5 min read

Banking on AI: Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Virtual Agent for Customer Service

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A bank’s AI goals should look beyond cost reduction, welcome though that is. This technology has the capacity to do much more. Indeed, it can completely transform on institution from the core.” (Accenture, Redefine Banking with Artificial Intelligence)


In our recent Banking on AI article, we gave an overview of the rapid pace of AI evolution in the banking sector and looked at the limitless opportunity to automate functions and augment the banking workplace. Microsft’s Dynamics 365 AI solutions feature the most impactful and proprietary AI capabilities in global technology, and support banking organisations to deliver meaningful customer experience. Rich banking data across the business turns into proactive ideas and actions.

Customer Insights and Virtual Agent for Customer Service

In this follow up article, we’ll take a closer look at Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Virtual Agent for Customer Service for banking. These AI technologies are helping front line sales and service banking agents make better use of their time, enabling managers to use team resources more efficiently than ever and improving satisfaction and experience, no matter which platform customers are engaging on.

In a recent Intelligent Economies survey by Microsoft, AI use is reportedly high amongst banking organisations worldwide. Nearly half (48%) of banking and financial services leaders reported that they’d already implemented virtual agent technology, with more than a third making use of both machine learning (36%) and predictive analytics (38%). Broad examples of these tools in action are:

  • Virtual Agent can be deployed proactively to resolve common service queries and frequently asked questions but can also be configured quickly to react and problem-solve when new, emerging issues arise.
  • Predictive analytics can be used to analyse account behavior and identify the potential risk of lending defaults.
  • Machine learning can monitor account behaviour and highlight any activity or transactional patterns that may suggest fraud or risk.

AI drives market differentiation and competitive advantage

Microsoft’s position on AI is that the technology works best when the people closest to a problem are empowered with the AI tools to solve it themselves. This is made easy with the low-code, no-code point and click technology which is at the heart of their AI development, putting problem-solving capabilities in business users’ hands. When individuals and teams create their own solutions, as and when they need them, it increases team competencies and heightens impact and ownership. Which of course, leads the way to strong differentiation and provides maximum competitive advantage.

Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Virtual Agent for Customer Service

Which brings us back to Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Virtual Agent for Customer Service. Together, these solutions provide banking customer service managers with a 360-degree overview of service operations and allow customers to access not only immediate but intelligent responses to each and every request. What’s more service levels are measurable and unified, whether getting in touch by telephone, text, online or via banking apps.

At Redspire, we recommend Customer Insights and Virtual Agent as some of the most impressive tools for delivering enhanced customer experiences to retail and commercial banking customers. The combination of service operations and machine learned insights means users can make use of all the data coming into the system to make smarter decisions on what to optimise and what to automate. A simple overview of the tools in action include:

  1. Data is constantly being fed into Dynamics 365 from omni-channel customer support queries, cases being raised and transactional requests.
  2. Customer Insights AI analyses these support cases them groups them into similar themes and topics to identify potential problems in real-time and inform non-technicaly teams that action is required. For example, a card provider’s hardware outage would lead to query spikes or increased online banking activity, as banking customers are unable to use their debit cards and call to report the issue. Or a branch emergency closure would lead to a rise in transactional calls and online activity.
  3. Before these calls become a drain on front line agents or support staff, business users of varying skill capability can quickly and easily configure automated conversations with a Virtual Agent bot via a web based application. The bot can engage, inform, easily take action and interact with existing systems to transact or problem solve to the customer’s satisfaction where possible, or escalate to a human for higher touch resolution where required.
  4. Throughout these conversations and transactions, Virtual Agent is constantly learning, mining user feedback and getting smarter over time. This continual improvement steers best practice with human teams and recommends future actions to update the bot in the interface to provide the greatest impact.
  5. Visual dashboards and business analytics on the service scenarios report and allow customer service managers to quickly evaluate and act to meet key performance indicators (KPIs) and maintain customer satisfaction levels.

As aI technology evolves and grows progressively more sophisticated, the complexity of the tasks that bots and virtual agents take on will continue to grow. Virtual agents will collaborate with team members, for example by prompting them to ask the right questions throughout customer calls or will pro-actively serve them with customer data or product information, without the human agent having to search manually.

Redspire: the leading digital transformation partner for Banking and Financial Services

IF you’d like more information on Customer Insights and Virtual Agent for Customer Service get in touch today. At Redspire, when we partner with you to implement Microsoft’s leading AI technologies, we become your dedicated Dynamics partner throughout your whole improvement journey.

We have particularly strong capabilities in Banking and Financial Services, FMCG, Government, and Third Sector and have worked on the biggest operational challenges facing these industries today. From Small Business Banking improvements at CYBG, client and stakeholder engagement at Money and Pensions Service, our expertise in Dynamics 365 and the AI-driven Power Platform, we help our clients achieve service excellence and deliver transformation projects that promises return on investment.

