Microsoft to expand access to the financial services cloud


Microsoft will make its Cloud for Financial Services package of industry-focused cloud tools generally available on November 1, giving partners the option to add a new vertical or extend existing offerings for banks, credit unions, insurance companies and other such businesses.

Financial services were among many industries that have made drastic changes to accommodate not only employees working remotely during the pandemic, but also businesses needing remote access to accounts and new capital, Bill said. Borden, Microsoft’s vice president of global financial services, to CRN in an interview.

The opportunity still exists for partners to sell digital tools to traditional financial firms and high-tech companies, including so-called “neobanks,” which are digital-only, with no physical banking presence, Borden said.

“Everyone looked at the customer value chain associated with banking, insurance and capital markets and found ways to automate, digitize, create efficiencies, create opportunities to certain points in this value chain, ”he said. “You have seen this happen in spectacular fashion. ”

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Financial services is one area Microsoft has targeted with a set of cloud-based tools and services. The others are healthcare, retail, manufacturing, sustainability, and nonprofits. Microsoft announced the industry’s new cloud, Cloud for Sustainability, at its Inspire conference in July.

Although financial institutions exist in a highly regulated environment, just like healthcare, Cloud for Financial Services has the potential to help partners start offering financial services as a new vertical or expand existing offerings aimed at to financial institutions, Borden said.

“Now a partner can really scale with these types of capabilities by building and using our entire technology stack to truly enrich their value proposition for their customers,” he said.

John Weston, senior vice president of global Microsoft practice for Microsoft’s Boston-based Gold Partner Publicis Sapient, told CRN in an interview that he works with Microsoft’s cloud for financial institutions.

He said the package acts as a new interface for financial institutions who want to use new cloud-based tools with their existing systems. The collaboration apps included in the package, for example, can help speed up internal communication and the loan fulfillment process.

Weston does not believe the package will lead to more competition for Publicis Sapient when it comes to financial institutions, calling the regulation and complexity of mortgages and other financial processes difficult for an unknown partner to overcome.

But for Microsoft to be successful with its industrial clouds, it will need to build on its ecosystem of partners, Weston said.

“For Microsoft to be successful in deploying them, they will need a partner like us to help them put them in place,” he said.

Navy Federal Credit Union and Virgin Money UK are among the first financial institutions to preview Cloud for Financial Services, according to a Microsoft blog post earlier this month.

The cloud for financial services is built on Microsoft Azure, 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform and comes with built-in multi-layered security, compliance and trust commitments, according to Microsoft.

The capabilities of the cloud package include a unified customer profile displaying financial, behavioral and demographic data. A customer onboarding feature is designed to simplify loan applications and loan processing. The banking customer engagement feature aims to create personalized interactions and reduce the customer churn rate and the time it takes to resolve issues. And the collaboration manager function automates front and back office tasks to improve communications with customers, according to Microsoft.

Cloud for Financial Services’ financial crime fighting capabilities include account protection functionality against bot attacks, account takeover, and fraudulent access to accounts. The purchase protection feature aims to protect merchants from online fraud using advanced adaptive artificial intelligence, according to Microsoft.

The cloud package also has a risk assurance and support function, providing a dedicated team of engineering experts for internal and external risk, audit and compliance needs. And the regulatory compliance assessment function aims to help organizations manage compliance, implement controls, report to auditors and track certifications, according to Microsoft.

Along with Publicis Sapient, other service partners working with Cloud for Financial Services include Accenture, Avanade, Avtex, Capgemini, EY, KPMG and PwC. Independent software partners working on third-party products and services for the cloud package include Backbase, BaseCap, Finastra, Mortgage365, VeriPark, and Zafin, according to Microsoft.

Along with the general availability of Cloud for Financial Services, new tools in Cloud for Nonprofits will generally be available in November, according to Microsoft. Volunteer engagement, volunteer management, and security and compliance enhancements will be available next month.

This month, Cloud for Healthcare, which was already available to everyone, gained new capabilities, including improved modeling of healthcare data in the dataverse, better patient linkage, and the expansion of Dynamics-based solutions. and Power Platform in Europe and Asia.

In February, Microsoft will release public previews of new features in Cloud for Healthcare, including the ability for providers to see unified patient profiles and patient activity calendars, as well as an improvement in the speed of user usage. care management features.

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