19 PUB. 11 2021 ISSUE 3 and technology innovation are delivered at appropriate levels. Another operational challenge related to digitalization involves data integrity. Financial institutions must ensure that incrementally larger volumes of client data ingested into the system have proper validation, appropriate internal user rights, and necessary data security and privacy controls. While most organizations have managed this function well in the past, increased volumes of data are likely to tax existing resources. Specialized tools, including optical character recognition, may be beneficial to verify and catalog this information. Third-party partners can provide temporary or permanent solutions for both staffing or technology-related requirements and may also help to keep incremental costs in line. Two Strategic Opportunities Related to Digitalization Increasingly, consumer clients are applying enhanced budgeting and personal financial management (PFM) tools. To date, those tools have been reactive and static; but with effective collection and utilization of digital data, they can be dynamic and valuable. Ideally, financial institutions should offer timely and appropriate products such as PFMs without requiring customers to provide duplicate information that has been previously obtained or stored. Data warehousing tools are available to facilitate that convenience. Digital data can help deliver a positive customer experience only if it is available to quickly and accurately resolve client requests, inquiries, and disputes. Whether the customer interaction involves an automated attendant or live support, having a complete understanding of the client relationship and specific transactions is essential for a successful, frictionless outcome. Another significant digital opportunity involves small business relationships. Digitization of inbound and outbound information has created new ways for financial institutions to expand their role as trusted advisors. Most small-business owners have multiple responsibilities and employ knowledgeable third parties to assist them with tasks ranging from accounting to payroll and benefits. Financial institutions can provide small business clients with cost-effective and targeted information related to those functions to solidify and expand those relationships. Cash management solutions, for example, are no longer exclusively for larger clients; now can be made available efficiently to a broader client base. Online banking is a useful platform to deliver those meaningful tools to your small business clients, as a consolidated view on an ongoing basis would be an appreciated service by most small- business owners. In summary, interaction with clients in a digital environment can increase access to data across a broad range of applications; lower servicing costs; and free up employee time, allowing them to focus on higher valued tasks. A regular review of your financial institution’s existing digital tools and skillsets, as well as new opportunities that arise, is the best way to ensure healthy and long-term relationships with clients and to maintain competitive standing. w Robert Vandenbergh is a Strategic Advisor for Quinte Financial Technologies. He has nearly four decades of banking experience and previously served as Regional President and Chief Operating Off icer of a $6.5 billion bank holding company in the Northeast. Another operational challenge related to digitalization involves data integrity. Financial institutions must ensure that incrementally larger volumes of client data ingested into the system have proper validation, appropriate internal user rights, and necessary data security and privacy controls.