Contact us today

For more information on the Future of Banking download our Future of Banking white paper. To discuss what Microsoft and Artificial Intelligence can offer your organisation, get in touch with Redspire today on 0845 226 8170 or email us on info@redspire.co.uk.

8 min read

Banking on AI with Microsoft Dynamics 365

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“Artificial intelligence isn’t going to replace bankers. It’s going to optimize how banks work by helping them become more agile, make smarter decisions, and, ultimately, stay more competitive.” (Banking on AI, Microsoft, 2019)

With the October wave 2 release for Dynamics 365 featuring 400 new updates and capabilities across Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform (more about that soon), as well as brand new AI-infused, industry-specific capabilities included in the release, our attention at Redspire is on how AI (Artificial Intelligence) is evolving banking and financial services . Should the c-suite be banking on AI to drive product and service innovation and steer customer excellence? The short answer: yes. It’s rapidly becoming clear that current and emerging artificial intelligence has the power to transform FSI, far more than any other technologies have done in recent years.

Microsoft investment in AI insights

Microsoft’s continued investment in AI is helping the banking sector turn valuable agent, customer, product, sales and competitor data into proactive ideas and action. Existing AI insights are already revolutionising product and service delivery for early adopters of the capabilities in banking. Yet as we hone and develop new and exciting use cases for our FSI clients with the features like AI builder, the opportunity to transform operations is immense. AI-driven agents, rapid implementation model and line of business apps and problem solving bots used alongside constant machine learning will boost team productivity, solve immediate business or operational pain and drive experiences with the sharpest of precision.

Out of the box Dynamics 365 AI tools for banking

The three main pre-packaged AI tools that are really allowing our banking clients to predict customer needs and provide services when the customer wants, just how the customer wants it are:

These insight apps, particularly when powered by Azure AI, enable bankers to apply artificial intelligence within line of business workflows that slicken operations and steer customers to the right channel for their needs. That could be a knowledge centre bot to answer a simple, frequently asked question or a rapidly deployed bot that’s been set up to respond to an emerging complaint theme. This sort of client self-service frees up Relationship Managers and gives them almost superpower like abilities to drive more personal and well-rounded customer experience. Teams can provide tailored, value-driven communications through a 360-degree view of their customer, across all business departments. Predictive intelligence analyses data touch-points like buying habits, financial aspirations and emphasis on income-proportionate savings, and can help banks better understand the customer sets that will respond better to specific and targeted offers, and create hyper-tuned cross-sell opportunities based on the information gathered and analysed by the AI systems.

But what does this look like in action?

Dynamics 365 AI for Sales Insights

If we had to pick a tool from the Dynamics suite that’s absolutely vital to the success of banking sales performance and levelling the playing field for incumbent banks and challengers, this is it. Steering opportunity propensity to close and measuring the sentiment of communications to serve you insight on how the relationship is going is only scratching the surface of the capabilities of the AI. For example, the sales insight tool listens to calls and can provide slick, in-depth feedback and a wealth of learning from the call, such as:

  • Conversation analysis: Did the sales agent provide enough information in line with the customer’s needs? Did they talk too much or too little? This can really hone individual sales capabilities and help create sales playbooks for future opportunities.
  • Sentiment analysis: Cognitive AI measures and reports back on customer mood within the conversation. Were they upset, excited? This can be used to turn the sales opportunity around by recommending next best action if the propensity to close has decreased and also be used by sales and relationship managers for future coaching.
  • Keyword and trends analysis: AI can measure and pick up on keywords and report on an individual level or a collective department or organizational level if there are any keywords that are trending up and down. For example, a banking competitor or new lending product is being mentioned more often than usual. This is reported to the sales manager who can then create sales battlecards to overcome the threat before the competitor has had a chance to steal market-share. Similarly, this tool can report back if there are recurring queries or objections that salespeople are having to overcome and create solutions, collateral or playbooks to support.

With AI for Sales Insight’s predictive lead and opportunity scoring, salespeople are provided with valuable AI insight to prioritise the right relationships, to help close faster and win more business. Sales Managers can analyse individual, team and third party performance and view rich sales activity reports and view pipelines at the touch of a button. This is just a few examples of the tool in action. Get in touch today if you want to chat Sales for AI with our consultants.

Dynamics 365 AI for Customer Service Insights  

Of course, it isn’t all just about selling. With customer experience a key differentiator in banking and competition levels fierce, delivering impeccable customer service is vital in both retail and commercial banking environments. What does AI infused customer service look like within a banking? Like Sales Insights, Dynamics 365 AI for Customer Service Insights can use predictive analytics to provide actionable insight into business critical performance metrics. AI analyses operational and customer contact data to group cases and provide trends in real time to highlight and create instant solutions – before issues get out of hand. In-house teams receive reports that action is required and they can then create an easily configurable bot to respond and answer basic questions, measure their sentiment and pass the complaint to a team member if they require higher touch interaction. Throughout the entire process the AI and bots are collecting constant feedback and feeding continual improvement Built-in reporting dashboards, interactive visual charts and reports provide views into support operations data across channels, highlighting improvement and best practice that will have the greatest impact. Customer service managers can quickly evaluate and act to meet key performance indicators (KPIs) and maintain customer satisfaction levels.

