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Bridging the Communications Gap

To provide seamless service across channels and borders, a consistent and uniform message must become the mantra of today's widely dispersed banks.

Implementation Hurdles

Ironically, communications problems can stall the deployment of communications solutions. A lack of communication within the organization between two vital groups of people - the technology professionals and those who oversee the various lines of business - can create an impasse. Sometimes technology implementation disasters are a case of the proverbial left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

"As you make major technology decisions, you must bring together the people from the business side and the tech side to talk about where the business model is going," says Avaya's Kleckner. "Unless you align the decision making, you won't have all the options you need to be successful."

Data security is another challenge that must be factored into any discourse on global banking and communications (see cover story, page 24). Banks' reputations are on the line constantly; they must perform every transaction correctly all the time while providing a safe haven for the information. Crossing borders simply adds to the quagmire of security issues facing financial institutions since privacy regulations differ from country to country.

"Banks face the same problems as any multinational company," explains Absa's van der Merwe. "But with banking, you're dealing with public money and that makes it even more important to have secure access. [Absa] is investing a substantial amount of money on single sign-on and strong authentication technologies. It goes without saying that this is important because we can lose trust."

"Whenever you look at financial institutions, you have to look at a higher level of security," adds VyStar's Conway.

Matt Maguar, VyStar's senior network engineer, concurs. "From a networking perspective, you have to deal with security issues on a 24/7 basis," he says. "You have to try to be proactive about what happens."

Global banking is an entirely different ball game for most banks. Some are picking it up faster than others. "It's dependent partly on the business mission," says Accenture's Kraack. "The ones who want to create a global focus and a single brand across the globe are definitely farther along."

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