The nature of work is definitely changing because of the web and hyperlinked thinking. There is data everywhere, and it is connected to other data in an enormous linked network. The challenge that came to mind for me in the banking industry is the way in which filtering and interacting has both positive and negative connotations.
First, the positive. Weinbergertalks about how the web eliminates the need for data providers to filter out data and prioritize it for us. Instead, we can take the entire volume of data about a particular topic and filter it down to what is usable for us. The challenge here is to have the time and expertise to accomplish the filtering appropriately. As bankers, this gives us the opportunity to provide a filtering service and be content/service experts for banking. We can be trusted advisors and recommend appropriate products and services, and we can give good advice about banking. If a consumer wants to do his or her own research, the information is out there waiting to be found. However, if a customer wants to save time and energy and just wants answers, a content expert (banker, in this case) can save time and provide expertise.
As for the positive side of interacting, as bankers we have an opportunity to connect with customers and community like never before. We can reach clients in numerous ways on a variety of platforms. Customers can find answers in any format any time of day or night. They can find experts who can provide those answers anytime, and many of these interactions have the potential to aid relationship building over time if the support is ongoing and of good quality. Interacting also helps us as bankers get to know customers better, which in turn helps us provide the right products and services. Building relationships develops trust, which in turn often leads to loyal customers. In these ways the changing nature of work through filtering and interacting is a positive development for banking.
However, there are downsides to filtering and interacting in the banking industry. One significant negative is the prevalence in fraud in the banking industry. Every day, fraudsters are attempting to hack or cajole their way into the vaults—literal or virtual—of banks and their customers. Filtering in this sense is more akin to weeding out the problematic contacts and interactions to protect bank and customer assets. There are so many ways would-be fraudsters attempt to steal from banks and their customers. They send fraudulent emails, hack online banking, conduct phishing attempts, plant viruses, use phone and internet to impersonate real customers, etc, etc. In all these cases, it is up to the bank employee—and sometimes the customer—to filter out the good from the bad and avoid the pain of fraud. The volume of data and fraud attempts on banks, bank employees, and customers is astronomical, and this makes the filtering that much more critical.
The other negative related to interacting—other than fraud—is related to privacy concerns. Banks are held to the highest standard as it relates to privacy of information and customer data. In this interconnected world, the identity and identifying information of all of our customers is completely confidential. The connectedness makes privacy very difficult, and it is even more difficult to find a balance between interacting with customers in various formats, and protecting their privacy throughout. While relationship-building is a huge part of community banking, the practice of sharing and communicating publicly online makes it difficult to maintain the privacy required by banking law. Therefore, it makes the connections with customers more difficult, and interacting does not mean the same in banking as it might mean in other industries where privacy is not such a major factor.
So, in other words, the nature of work is definitely changing, and banking is no different. But, because of the standards and fraud risks in banking, it makes navigating the waters of fraud and privacy that much more critical and difficult.