Dynamics 365 AI for Market Insights  

So you’ve got your sales and service performing with AI. What’s next? Understanding your own and your competitor brand position with AI for Market Insights. Interpret what your customers say, do and feel about your organisation online and measure their sentiment against your bank in comparison to key competitors. Are you delivering on brand promise and customer excellence? AI for market insights is also valuable to when managing third party relationships in the banking environment. Are your stakeholders getting what they expect from the relationship?

How safe and secure is AI for Banking?

Machine learning functionality provides a comprehensive analysis for deeper insight into risk and operational models, as well as real-time response to the intelligence gathered for an enhanced risk management procedure – specifically tailored to suit and meet any regulatory requirements like GDPR or advanced AML checks.

The data collected is safely and securely stored in Microsoft’s award-winning Azure cloud infrastructure, with multi-factor authentication, continuous monitoring, increased transparency and digital privacy protection to ensure all sensitive data adheres to any industry, domestic or global standards

The future of AI and overview of the new release AI tools

By 2021, Gartner estimates that AI augmentation will generate about $2.9 trillion in business value and recover about $6.2 billion in worker productivity

On top of the existing AI capabilities, the October 2019 release brings a whole host of AI-infused capabilities that will help the banking sector thrive. Dynamics 365 Product Insights connects product telemetry to Microsoft Business Applications, bringing valuable in-branch or ATM insights and give visibility into product and service performance and customer interactions.

Enhancements to Dynamics 365 Customer Insights extends the reach of the tool further from mainly B2C scenarios. Additional features allow banking organisations to generate powerful insights into complex B2B commercial banking journeys and understand and serve leads and accounts better.

We’re very excited about Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service, which is currently still in preview. This is a vital tool for all banks and financial services firms, and is enhanced with new authoring capabilities. This allows users to test and deploy AI-powered chat bots with greater speed, freeing front line agents to focus on more complex issues, and providing deep insights into customer satisfaction and

Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection provides a formidable fraud protection solution,  decreasing fraud costs and helping increase acceptance rates for customer payment transactions.

Finally Microsoft have enhanced the Microsoft Banking Accelerator, released earlier this year, with use cases for retail banking and sample APIs for interoperability with the Banking Industry Architecture Network (BAIN). These enhancements enable banking and financial organizations to rapidly build intelligent, data-driven solutions across retail and commercial lines of business, accelerating time to value for a range of customer scenarios.

Banking on AI?

It’s an exciting time to be in banking! Implementing Artificial Intelligence has the power to transform the industry in ways we’ve never seen before. Cost saving, improving the speed and efficiency of decision-making, identifying and supporting new cross-selling opportunities for new and existing customers and most importantly, working towards the full and uninterrupted retention of all current business across the various departments and services. All whilst growing revenue and boosting the bottom line.

For more information on the Future of Banking download our Future of Banking white paper. To discuss what Microsoft and Artificial Intelligence can offer your business. get in touch with Redspire today on 0845 226 8170 or email us on info@redspire.co.uk.

7 min read

Five signs that your business has outgrown its current CRM system

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When it comes to organisational change and digital innovation, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it isn’t the best philosophy to lead with. With business applications and integrations constantly evolving and digital-readiness driving organisational effectiveness, the top performers in business are constantly innovating not laggard. When you consider smart, AI-connected households, the Internet of Things and in-phone GPS, it’s easy to see that today’s cutting-edge business technology is tomorrow’s mass-produced household necessity.

CRM technology is moving at lightning speed and system capabilities are rapidly evolving. Whilst it may seem more prudent to squeeze every last drop of value out of existing tech and adapt your evolving people and processes to your legacy system, the opposite is often true. If you’re coming up against some of the most common challenges, it may be time for a new CRM system. If you’re lacking value and efficiencies from your existing solution, investing in a well-deployed, company-wide implementation will be well worth the financial, time and resource investment.

Here, we’ve curated the top red flags that your business has outgrown its current CRM system. If any of them resonate, it’s time to start considering a new system and sourcing a new CRM partner.

  1. Your CRM system has limited growth potential  

Whether you’re scaling up from a smaller team with growing CRM requirements or are a large established business building a more robust digital infrastructure, if your current CRM system isn’t able to adapt to your changing operational needs, now is the time to look for a new CRM partner.

