The Power of Print: How Financial Services Leverage Technology for Success

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Financial services is still a sector that relies heavily on print to ensure the smooth running of operations and correspondence with clients. This means it can be a profitable sector for resellers.

Financial services is one of the biggest sectors in the UK – in 2021, it contributed £173.6 billion to the economy, which was 8.3% of total economic output, according to government figures. 

In addition, the UK financial services sector was the fourth largest in the OECD in 2021 by its proportion of national economic output. Luxembourg’s financial service sector was the largest in the OECD, contributing 25% of the country’s economic output.

The sector is also a big employer in this country – in the first quarter of 2022, there were 1.08 million people employed in the sector – 3% of all jobs.

Financial services is also a sector that has historically relied on print to ensure it runs smoothly, whether printing documents, or scanning them to save digitally and distribute to relevant people. While this is still largely true, it is changing.

“Like all sectors, financial services is grappling with the challenge of successfully implementing hybrid working against the backdrop of the BYOD model,” says Stuart Brookes, head of channel and alliances – EMEA at PaperCut. “Part of that challenge is making BYOD-print and remote-print as easy to use, secure and as sustainable as it is in the office, whether staff are using desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone devices.”

Rowan Jeffreys-Hoar, director Partner Channel at Ricoh UK, adds that as the pace of digital transformation rapidly evolves and hybrid working becomes a permanent feature for businesses, organisations’ day-to-day needs are shifting. “This is driving new demands in workspace capabilities, and the way organisations are using their print infrastructure,” he says. 

“In light of this, businesses must remain agile, in terms of contract flexibility and responding to these shifting demands of customers, in relation to sustainability, automation, document management storage and cybersecurity.”

MPS demand

Managed print services (MPS) continue to be popular in the financial services sector for managing their print infrastructure. “This is particularly as retail banks still face an increased demand for print to support their clients,” says Rowan. “When deciding on a contract, organisations are looking for trusted partners that can deliver multiple solutions and services, from simplifying procurement to document workflow management. Choosing one vendor that can offer a wide suite of services can limit pressure on a business’s resources, saving time and costs overall.” 

Stuart adds that the financial services sector also demands water-tight SLAs that deliver against their convenience and cost-saving promises. “When they deliver on them an MPS is a great asset to many businesses,” he says. 

“In line with that, we’re seeing how MPS has evolved beyond ‘consumables and maintenance’; a modern MPS agreement brings proactive management of the MFD fleet, while ‘right-sizing’ the MFD estate. It should of course also bring continuous improvements to print and document processes and embrace business process transformation. 

“Fundamentally, financial services organisations assess the cost benefits of an MPS, but they also value the convenience of the proactive maintenance they offer; the financial services sector is still a paper-intensive sector, so device downtime really impacts productivity and can impact customer service levels, too.”

Effective solutions

Trevor Maloney, product marketing manager at Kyocera Document Solutions UK, adds that financial services companies are looking for four main criteria in their solutions. “Tools that assist compliance with industry regulations and provide audit trails for document flows, cloud-based printing solutions that allow employees to print securely from anywhere, comprehensive document management systems for digitising and processing large volumes of paper documents and services and contracts that offer carbon neutrality and sustainability programs,” he says.

In terms of hardware, Stuart says that MFPs with advanced scanning solutions are popular with financial services organisations. “They help them create digital document workflows from hard copies of documents,” he says. 

“From a software perspective, we’re seeing solid demand for solutions that help reduce print volumes and provide detailed insights into print dynamics, like who is printing what and when. This granular information makes it easier to control print as well as to cross-charge different departments for print. Finally, solutions that make cloud-based print easy and secure are increasingly popular too as they support hybrid workforces.”

Rowan adds that Ricoh’s partner, Kofax Controlsuite, which is a part of Ricoh’s portfolio of integrated digital services, is also a popular and effective solution for financial services companies. “The additional scanning functionality and mobile print modules have a successful track record of supporting client initiatives through advanced capture and print capabilities that digitally transform workflows and as a result drive efficiency and productivity whilst enabling security,” he says.

Sustainability

A key consideration for financial services companies is sustainability. As in many other sectors, the environmental impact of the print fleet is under scrutiny and businesses are under increasing pressure to deliver on ESG targets and reduce their carbon footprint. “Sustainability is a crucial topic for all industries, and it is no different for the financial sector,” says Rowan.

“For resellers, the demand goes beyond providing sustainable products and services, extending to detailed reporting that can help businesses assess their current progress and develop internal strategies. 

“The right infrastructure can help businesses to reduce resource and energy consumption, which, as a result, reduces carbon footprint and costs. For example, efficient scanning and secure uploads enable less paper consumption and physical storage.”

Trevor agrees that sustainability has become an increasingly important consideration. “It’s essential for resellers to stay informed about the latest sustainable technologies and practices in the printing and document management industry to offer the most relevant solutions,” he says. 

“As this becomes a more significant consideration for financial services, resellers that embrace and promote eco-friendly solutions are likely to be more competitive and align better with their customers’ values and goals. These include: MPS solutions that help reduce paper waste, optimise printing resources and minimise energy consumption; printers and related equipment that are energy efficient and offering financial institutions the chance to transition to digital processes, reducing the need for physical printing and paper usage.”

Future

The financial services sector’s print needs are likely to continue to evolve as the industry adapts to the realities of hybrid working and digital transformation, Trevor says. “Print technology providers are developing solutions tailored to hybrid work environments, allowing for seamless printing from office and remote locations.

“The finance sector will accelerate its efforts to digitise documents and workflows and the industry will shift further towards paperless transactions and electronic signatures, reducing the reliance on printed contracts and forms.

“Compliance with industry regulations and security standards will remain a top priority, influencing printing and document management strategies.”

Stuart adds that while there will always be a need for print in this sector, print has to adapt to accommodate the way that the sector is changing without compromising security or ease of use. “Hybrid working is now an established model across many industries. 

“The print security challenge for financial services is compounded because of the sensitivity of the data and information it holds. Data leaks – whether electronic or physical – carry serious consequences for the sector. That’s why it is imperative that that print is flexible and robust enough to accommodate the specific needs of the hybrid model. The hybrid model should also see print volumes fall in office locations which, as well as saving costs and reducing environmental footprint, should put less wear and tear on print devices, prolonging their working life.”

Rowan adds that data protection and cybersecurity will become an increasingly vital component for businesses across all industries. “However, remaining vigilant and investing in robust and up-to-date cybersecurity solutions will help protect businesses against complex and ever-evolving cyberattacks,” he says.

In addition, automation across print and business processes has the potential to transform how business is done – streamlining manual processes, giving employees time back for creative and strategic tasks, to reducing costs and carbon emissions. 

“As workstyles evolve, digitalisation, agility and teamwork are essential for your organisation to remain competitive,” says Rowan. “Now that hybrid working is firmly here to stay, the transition to cloud technology is the next step in further supporting employees from remote and office locations.

“Through implementing cloud software solutions, businesses can enhance the capabilities of their print devices and securely connect mobile devices to carry out tasks from phones and tablets, thereby boosting productivity and remote collaboration.

“As the use of emerging technologies, like AI, becomes increasingly prevalent in day-to-day business functions, organisations must protect sensitive data while enabling flexible work styles.”