Financial Services Blog

From the online management of work to an on-demand labor force, technology advancements are driving change across the financial services industry.

The results of our Technology Vision 2017 survey indicate that two distinct but converging technology advancements are driving the digital transformation of labor: the online management of work and the on-demand labor force.

Management of work is going online

 For example, here are three ways that online work management is changing how financial services companies operate:

  • Platform solutions enable planning, management and remote execution of work.
  • Remote and mobile workers are becoming a larger part of the workforce.
  • Digital communication and collaboration models make remote work more effective.

Companies of all sizes are adopting new technologies, with many abandoning traditional tools like email and using next-generation digital tools like Slack and Google Hangouts. Complementing these collaborative tools, freelance marketplace providers have built online work management features into their services and created dedicated enterprise offerings. These features give companies powerful new capabilities in managing work online throughout the project lifecycle.

Fueling a wave of innovation, $7 billion has been invested into a broad range of human resources (HR) technology startups during the past five years, while the incumbent vendors—namely Oracle, SAP SuccessFactors and Workday—are all vying for leadership positions in the overall human capital market. And HR technology startups abound across numerous categories, such as online benefits (Zenefits), operations (OneSource Virtual) and payroll (Gusto). The most prominent and promising area is HR data analytics to predict business performance—powered with AI technology.

Collaborative platforms fuel on-demand enterprises

Online tools such as Slack, GitHub, Box, Microsoft Yammer and Google Hangouts orchestrate communication for newly virtualized and distributed workplace environments. Supporting more than 60,000 teams, Slack has three million daily users, a rapid uptake from 100,000 in 2014.

Moving beyond sticky notes on local, physical white boards, tools like Mural also provide an online and remote collaborative design environment—a digital and virtualized way to organize and share thoughts, and enable rapid, agile design and meeting innovation. Large enterprises, including Accenture, are using Mural for collaborative brainstorming and design thinking.

Labor is going on-demand

But the digital management of work, while critical, is only half of the story: platform technologies are also delivering the capabilities that businesses need to connect their labor requirements with an on-demand supply of skilled workers.

The leading global freelance platform Upwork is just one of many examples of such platforms, where companies can complement their long-term traditional workforce with the borrowed skills and experience of external workers. With three million jobs posted annually, Upwork reports more than $1 billion in freelancer earnings per year through matchmaking transactions via five million customers and 12 million registered freelance users. The leading Chinese firm Zhubajie boasts similar annual numbers, reflecting the global nature of on-demand growth.

Numerous other platforms focus on specific vertical industries, types of work or categories of freelancers. Catalant (formerly known as HourlyNerd) boasts a supply of more than 30,000 MBA-type consultant freelancers, and the company continues to expand their focus on the needs of the large enterprise, including projects with GE Digital and Pfizer.

These matchmaking platforms will be the railroad tracks of the digital era—eliminating traditional barriers, transparently connecting labor and transforming the business world, including financial services, through new economic structures.

In my next post I’ll explore the trend of redefining relationships and the commitments financial services companies will need to make if they want to create long-term loyalty among their employees and customers. 

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