A legacy CRM that doesn’t support new functionality, integrations and advanced tools is an unsustainable foundation on which to build an adaptable, future-ready digital infrastructure. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for example, is fully customisable to support and unify your legacy and extended CRM use cases. Dynamics also uses universal web standards that make it easy to customise and extend the platform to meet ever-changing business needs, and integrates neatly not just with the full Microsoft stack, but all sorts of business applications and technologies.

With an outdated CRM however, data standards and methodologies decline, functionality reduces and integrations with the very latest cross-business technologies become almost impossible.

  1. Your CRM isn’t accessible on-the-go, in the cloud

The modern workplace is changing. Teams work remotely, on-the-go, across global disparate locations. If your people can’t access your CRM system on the road via mobiles and other handheld devices then data accuracy, real-time knowledge sharing, sales opportunity and team collaboration is compromised. Your CRM system should be the go-to-source for everyone in the business for real-time data, knowledge sharing and reporting. From sales to the CEO, the CRM allows every member of the team to perform effectively

Microsoft Dynamics 365 online can be used anywhere with a Wi-Fi signal, at any time on any device. Teams are always connected and able to access the workflows, systems and processes that make their day to day tasks more manageable, whether they’re in the office, or on the road. If they can’t, it’s time to look at a new system.

  1.       Your CRM system doesn’t unify departments 

If you have cross-departmental teams who are working with valuable files and data sets in information silos, then your business is losing opportunities daily. Your people are undoubtedly spending hours of unproductive administration time each day on tedious tasks that could be automated easily with a fit-for-purpose CRM.

What should an effective CRM system look like as we head towards 2020? A solution like Microsoft Dynamics is a suite of end-to-end suite of business applications that manage all aspects of your business. If your departments aren’t sharing their real-time data, then your customer journey and experience will be challenging not just for the end customer but your employees too.

From managing lead generation and qualifying prospects, right through to service delivery, compliance management, finance and operations and reporting, a fully unified CRM drives effective business performance and returns on ROI from the outset. Unify your data and connect your teams with a fit-for-purpose CRM and watch customer experience scores, customer satisfaction levels, employee satisfaction, team productivity and sales soar.

  1. Your current CRM has poor user adoption 

Poor CRM adoption happens for several reasons, the biggest being a lack of user adoption training at the time of installation. With little vendor support in embedding the technology with your users and designated super users, teams are left to decipher complex functionality on their own and never really scratching the surface of what the technology can do as they struggle to deliver their day to day tasks.

CRM today isn’t a plug and play database. Tools like Dynamics 365 are sophisticated platforms that drive multi-million-pound digital business operations. If initial in-depth training and new employee on-boarding processes have been poorly established, your CRM is unlikely to be fulfilling its potential or had update and upgrade schedules met, nor made use of expansion opportunities.

When you do decide to look at a new CRM, choosing a CRM partner who offers in-depth user adoption training and support should be a big part of your selection process.

  1. Your CRM is unreliable or out of support 

If you’re spending more and more time on IT support calls or creating costly fixes and workarounds to repair constantly repeating problems, productivity and output will be the first thing to take a dive. With team morale not far behind. In the modern workplace, teams have such huge pressure to deliver on their measurable objectives, It’s vital to provide them with the functioning tools they need to produce results instead of limiting their productivity with poorly performing technology.

Similarly, if your current CRM is out of mainstream support, in-house IT teams will struggle to maximise performance and your systems and processes are at risk of non-compliant data management and control. This is one of the most important red flags to address as soon as you possibly can, particularly with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and ever-increasing data compliance and controls. Microsoft Dynamics allows you to house your data controls within the CRM system and do real-time risk assessments to meet these complex compliance obligations. A GDPR ready CRM will help you avoid data breaches but also reduce the cost and burden of obtaining, signing and digitally storing relevant data and paperwork. If your current system doesn’t offer these time, money and productivity saving tools, it’s time to look at new CRM systems.

Diagnosis: time for a new CRM? 

If you’ve ticked one or more of the warning signs above, it’s time to start exploring a new CRM. Look at the vendors and partners who work in your vertical, explore the solutions on the market and start thinking about the functionality you’ll need to maximise operations. Interview a few potential partners and get a feel for their approach.

At Redspire, we can help you implement and customise your Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM and importantly, embed it firmly within the organisation with robust user adoption training.

For more information on CRM implementation success, watch our short webinar replay. If you’d like to discuss your project, call our experienced consultants on 0845 226 8170 or email on info@redspire.co.uk, regardless of how far along the process you are. We love to talk about CRM and Dynamics, and we love to help our clients revolutionise how they do business.

5 min read

The art of the possible in Banking with Microsoft Dynamics and the Power Platform

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There hasn’t been a time in history where we’ve seen such accelerated pace of change in the banking sector. Driven by the fourth industrial revolution, new and emerging technologies are creating cultural and societal shifts that are reshaping our very way of life, including how we consume goods and services.

