10 ways Microsoft Teams enables hybrid working in financial services organisations

30 August 2021

Looking for a good reason to introduce Microsoft Teams into your financial services organisation? How about ten good reasons that will, together, lead to new efficiencies and enhanced productivity within your business?

This blog looks at the many ways this increasingly popular platform can benefit your organisation as the world moves towards a hybrid working model. As you well know, one of the biggest barriers to hybrid working in financial services organisations centres around compliance and security issues, so that’s a good place to start.

1) Helping you stay compliant

To be FCA compliant, organisations have to consider the security of information shared over digital channels. The good news is, deploy Microsoft Teams in the right way and you will be able to adopt hybrid working while still remaining FCA compliant. Better still, Teams has a number of policies that can help you with important areas of compliance.

2) Save time with Microsoft 365 

Microsoft Teams is part of Microsoft 365 which keeps all your documents and files in a safe and secure environment. Microsoft 365 offers the combined resources of Office 365 and Windows 10 and makes them accessible from Teams for unrivalled data governance. 

Useful features, like automatic classification of data types, allow businesses to automatically file documents uploaded to Teams under any one of 80 different classifications. As a result, your people will be spending less time filing documents as the platform does all that work for you.

3) Use Artificial Intelligence to boost productivity

Forward-thinking banks can take advantage of built-in Teams policies, which use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create extra processes around data storage. So, how does this work? Teams picks up on keywords and automatically files documents or monitors the data kept in certain folders to ensure it’s safe, secure and compliant. 

Teams also helps financial services providers meet security requirements through multi-factor authentication, Azure information protection and Microsoft Secure Score. 

Recent Microsoft research reveals that up to 80% of financial services employees’ time is spent on a wide variety of repetitive, manual tasks: uploading documents to be reviewed; checking customer documents and running through compliance checklists. Financial services providers now have a big opportunity to use technology to change all this, while improving productivity and boosting staff morale at the same time.

4) Enable more efficient hybrid working with Teams

Microsoft Teams was the saviour of many a financial services organisation, during the long months of lockdown, for enabling effective and productive remote working. That capability has now been enhanced with new features as most businesses move towards a hybrid working model. 

With Microsoft Teams you can organise interactive and engaging meetings with screen sharing and integrating apps right in the meeting environment. You can also benefit from new features such as Virtual Breakout Rooms and Teams Lists, which can be used for all kinds of purposes such as tracking issues, assets, contacts and inventories. The fact that Lists is alert-driven enables you to easily keep track of changes and updates.

What makes Microsoft Teams a platform so suitable for any type of organisation is its capability to seamlessly integrate other apps into its environment. This stimulates productivity and helps personalise the app for each organisation. 

For example, Microsoft themselves have transformed their inside sales team using Microsoft Power Platform—Power Automate, Power BI, and Power Apps—to automate order-to-cash. The result is faster processes and increased efficiency.

5) Improve the communication capabilities of your workforce

Microsoft Teams allows your employees to stay connected and communicate easily through various communication channels, including chat, channels, calls, and meetings.

There’s no need to send an email to colleagues to get a quick reply. All you have to do is send a message in a one-on-one or a group chat for a private discussion. Or you could create a post in a channel and mention the right group of people.

Tagging and setting message priority will make sure your post will reach the individuals you need it to. It will also inform them about the importance of your message.

6) Secure collaboration both internally and externally

It’s all very well benefitting from improved communication capabilities, but in financial services organisations, all that communication needs to be secure. Microsoft Teams allows your users to collaborate efficiently and securely with people both inside and outside your organisation.

You can customise external and guest permissions in the Microsoft Teams admin centre. By doing so you will protect your organisation from accidental data leaks without hindering communication with people outside your company.

Teams also enables you to have secure conversations on confidential matters with specific team members using private channels. There’s no need to create a separate team for discussing a sensitive topic concerning a project your whole team is working on. You can also invite guest users to private channels.

Recently, Microsoft announced Microsoft Teams Connect which will be generally available later in 2021. It helps organisations collaborate seamlessly with customers, partners, suppliers or other external parties through shared channels. With shared channels, users can add individuals to a single channel rather than to an entire team.

7) Use Information Barriers and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for added security

Another Teams feature that will bolster security is Information Barriers which you can use to prevent specified groups of people from communicating with one another. A barrier can be applied, for example, to prevent the accounting team from sharing a client’s financial information with your customer support people.

DLP will also protect sensitive information in both messages and documents. This capability allows you to define policies that prevent people from sharing sensitive information in a Microsoft Teams channel, including private channels and chat sessions. 

8) Minimise the possibility of information leaks with archiving 

Archiving inactive teams prevent users from accessing outdated or sensitive information and therefore minimises the possibility of damaging information leaks. It’s easy to set up expiration policies in the Azure AD admin centre to organise this.

9) Track all user activity with Audit Log

Occasionally, you may need to resolve an issue by finding out what really happened, and when exactly. You can track any user activity in Microsoft Teams with audit logging. So, if you need to discover if a particular user viewed a specific document, then all you have to do is search the unified audit log in the Microsoft 365 compliance centre to view user and administrator activity.

10) Use Cloud app security to control usage

For your organisation’s data safety, you can regulate what cloud services are kept available for your users in the admin centre. This way, you can prevent shadow IT and make sure your confidential data is not stored in other apps.

Digital transformation for financial services organisations 

Teams could do so much for your business but it’s vital that financial services organisations, like yours, manage the process of digitally transforming in the right way. That’s why you might want to enlist expert support to help you introduce the benefits of Microsoft Teams to your organisation. Please get in touch and, as a Microsoft Gold partner, we can give you all the guidance you need to get things right the first time.

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