Microsoft Cloud aims to power financial services to innovate faster

Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services aims to enable cloud capabilities for the financial industry to innovate and grow faster to meet customer and employee needs.
8 October 2021

The need to perfect digital experiences for both customers and employees today is becoming a prerogative for most organizations. Today, remote working employees want to be able to work seamlessly at home while customers insist on having the best services available to them when using applications.

To ensure this, businesses are leveraging on more SaaS applications and cloud services to cater to both customer and employee needs. While most industries may be able to use the cloud with minimal concerns, financial services still have many regulatory requirements they need to look at to implement a cloud strategy.

While banks have been using private cloud for some workloads, public cloud is a different scenario for them. A 2020 Frost & Sullivan Global Cloud User Survey showed that the multi-cloud adoption has skyrocketed among financial firms in the past year, up nearly 70%. For hybrid cloud adoption, it is already higher among financial firms than in other industries. In response to the pandemic, financial firms are accelerating their cloud journeys, knitting together disparate IT environments (on-premises, edge, and multi-cloud) as a foundation for digitalization.

With more possibilities on the cloud for financial services, Microsoft has announced that the Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services will be generally available beginning November 1st this year.

The industry-specific cloud introduces new capabilities that unlock the power of the Microsoft Cloud to help innovate for responsible and sustainable growth. With a foundation of privacy, security, and regulatory compliance across Microsoft and its partner ecosystem, Microsoft Cloud is built on an industry data model that enables interoperability and innovation. Microsoft is also releasing new capabilities to help enable retail banks to enhance customer and employee experiences as well as drive loyalty and customer growth.

(Photo by Saeed KHAN / AFP)

Announcing the availability of Microsoft Cloud via a blog post, Bill Borden, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Financial Services at Microsoft, said, “We want to ensure that every organization has the digital capability required to succeed going forward and are committed to helping our financial services customers improve time to value, reduce costs, increase agility, and accelerate innovation for sustainable growth.”

The Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services integrates cloud services across the depth of the company’s offerings. This includes Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Microsoft Power Platform. The services are underpinned by an industry data model, with new capabilities and customization unique to the financial services industry.

Borden explained that Microsoft Cloud is also designed for even the most complex control frameworks and regulatory requirements facing the industry, with multi-layered security, comprehensive compliance, and trust commitments built-in.

Virgin Money UK is among the first in the industry to explore Microsoft Cloud’s new capabilities for its customers and employees. Fraser Ingram, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at Virgin Money UK said Microsoft Cloud has accelerated Virgin Money UK’s journey of digitizing its customer experience while enabling them to scale and grow.

“Microsoft’s technologies have a broad range of applications and meaningful insights; whether it is to help advise customers on their financial plans or servicing their needs under their existing portfolio of products. This transformation will also support our efforts to enhance our employee experience, empowering our frontline colleagues to deliver the best heartfelt service for our customers, working together to make money simpler and easier,” added Ingram.

Some of the capabilities of Microsoft Cloud include:

  • Enhancing customer and employee experiences – Address critical needs of retail banking by creating differentiated customer experiences for consumers and empowering employees through teamwork. This includes enabling a unified customer profile for financial services to tailor customer experiences as well as customer onboarding for easy access to loan apps and self-service tools. Businesses can also offer personalized customer interaction with financial understanding to engage with customers on their preferred channel in a meaningful way. For employees, collaboration manager tools enable automation and collaboration across the front and back office.
  • Combating financial crime – Address fraud through account protection via digital identity account layers at account creation and login. This helps protect against bot attacks, fake account creation, account takeover, and fraudulent account access. Microsoft Cloud also helps protect the merchant services arms of financial institutions and merchants from online purchase fraud by using advanced adaptive AI, reducing false positives, and optimizing acceptance rates.
  • Managing security and compliance – Microsoft Cloud provides risk assurance and support through a dedicated team of engineering subject matter experts that support internal and external risk, audit, and compliance teams in addressing financial services regulatory compliance, cybersecurity, and privacy. They also provide regulatory compliance assessments to help organizations manage compliance requirements with greater ease and convenience from taking inventory of data protection risks to managing the complexities of implementing controls, staying current with regulations and certifications, and reporting to auditors.

As Microsoft’s growing ecosystem of partners extends the robust capabilities of Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services, Borden added that their partners are dedicated to better serve customers by helping provide more integrated solutions that reduce risk across the ecosystem, identify new opportunities for innovation, and decrease time to market.