Within the financial services sector at large, Microsoft Dynamics and the Power Platform represents the chance to reimagine and simplify user experiences and streamline common user functions and capabilities. Power Platform – Power BI, PowerApps and Microsoft Flow – extends the Dynamics business application to quickly and easily create custom built apps, automate workflows, improve productivity and analysis, and gain rich data insights. And with a powerful, point-and-click approach to app building, there’s little need for serious in-depth technical capabilities.

Welcome to Microsoft Dynamics and the Power Platform in Banking

As Artificial intelligence and self-service bots rapidly become the norm, personalisation in both retail and commercial banking has taken on surgical precision to create data sets of one. With the introduction of the Common Data Model, Microsoft Dynamics and The Power Platform is helping banking users deliver the enhanced service levels that customers expect. Self-serve, custom-built portals are driving product and service accessibility and delivering slick experiences to customers at home and on-the go. AI Builder, updated AI capabilities, and a new look for Power BI, PowerApps Portals, and enhancements for Microsoft Flow are all coming in wave 2 later this year adding increased capabilities for delivering customer and operational excellence.

Going forward the combination of Common Data Model and PowerApps in Banking will allow Apps to be created for specific scenarios, either tying into a Dynamics use case or as standalone. PowerApps solves the challenges across your entire Banking business and allows teams to rapidly create apps for any scenario.  Benefit from:

  • Easily build apps with a full featured low-code/no-code platform
  • Connect to all your data with pre-built connectors, custom connectors
  • Put your data to work with the Common Data Service for Apps
  • Office 365, Azure, Dynamics 365, Power BI, Microsoft Flow integration
  • Strong enterprise governance & security
  • Pro-dev extensibility

The nuances and complexities of your business are always at the centre of your Dynamics and Power Platform deployment. There are thousands of bespoke use cases of Microsoft Dynamics and the Power Platform and the capability for constant, fast-paced improvement is in your users’s hands. Innovation isn’t silo’d or in the hands of your transformation partner. Rapid innovation becomes possible within your in-house development team, meeting the fast-changing demands of the banking environment and marketplace.

“PowerApps is a great blank canvas, with easy-to-use templates, and seamless connectivity to all the Microsoft cloud services that we use. It took only two months from the time we started development until we launched the app in our first stores.”

Bruce Rioch, Chief Data Officer, MetroBank

Some example use cases of Microsoft Dynamics and the Power Platform in banking include:

  1. Automation of complex customer on-boarding or risk processes, freeing up staff resources, improving productivity and creating a risk audit trail on the CRM.
  2. Create self-serve loan applications connected to third party decision making tools that provide instant responses to applicants and create a compliance paper trail that ticks all of the regulatory boxes.
  3. Increase adoption of front-facing apps that create slick user experiences and convenience whilst delivering precision targeted marketing activity and high levels of user satisfaction
  4. Raise and action reports and support tickets that keep services live and automate improvement processes.
  5. Make use of any devices to create inspections and auditor apps for remote hardware like ATMs to ensure they are always clean, functional and available.
  6. Build helpdesk chatbots that are serviced from centralised knowledge materials and always accessing up to the minute customer data.
  7. Structure and automate workflows between teams and third parties for maximum productivity and connectivity
  8. Standardise new employee on-boarding across the whole business to ensure that individual employees and teams are talking the same language and operating to the same high standards.
  9. Employ smart assistant for salespeople and relationship managers to ensure that no sale is lost and clients or customers enjoy a consultative selling experience.
  10. Create automate reporting practices that unify information sharing and set macro and micro targets and KPIs that are understood business wide and at the appropriate permission level.

A recent Economic Impact study of Dynamics and the Power Platform highlighted that the average cost of app development is reduced by 70% with PowerApps and Flow, with £2.9 million avoided in application development and management costs. These types of cost savings are indicative of the costs and productivity savings that can be made with each individual solution within the platform. Combined with no-code capabilities that drive high user adoption, it’s clear that return on initial investment is high. And with the tools included within the standard Dynamics 365 licensing, it’s easy to get started with Power Platform today.

For a comprehensive overview of future banking, download our Future Banking White Paper now, or get in touch via 0845 226 8170 or info@redspire.co.uk.

 

6 min read

Bank to the Future: The Microsoft technologies driving radical transformation in the sector

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Customer bases in banking sprawl wide, interconnected networks that hold trillions of disparate, but rich valuable customer data points. Most customers have multiple accounts, collectively carrying out hundreds of thousands of different applications, transactions and requests each day and interacting across different departments, platforms, and geographies. It’s essential to manage this vital customer data safely, securely and efficiently across all subdivisions of the banking network, not just to treat customer data safely and securely within the regulatory banking landscape, but to harvest and mine these rich data insights and understand and predict customer needs.

Yet many Banks and financial services organisations still hold this data in silos, wasting the opportunity to gain a 360-degree picture, truly know their customer, and service them with the expected brand experience.

