3 min read

AI Builder – Microsoft’s new low-code intelligence tool for the Power Platform

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Hot off the press from the Microsoft BizApps Summit conference in Atlanta, comes the newly announced and hotly anticipated AI Builder.

The turnkey solution comes as part of further investment into the growing capability within the Power Platform, allowing users to harness the functionality of Microsoft’s already established Artificial Intelligence tools within their own custom-built applications.

The AI builder will become a flagship offering as part of the PowerApps “low code” pledge to “allow everyone, from the professional developer to the frontline worker, to participate in driving better business outcomes by building apps”.

The application of Artificial Intelligence within PowerApps will allow crucial sectors that have more of a requirement for immediate customer feedback, like banking, to better align their digital strategy around the customer journey. Power BI, Microsoft’s Business Intelligence Reporting Platform will leverage this functionality providing for immediate trend analysis and valuable insights into key data metrics within these organisations and another key offering that will benefit from the AI customization functionality will be Microsoft Flow, as part of the successful visual process automation and workflow management tool, with a view to providing a simplified approach to optimising the work-based processes without having the advanced technical knowledge of understanding how AI works.

There will be 4 main components to the studio in the first instance;

Classification – This comes in two forms; Binary Rule-Based Classification of new data for segmentation and task management etc. Go/No-Go, Pass/Fail, Ready/Not Ready for Review and Text Classification using the Natural Language Processing (NLP) functionality to analyse sentiment and routing Customer Requests; i.e. Customer Service or Customer Retention.

Business card reader – This tool will take a photograph or load an image from the local device, scan it to find a business card and extract the information it finds into selected fields.

Form processor – This component takes a photograph or loads an image from the local device, and then processes it to extract text based on a trained AI model. If it detects a form that the AI model is trained for, the form processor extracts the field values, and identifies them.

Object detector – An object detection scan will take place off a photo or image file. On a mobile device, the user is presented with the device’s interface to choose between taking a photo or selecting one already available. When an image is selected, the component automatically performs a scan to identify objects within the image.

One of the early adopters of the innovative preview tool was G&J Pepsi who worked alongside Microsoft as part of the preview availability to develop some in-app AI functionality which allows for a simplified and streamlined process for inventory management where store employees have the ability to take a picture of the shelf and share it with the AI Builder.

AI builder screen

The AI, built within the system can then recognize the types of bottles on the shelf, count them and determine whether or not Pepsi needs to order and deliver another shipment, and then send the request to action all with minimal requirement for any in-system coding.

You can check out the latest phase 2 release notes here for all the upcoming capability enhancements due to land in October 2019, with the AI Builder in preview now.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a next-generation business management and digital transformation system that unifies ERP, CRM, and business intelligence into one slick application that can be uniquely tailored to your business needs. Blending people, culture and technology, it feeds all areas of the financial services business from day to day frontline branch operations to boardroom vision and strategy, whilst allowing IT teams to innovate new initiatives instead of problem-solving day to day. For more information on improving the digital transformation strategy to grow alongside your business, get in touch with Redspire today.

7 min read

Top five benefits of upgrading and migrating to Cloud CRM in Banking and Financial Services

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The financial services sector is under growing pressure to meet ever-increasing compliance and regulation whilst delivering data-centric, customer-first experiences. Digitally switched on audiences from data-aware millennials to silver-surfing baby boomers are riding the digital wave and their expectations from Banks and Insurance providers are high. In touch with the innovations, apps and tools that help manage their money, check on the financial health and make transacting seamless and hassle-free both at home or on the go, consumers are hungry for the same sort of one-click services they’ve come to expect from digital giants like Apple, Amazon and PayPal.

Cloud-native banking and insurance

It’s clear that tech-tonic shifts are taking place in the sector, fed by this consumer demand and driven by accelerated advances in tech, in the form of AI, the cloud, advancing fintech and robotics. To keep up with these rapid-fire advances and meet regulatory compliance frameworks, upgrading and migrating existing CRM to clever and intuitive cloud based solutions like Microsoft Dynamics has been identified as the biggest game-changer for Financial Services. Slower early adopters of cloud technologies than other industries, the sector is now embracing the clear benefits of migrating services from on-premise to cloud CRM, making data work harder and smarter.

This year, Fujitsu says that in banking the focus should be on completing the move towards being cloud-native, whilst insurance sectors should take advantage of open APIs and the Internet of Things within their operational models. Pascal Huijbers, Chief Technology Officer Financial Services EMEIA at Fujitsu, says:

Banks were among the first organisations to take the digital transformation agenda seriously, realising the danger to their core business, or even their very existence, if they failed to respond to the threat of disruption from new entrants. Insurance companies are also responding with imaginative new initiatives in areas such as IoT. This year, the banks’ agenda is about driving away from expensive legacy technology and towards becoming cloud native, with all the implications that holds for agility, innovation and cost efficiency.

