Businesses are increasingly looking to tablet devices as a means of allowing more flexible workplace arrangements and boosting productivity. Financial institutions in particular are embracing ICT in the form of FinTech*. With this increasing reliance on ICT in the industry, it is important that there is a commensurate improvement in data security.
* FinTech (Finance + Technology) is a campaign to promote innovation in the financial services industry through the use of smart devices and Big Data.
This article describes how Musashino Bank introduced Fujitsu tablet devices and security systems in a move designed to bring improved productivity and efficiency by allowing employees greater flexibility in the way they work.
In an increasingly competitive environment, work style innovation is key to survival
Musashino Bank is the only regional bank based in Saitama prefecture. The bank's philosophy is very much about being part of the local community and putting the customer first. With the completion of the central freeway network in the Tokyo metropolitan region, the main freeways now connect directly to Saitama without passing through central Tokyo. This has significantly improved logistical efficiency, which in turn is attracting a variety of industries to the region.
In 2012, in a climate of increasing competition in the finance industry, Musashino Bank marked its 60th anniversary by releasing its Musashino Value-making Plan (or MVP), its long-term vision to become Saitama's No. 1 bank by generating new forms of value in the prefecture. The MVP included a three-year medium-term business plan to boost sales through efficiency improvements and introduce ICT-driven work style innovation.
“Fujitsu worked closely with us in providing tablets for our sales teams and upgrading our security protocols to accommodate the changes," says Musashino Bank Managing Director Kazumasa Nagahori. "The market here in Saitama is highly competitive, so we wanted to differentiate ourselves from other banks with respect to both our staff and our branches.”
Fujitsu developed a tailored solution for Musashino Bank based on the key driver of work style innovation, using tablets to help sales teams to be more efficient and effective, coupled with improved security measures.
Two-in-one large-screen tablet allows closer interaction with clients, while closed networks provide maximum security
Musashino Bank wanted to improve work efficiency and help sales teams to be more effective by introducing work style innovation. The Bank decided to adopt large 13.3-inch tablet devices for use both at its head office, where many meetings are held, and for sales teams, who frequently meet with clients. The device can be used as a desktop computer in the office, or as a tablet while outside.
For the sales teams, the large screen is easy to see in any environment, and is ideal for demonstrating products and services to clients. The tablet provides access to essentially the same information as any other computer at head office, which means that sales teams can respond immediately to client queries, without having to return to the office first.
According to Nagahori, the sales teams are delighted with the new tablets, “mainly because they can show a client the current transaction status or immediately produce documents in response to a query--in other words, they can provide them with an on-the-spot response. And the clients appreciate the larger screen, which makes it easier to see what new products are like.”
But given that the tablets serve as fully-fledged computers in the office, taking them out of the office presents a significant risk in terms of data security and the potential for hacking, not to mention what would happen if a tablet were accidentally lost. To mitigate this risk, Fujitsu has developed a closed network service** that provides an additional layer of security.
**A secure communication environment providing fast mobile access via a closed network rather than over the internet, thus stopping hackers.
With these tablets, the sales team can now conclude a contract with the client right there and then, which is an altogether faster and more efficient working style. In the event that a tablet device is lost or stolen, its network connection can be disabled immediately.
Another advantage of the tablet devices is that they help to reduce overall paper usage. Meetings that previously required 200 or 300 pages of documents can now be conducted in a virtually paperless way. There is also a commensurate saving in the time taken to laboriously print out documents beforehand and dispose of them afterwards. By saving paper, money and time, the new tablets are delivering instant efficiency improvements for Musashino Bank.
The tablet rollout has reached about 900 units so far, and there are plans to increase this number further in line with growth in sales teams. Admin staff at head office will also steadily migrate to using tablets.
Security Workflow provides data protection in thin client environment with tablets used outside the office
In addition to efficiency and efficacy improvements through the tablet rollout, security has been enhanced to prevent hacking and data breaches. This builds upon previous security measures undertaken by Musashino Bank, including the deployment of a thin client environmentsup3.
3 A secure environment where documents are created on and accessed from a central server and user data does not reside on computers or devices.
Previously, employees were required to submit a paper application to take any device or printed document offsite, and applications were only approved where absolutely necessary. Needless to say, this system was inefficient and time-consuming.
According to Assistant Director Hiroya Kitamori, there was a pressing need to review security procedures for taking sensitive information offsite. Fujitsu helped Musashino Bank set up a Security Workflow system for monitoring and regulating the movement of data into and out of 2,300 computers and other devices at 105 physical locations.
The Security Workflow is a structured framework that encompasses a number of elements: restrictions on the use of external media; watermarks on printed documents; automatic data encryption; and a streamlined workflow for applications to take sensitive information offsite.
The imposition of controls on the unauthorized removal of information in a thin client environment by Musashino Bank represents a first in the regional banking sector.
“It's much better than the old system, where you had to fill in a paper-based application and get it approved, not to mention managing all those applications,” explains Kitamori. “Security Workflow has streamlined the application and approval procedure while adding an extra layer of security. So we've been able to upgrade our security levels without changing the procedures itself, and this has contributed to our efforts to introduce work style innovation.”
Ongoing reforms help to make Musashino “the bank of first choice”
The banking sector is diversifying from dealing in traditional deposits and loans to other financial products such as investment trusts and insurance. During investment discussions, the tablets give sales teams instant access to a range of information sources, as well as providing a means of presenting information to clients in visual form. The additional security that accompanies the tablets is an extension of the service provided to clients.
“In the near future,” explains Kitamori, “if all processes that are normally conducted here at the office can be transferred onto tablets, this allows us more opportunities to meet face-to-face with our clients, which is a good thing because it makes us, and indeed the whole banking sector, into a much more familiar and approachable presence.”
The future of banking is predicated on tablets and the Security Workflow in conjunction with ongoing refinements and modifications and the development of new and attractive services.
Fujitsu is committed to using the power of rapidly evolving ICT technology to assist companies in introducing work style innovation that is ultimately designed to boost customer satisfaction and peace of mind.