Microsoft is leading the way globally in the future of banking technology. Constantly updating cloud solutions, AI technology and immersive tools that make common data model technologies work harder and smarter are leveling the playing field for new banks and High Street stalwarts. Incumbents moulding technologies like Dynamics 365, the Power Platform, Azure, SharePoint and Office 365 to fit their precise needs retain competitive advantage against new cloud-ready market entrants.

Managing customer data across the banking network

The data-centricity, security and productivity gains available via the connectivity of Dynamics 365 and other Microsoft technologies like Office 365, Azure, SharePoint and Power BI are immeasurable. Banks can create department-specific processes and flows; connect, automate and solve problems with apps and portals; and create reporting dashboards that understand, analyse and report on business performance and pipeline, as well as manage and monitor growth and risk. The return on investment from the tools prove immeasurable and a solid foundation on which to expand the scope to solve ever-evolving business and backend processes.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud online and the Power Platform integrations are the most effective digital transformation tools available on the market today. At their simplest, Dynamics resolves business pain for banks by unifying data, systems and processes into one, single intelligent system. With the capability to connect multiple, disparate legacy data sources from all across the business, key business information can be served up via intuitive, custom-built real-time dashboards.

Teams are provided with the tools and insights they need, from a real-time, single view of the customer to relationship insight tools that automate and suggest next step action. All integrating neatly into the Office 365 technology and Windows hardware that your employees already know and love, and Power Platform functionality that puts the tools to deliver no-code services tailored precisely to your business needs, right in your team’s hands.

A shared data language in banking

The long-term goal of the banking sector at large as FinTech and Open Banking partnerships become the norm, is to define a shared data language in banking and the wider financial services sector. It becomes easier for organisations and their partners to connect systems, disparate data silos and standardise data formats and definitions across the industry.

Microsoft’s suite of connected business applications, cloud solutions, AI technology and productivity tools and dashboards have started the journey already, providing improved processes and insights, easily deployed in any environment, on any device.

Here’s a short overview of the tools in action;

  1. Retail Banking

Lending teams and relationship managers can make use of analytics and productivity dashboards to gain a high-level view of the day ahead, with predictive analytics and machine learning identifying prospects most likely to close, highlighting any key referrals and expiring KYCs (Know Your Customer). These insights allow relationship managers to plan their day effectively and connect with customers with a propensity to close. Onboarding new customers also becomes easier for relationship managers as manual processing of new prospects, loan and mortgage applications, KYC and other retail banking workflows are automated and managed via custom-built dashboards and portals. The benefits of these step by step business processes mean relationship managers are more productive administratively and can focus on relationship building and providing consultative support to prospects and existing customers.

  1. Commercial Banking

Like Retail Bankers, the commercial lending and commercial relationship managers

can identify opportunities and see a holistic view of their portfolio utilising loans and relationships dashboards. Teams can view accounts with a high propensity for closing, track deteriorating accounts that need immediate attention and predict success for the week ahead. This insight, supported by artificial intelligence and smart next-step actions helps commercial bankers and team managers plan their working day and strategically view and diarise future cross-selling opportunities. Augmented workflows slicken up administrative tasks like completing loan applications. Commercial bankers can quickly understand if an opportunity is won or lost, ensuring maximum productivity and avoiding too much time being focused on the wrong accounts.

  1. Branch Management teams

Branch managers benefit from a unified data model and a common data language across Retail and Commercial banking. With a comprehensive 360-degree view of the entire bank operations from business mortgages issued through to commercial lending performance, it’s easier to track performance and KPI’s across different geographies and branch locations.

Not only does this help set strategy and plan for the year ahead, but advanced data analytics insights also help improve processes and provide operational efficiencies that drive team productivity on a micro and macro level. Working on real-time data across different branch locations makes delivering meaningful, in-person customer experiences that much easier.

  1. Cross-business referrals

Connect departments across the banking eco-system with PowerApps and Portals to simplify the referral sharing process across retail, commercial and branch. This can be as simple as retail banking inputting a new business lending opportunity lead on a unified customer 360 form, which instantly shows up within the commercial banker’s 360-degree customer view. With existing customers, the commercial team can access rich customer data like existing product portfolio, KYC history, and previous interactions to become an invaluable business consultant in the next phase of their client’s business, understanding their needs in advance of connecting.

How does your Bank’s digital strategy stack up?

In the new, differentiated banking marketplace, everything is to play for. At Redspire, we’re proud to be leading radical digital transformation in the sector via world-class Microsoft technologies. Together, we’re helping retail and commercial banks understand and engage with customers like never before.

No matter what stage you’re at in your transformation journey, there’s no doubt that your customers are already expecting the banking standards of the future, now. Download our white paper on the future of banking today and together we can explore the art of the possible.

