How Financial Services businesses can use their existing Microsoft licenses to drive digital transformation in 2021

A rapidly changing landscape 

As the world begins to emerge from the disruption caused by Covid, the financial services industry is facing a number of key challenges. Two of the biggest are the rising expectations of customers, now well used to seamless digital experiences in all parts of their lives, and the increasing impact of technology on an industry that has traditionally been slow to embrace innovation. 

With banks and lenders coming to terms with post-pandemic life, many are seizing on the opportunity to take advantage of the capability of Microsoft Teams to connect their workforce to drive enhanced collaboration, productivity and customer outcomes. Particularly as much of this extra capability is already covered by existing licences and is effectively available, free of charge.

Embracing change

Over the years, there’s actually a very good reason why the financial services industry earned itself a reputation for being slow to adopt new technology. The industry has been so heavily governed by strict regulations on everything from the selling of products to the storage and use of customer data, that it used to be a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

However, the extraordinary way things have advanced in recent years have meant that embracing digital transformation is now a necessity. The fact that technology providers like Microsoft have taken extra steps to make their products meet the stringent regulatory and governance requirements of financial services organisations has further increased the pace of digital innovation in the industry.

Make the most of your licences

A key Microsoft offering in the financial industry is the Power Platform. This can play a central role in increasing the operational efficiency of financial services providers. It does so through the deployment of business process automation, applications, integrated reporting and even chatbots that can be used internally within Teams or as a customer-facing service.

The best thing about the Power Platform, other than the fact it natively integrates with your entire Microsoft stack and, in many cases, is included with your existing licenses, is that it is possible to quickly make tailored solutions to meet your own specific business needs.

Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services

In the past, financial services have been wedded to legacy business practices but now, thanks to the enhanced security offered by Microsoft and Azure, financial services are moving to the cloud with confidence. 

In today’s complex financial services industry, one size certainly does not fit all. Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services is flexible enough to enable you to design a bespoke solution that meets your organisation’s specific needs. 

You can benefit from an end-to-end solution designed for even the most complex control frameworks and regulatory requirements. By integrating existing and new capabilities in Microsoft 365, Azure, Dynamics 365, and Microsoft Power Platform, Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services is able to unlock unprecedented value for your business. 

A strong partner ecosystem further increases the value of the platform with additional solutions to address the most urgent challenges the financial services industry is facing today.

Building your business around data

The restrictions caused by the pandemic saw a big and sudden consumer move to digital banking. Research has shown that every day from 14 March to 14 April 2020, for example, 200,000 people in the UK downloaded their bank’s app for the first time. This growth in the number of customers managing their finances through different digital channels added to the data explosion across UK financial services organisations.

Data is rapidly growing in both quantity and importance for financial services providers. You can break down silos that are sure to be slowing your progress down, by unifying data across the organisation to make more commercial use of that data and building a more comprehensive view of customers. 

Meeting the new needs of the industry

These days, many financial companies are looking for a tool that keeps all their documents and files in a safe and secure environment. One like Microsoft 365, which offers the combined resources of Office 365 and Windows 10 and makes them accessible from Teams for unrivalled data governance.

How does this help? Well, features like automatic classification of data types allow businesses to automatically file any document 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 that work for you.

Banks can also take advantage of built-in Teams policies, which use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create extra processes around data storage. So, Teams can pick up on keywords and automatically file documents or monitor 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.

In fact, 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? Running through compliance checklists? Financial services providers now have a big opportunity to use technology to change this, while improving productivity and boosting staff morale at the same time.

A range of benefits

Microsoft Teams provides a holistic and unified set of productivity, collaboration and real-time communication capabilities. This can make your financial services business more productive and efficient. Better still, it can help deliver a more consistent experience for customers too. 

And, unlike many of the other big collaboration platforms, Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams provide strong enterprise security for the financial services industry. They will help you protect sensitive information and meet regulatory compliance obligations.

Expert support for your transformation

Looking ahead, it is vitally important that financial services organisations, like yours, manage the process of digitally transforming in the right way. If not, you risk ending up with a digitised transformation output that lacks the ability to achieve the potential efficiencies, cost savings and enhanced customer experience needed to progress. 

To ensure you get it right, you might want to enlist expert support to help you leverage AI to automate the slow and inefficient business processes that are holding you back.

As financial institutions embrace their digital transformation journeys, they need to consider how they can use AI and analytics to extract relevant information from the customer data they already hold. Beyond that, they also need to consider how to make full use of this data at every stage of the customer journey to deliver the best possible experiences.

If you’re not 100% sure what your current Microsoft licence supports, get in touch and we’ll give you all the guidance you need.

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