Mitel Expert Spotlight: Sarah Watson on Security, Problem-Solving, and UC Integration in Financial Services, Part Two

4 min read

Sharushka Odayan | December 06, 2023

The financial services sector is a bedrock of economies and everyday life, facilitating transactions, managing assets, and propelling growth. Behind the wall of numbers and transactions lies a dynamic world that demands a keen understanding of markets and the ability to anticipate and adapt to change.

Mitel expert Sarah Watson brings three decades of experience in helping customers navigate digital transformation and technological disruptions, driving them to success.

Part 1 dissected the benefits of innovation balanced with compliance standards. Part 2 will uncover Sarah's thoughts on Mitel's financial services offerings and the industry's direction.

Q: We’ve discussed how security is critical in the Financial Services industry; can you expand on how Mitel workflows and integrations can help?

If you consider some of the systems a client has in place, let’s say they use a voice biometrics tool. They also want multi-factor authentication or use specific banking software like Jack Henry or Fiserv. The complexity becomes evident when they want to pull information from other databases for fraud detection and behavioral analytics. Picture sitting with a client, and you notice six to eight systems running simultaneously along the bottom of their workspace. Maybe they’re sending a DocuSign or an e-notary, but each requires a manual input. We aim to streamline this process because manufacturers that integrate seamlessly make clients’ outcomes more powerful.

Here's an example: I start by being able to come in and authenticate that I am who I say I am. If there’s a 50% pass rate, we implement multi-factor authentication. The system checks my details against Jack Henry, providing automated responses as needed. Then, once the agent, who doesn’t necessarily have to be a contact center agent (they could be a loan officer or someone else), picks up the call, they will have access to relevant and meaningful information about me. This includes my current relationship with the bank, recent account activities, what tools I’m using, how I like to communicate with you, and even my FICO score. These types of details might change the nature of that conversation and save two to three minutes per call when pulled into a single workflow on average.

The agent doesn't need to worry about identity verification because technology takes care of that. Instead, they can focus on the specifics of the conversation. For instance, they can quickly identify any unusual activity using fraud detection or intent tools running in the background and take immediate action, all without manual intervention. This approach not only improves the customers' experience but also enhances security. Customers who use organizations like banks benefit from these efficient workflows, providing them peace of mind. These are the common themes we often encounter throughout a client's journey.

Q: What is your problem-solving approach, and what strategies do you use to create innovative solutions?

My approach is customer-centric. It is a matter of taking an inventory and learning from them, from different aspects of their organization, their stakeholders, who they say they are, and who their customers say they are, and trying to map that together with the technology they have already invested in. We go through a formalized process, but the key is still the discovery and design workshops, learning about what they are trying to accomplish financially from a line of business but architecturally, what works for them, and where we can fit where there are gaps.

Discovering the needs of our clients goes beyond simply counting seats or supervisors. It requires delving into their unique DNA and brand challenges to ensure they stay competitive in their industry. This process is both challenging and rewarding as we solve problems together. By having a client willing to work with us on a deeper level, we can differentiate their needs and create a tailored solution. We aim to build a close-knit community of stakeholders who provide insight into areas like marketing and innovation. This collaborative effort allows us to fully understand the client's vision and any nuances of their business and deliver the best possible experience that aligns with their requirements.

It's important to emphasize that we firmly believe there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Each client has a unique set of challenges and aspirations. Thus, we take great care to appreciate and respect their individuality. This approach enables us to guide them toward audit-friendliness, compliance, and adaptability to the ever-changing market landscape. They ultimately ensure that ‘buzzwords’ don’t dilute what the client is trying to accomplish.

Q: What do you think will be a significant focus for the financial services industry in the future?

I believe there will be more focus on security. I think that the days of counting the number of palm trees or motorcycles are gone. When we talk about multimodal biometrics, it will not just be enough to authenticate me via my voice. It will be my voice combined with my facial print, maybe with my fingerprint or age identification. Finding ways to detect, respond, and recover from fraud, understand more efficiently and effectively where that call is coming from, and authenticate on the most pedestrian level of technology and the more sophisticated. This, combined with continued customer experience and integration, will be a big topic.

Q: How is Mitel’s approach different from other vendors?

Mitel continues to enhance its integration partnerships based on clients’ feedback and specific needs. We continually work toward seamlessly bringing together the elements they require. It is staggering to see the number of systems the client must contend with to pull something together into a concise workflow. It raises why these systems don’t naturally align and cooperate. Our approach is geared toward offering complete and holistic solutions. The good thing is that these solutions are built on REST APIs or operate in a web services environment, allowing us to integrate them with our partners effectively. It is never just about Mitel; it is about that community of manufacturers working together for a bigger goal — to enhance the customer’s experience and their clients’ experience. That is as important as the ability to earn and maintain trust.

In today’s competitive landscape, the choice often comes down to whether you want to be a strategic partner or just another commodity vendor. Many commodity vendors are out there, offering standard off-the-shelf solutions. What sets Mitel apart, which struck me as particularly inspiring, is our commitment to supporting clients when they embark on significant technological transformations. When clients consider making substantial overhauls to their business, they must consider timing. When is the right moment to take that leap, three years or five years from now? What steps are needed to get there as effectively and efficiently as possible? Mitel solutions carries a 10-year support guarantee with our Mitel Solution Alliance partners. These guarantees are renewed annually, ensuring that we are accountable for what we deliver on day one and for ongoing support in the long term. We help organizations with migration strategies and implementations each step of the way based on their timing, budget, and resources.

Mitel's approach goes beyond just being Mitel – it's about empowering connections and making our clients' ecosystems stronger. This unique offering and strategy make Mitel an exciting partner, and I find immense satisfaction in showcasing where we're headed. It's a testament to our commitment to delivering technology solutions and helping our clients achieve their goals.

Q: What do you find most fulfilling about working at Mitel, and what valuable lessons have you learned?

One of the things that I especially love about Mitel is its strong commitment to social responsibility since its inception. Combining being a green company and being an open standard software-based solution opens limitless possibilities. I have the trust of leadership and my partners to pull integrations together. Mitel fosters an environment where there is always a path forward and encourages innovative thinking among its staff.

At Mitel, the focus is on exploring possibilities. The freedom, trust, innovative systems, open standards, and agile development create a dynamic and encouraging atmosphere. It is a powerhouse of like-minded people who share the same mantra of how we will make a difference —  which has been my tagline. The excitement lies in asking if something can be done and exploring how we can make it happen — which makes Mitel genuinely remarkable.

Sharushka OdayanContent Strategist, Mitel

Sharushka Odayan brings to Mitel a decade of experience using technology dynamics and trends to shape vertical-specific content. She lives in Dallas and has spent the majority of her career in the telecom industry in areas including IoT, cybersecurity and mobility.

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