1 min read

Redspire shortlisted for Financial Technology Partner of the Year Award

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Redspire has been shortlisted for the Financial Services Technology Partner of the Year Award at this year’s Scottish Financial Technology Awards, in collaboration with DIGIT.

The shortlisting celebrates Redspire’s commitment to innovation and transformation in the sector. Our partnerships with some of the UK’s biggest financial brands and customer-facing Government financial organisations have led them through radical digital transformation and business improvement projects, revolutionising how they do business and connect with customers.

DIGIT’s Scottish Financial Technology Awards

The Scottish Financial Technology Awards are designed to recognise effort, innovation, and impact. The judging process looking to acknowledge exceptional accomplishments, invention and improvement and reward individuals and organisations that are making a difference to frontline customers and industry progress, as well as those making valuable contributions beyond the sector and into the wider community.

The winner will be announced at the Scottish Financial Technology Awards which take place on September 25th, 2019 at the Sheraton Grand in Edinburgh.

The Redspire management team is proud of our hard-working teams and excited to be selected in such a prestigious category. Thanks to DIGIT and the Scottish Financial Technology Award team for selecting us. We’re looking awards ceremony to celebrate the incredible FinTech industry in Scotland and look forward to seeing you there!

About Redspire

Specialising in Dynamics 365 and the limitless integrations of world-class Microsoft’s Power Platform technologies, Redspire solve organisational business pain, improve operations and create a unified digital eco-system that can be constantly enhanced or improved as digital evolves.

With particularly strong capabilities in Financial Services, FMCG, Government and Third Sector, when we work with you, we become your dedicated Dynamics partner. Our client base includes Money and Pension Service, AIG Group, RPMI, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking Group (CYBG) and GroupM.

4 min read

Out of support Dynamics? 5 reasons to upgrade and migrate to Microsoft Dynamics 365 online

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Are you running on an out of support Dynamics CRM?

Microsoft recently announced the end of mainstream support for legacy versions of Dynamics CRM impacting users and organisations running on Dynamics CRM 2011 and 2013. If your business is still operating on legacy versions of Dynamics, you’re out of mainstream support and it would be beneficial to upgrade to Dynamics 365 or upgrade and migrate to Dynamics 365 online.

Why upgrade to Dynamics 365?

As an existing user, you’re likely to be familiar of the benefits of a Dynamics based CRM and the limitless integrations of the Microsoft eco-system. Here’s a short summary of the reasons to upgrade to Dynamics now:

  1. Decrease the risks and costs of running a legacy application.

Protect and risk-proof your organisation, employees and customers from the danger of operating with an out of support CRM. Dynamics 365 is fully supported by Microsoft and within Microsoft’s partner eco-system, meaning maintenance and support is cost-effective and easily accessible. Running on the most up to date version means that your CRM is fit for purpose in a fast moving and constantly updating information-led business environment.

  1. Easy transition to the cloud

 When you’re on the cloud, you can automate and innovate operations, seamlessly and on-the-go, making your business and your people more agile. Integrate with third party APIs and benefit from automated Microsoft updates, so you’re always working on the latest version of the solution. Access Dynamics anywhere at anytime with your people always working on real-time data and the very latest functionality from desktop, on their phones or on other handheld devices. So from the field to the back office, everyone is talking the same language.

 

List showing benefits of cloud vs onpremise Microsoft Dynamics

  1. Reduced cost of system ownership and licensing

When you upgrade and migrate to Dynamics 365 online, you reduce implementation time, capital outlay and infrastructure costs. As you move from a CapEx to OpEx model, flexible working and implementing bring-your-own-device in office, at home or on the move also becomes much easier; seamlessly connecting your people and teams. With flexible licencing, you can scale in line with the needs of the business meaning you never pay for more licences than you need. Support and fix costs are greatly reduced for both system and hardware, thanks to automated system updates

  1. Automated system updates

As well as delivering AI ready systems and low and no-code functionality right out of the box, Microsoft Dynamics 365 has moved to a continuous release cycle for in-the-cloud systems. All online users now follow an update cycle that delivers two major updates in two waves each year, April and October. Regular updates, performance improvements and bug fixes also run in the background for optimum functionality. Microsoft communications prepare in-house teams in advance to prepare any auto-scheduled changes, with with opt-in advice and functionality for any disruptive changes. Long story short, you’re always working on the latest version and you unlocking the latest market-leading tools and functionality.

  1. Unlock new cross-platform and cross-departmental tools and functionality

New features like integrated web portals, mobile apps and the new Dynamics user interface provide seamless employee and stakeholder experiences and help deliver incredible customer success and satisfaction. With a huge focus on AI, with Dynamics 365 online, users can access the latest stream of Microsoft innovations to make business operations better. Connect data and people cross-departmentally with other tools like Azure, PowerApps, Flow, Power BI and Outlook and be the first to access the very latest tools like AI builder, announced at the recent Microsoft BizApps Summit and Microsoft Inspire.