Cloud CRM or on-premise CRM

At it’s most basic level, on premise solutions are hosted locally on your organisations in-house computers and servers. Cloud software is hosted on the vendors’ servers, accessible via web browsers like Bing, Google etc. Accessibility isn’t the only consideration however when upgrading to cloud CRM or comparing and deciding upon upgrading to Cloud CRM over on-premise. Other factors to consider including software ownership, the cost of software and hardware, updates, support and security.

At Redspire, we have a proven track record upgrading and migrating disparate on-premise legacy or out of support systems to innovation ready cloud-deployed solutions. Here’s our top five benefits of upgrading to Cloud CRM and other cloud technologies.

1. Optimised budgets

When you upgrade to a cloud CRM like Microsoft Dynamics 365, it removes the need for costly IT infrastructure. With reduced needs for capital outlay, servers and equipment, organisations benefit from short and longer term return on investment. Redspire recently partnered with Money and Pensions Services (formerly the Money Advice Service) to upgrade and migrate to Dynamics 365 online. Transforming both customer facing and third party stakeholder operations, the deployment significantly reduced hardware costs, software upgrade costs and timescales, and incorporated support and fix costs for both the system and the hardware.

2. World-class, data compliant security

Mass service outage or even personal user downtime in service accessibility has a massive impact on day to day consumer convenience. Yet security breaches aren’t just an inconvenience to your customers in financial services. They can seriously damage consumer trust as well as their financial wellbeing and data security, as evidenced by the recent TSB security breach and subsequent disruption to services that cost the firm 16,000 customers.

The access and world-class security provided by Microsoft’s cloud technologies are some of the tightest, most secure and compliant security structures available today, and fully optimised to meet PSD2 (Payment Services Directive 2) and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) regulations. Connections between Microsoft data centres and end users are encrypted, and public endpoints secured using industry-standard TLS. Additionally, Microsoft review and authenticate over some 40 trillion logins per day. Threats and cyber hacks are managed by Microsoft’s Cyber Defence Operations Centre, which brings together security response experts from across the company to help protect, detect, and respond to threats in real-time. Microsoft’s annual investment in security, data protection, and risk management exceeds over a billion US dollars. Long story short? Your data is safer in the cloud than it is in your back office.

3. Innovation ready with automated updates and constant access to new features

An outdated, unfit for purpose CRM is one of the biggest obstacles to digital innovation and hampers customer engagement and success. Sound data delivered via adaptable technology is the foundation of efficient, exciting customer experience, making it easier to provide the innovative products and services that your banking and insurance customers crave. Cloud technologies are a clear winner over on-premise systems in this respect as they’re constantly updating to the latest and greatest version for all of your people, from branch level and field agents to senior directors. With Microsoft Dynamics 365, automated updates mean you’re always working on the latest version with continuous access to the latest cross-platform and cross-departmental features like integrated web portals, mobile apps and innovations in AI like Customer Service chatbots etc.

April 2019 was a key milestone for Dynamics 365, with all customers updated to the latest version. This release included three brand new Dynamics AI applications that deliver immersive customer experiences, excellent behavioural insights and add useful business controls in security, risk and compliance.

4. Productive teams and engaged employees

Cloud based CRM is the key to delivering differentiated consumer experiences in banking. Real time cross business data updates and a single customer view drive personalisation at a granular level by connect your braches, field staff, call centres and third party providers with the technology, rich data and insights your people you need to provide incredible experiences. Forrester’s Total Economic Impact™ study on Dynamics 365 for Customer Service 2018 indicated that the solution increases banking call centre staff efficiency by 15%, to a value of £4.56million across three years. Customers remain loyal, have better product and service uptake and have increased lifetime value when their needs are met. Employees are empowered with the tools to deliver best practice, show increased loyalty and have higher workplace satisfaction, whilst IT professionals benefit from agility of the solution, and are able to roll out innovation faster. Cloud CRM ensures that banking teams run like well-oiled machines.

Kate Leggett, VP and Principal Analyst, Forrester Research: “As they move to the cloud, companies can leverage cloud technologies and deliver these differentiated experiences. Cloud CRM deployments give you faster time to value.”

5. Cross business accessibility

With 24 hour a day, seven days a week access to banking and financial services the norm, and the move away from office based 9 to 5 roles, cloud CRM supports both customers and teams by giving them access to service functionality as and when they need it. Dynamics 365 is accessible to colleagues on any device with an internet connection. On-the-go employees are able to capture and share the same real time insights as desk-bound teams and even collaborate with with teammates and customers as they travel via an in-system common interface, giving them the tools and insights that increase employee engagement, drive customer satisfaction and deliver the strategic company vision.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is next-generation business management and digital transformation system that unifies ERP, CRM and business intelligence into one slick application that can be uniquely tailored to your business needs. Blending people, culture and technology, it feeds all areas of the financial services business from day to day frontline branch operations to boardroom vision and strategy, whist allowing IT teams to innovate new initiatives instead of problem solve day to day. For more information on improving the digital transformation strategy to grow alongside your business, get in touch with Redspire today, or check our one of our free upcoming webinars, including “The benefits of migrating your CRM to the cloud”.