paperfin offers, and pricing information for each, here.