Migrating from Dynamics CRM to Dynamics 365

If you’re running on a legacy version of Dynamics CRM and keen to update to a cloud deployment of Dynamics 365, you’ll need to upgrade to the latest version of on-premise before migrating over to the cloud.

Using a partner like Redspire is essential for this process to prepare your environment, people and data for upgrade and migration. The upgrade process is an excellent time to assess your business needs and establish exactly what you want from your new CRM and data. Your CRM partner will work with you to enhance your current model and replace with a future-proofed solution that delivers exactly what you need to unify your business operations.

Ready to upgrade to Dynamics 365?  

If you’re ready to upgrade or would like to discuss next steps, Redspire have developed a series of resources that may help. Download our upgrade deck or enquire about our on-site upgrade workshop. For an informal, confidential chat about your own upgrade project or to discuss how we’ve led clients in Financial Services, Insurance, Government, Retail and more through successful upgrade, get in touch on 0845 226 8170 or email info@redspire.co.uk.

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”.

8 min read

Achieving the four pillars of Digital Transformation in Banking with Microsoft Dynamics

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Not so long ago, digital transformation in Banking meant keeping pace throughout the third industrial revolution; meeting the digital challenge by providing basic online banking functionality that supported bricks and mortar mainstream branches. As digital evolved, account and loan applications were added, along with mobile transactional functionality to allow people to bank on-the-go. Personalisation and big data made its way into Board and Executive strategy conversations. The Retail Banking sector in particular, rose to the digital challenge, proving itself agile and adaptable to change, despite the unchartered territory of balancing strict risk and compliance controls alongside the necessary digitalisation of the customer experience.

As we hurtle towards 2020, through the fourth industrial revolution, digital transformation has become a lot more meaningful and immersive than simply providing online and mobile transactional functionality. Corporate and Commercial Bankers now find their marketplace in an accelerated state of change, alongside Retail Banking and the wider Financial Services sector. AI in banking and financial services is revolutionising the industry. FinTech, InsureTech, RoboAdvice and open banking capabilities are shifting the goalposts, stealing market share from incumbent banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers et al. And doing so with a side order of brand sass that appeals to younger audiences, almost as much as their instant gratification banking services do.

So how sound is your organisation’s digital strategy?

A recent report by the Boston Consulting Group highlights that executives in the banking sector lack confidence in their organisation’s digital futureproofing. With Big Tech and FinTech threats looming, over 40% of c-suite executives in banking reported that their own organisation didn’t have a digital strategy – never mind a sound one – despite 80% of respondents being aware that digital is leading transformation in the sector. Only 20% of banking executives believe that their bank has a market-leading digital presence, with the number one barrier to effective digital transformation cited as dated infrastructure and challenging legacy systems. Yet legacy IT needn’t hold you back as you map out future transformation and it doesn’t mean you need to rip out and replace high value tech to get started. The power of Microsoft Dynamics is that you can integrate legacy data sources right into the solution for quick results, now.

The four pillars of digital transformation in Banking and Financial Services

So, it’s clear that the opportunity to thrive, not just survive still exists for hungry market players with an eye on innovation. Boston Consulting Group recommend four key pillars for effective digital strategy in Banking and Financial Services. These key priorities align neatly with Microsoft’s four pillars of effective digital transformation and provide a cohesive starting point for reviewing and renewing your digital business strategy, market position and current capabilities. The possibilities, done right? End-to-end customer-focused journeys and increased satisfaction through the latest technologies in the Microsoft stack; from a safe and secure cloud-based Dynamics 365 CRM that unifies your people, data and business processes in a single, intelligent system, to AI for customer services and sales integrations that automate processes and decision making. All driven by sound data and providing enhanced operational workflows for every single person in your business.

Why is it so important to reach digital maturity in banking and financial services now? New technologies are constantly emerging, however, only digitally-enabled organisations with the right foundational solutions in place will be able to make use of these new innovations. The beauty of Dynamics 365 cloud platform is that once implemented, it’s constantly updating. Meaning you’re always working on the latest version, and able to access new release tools as soon as they hit the market. Recent releases include live chat and SMS functionality and new Power Platform capabilities which combine Microsoft Flow, Power BI and Common Data for apps which allow an easy and powerful collaborative integration into Dynamics 365 and Office 365.

Of course, these operational changes and strategic digital improvement can’t and shouldn’t be disconnected à la carte projects and initiatives undertaken in a silo. Successful digital transformation is a unified and co-ordinated business project, created in the Boardroom as a comprehensive, enterprise-wide strategy and implemented, with a clearly defined purpose, and an industry expert and experienced external partner like Redspire supporting the process.

The four key priorities for effective digital transformation in Banking

  1. Reinvent the Consumer Journey

The outdated banking model is dead. Customer expectations continue to rise, desiring and demanding service and personalised sales processes their way. Seamless, safe and secure fingerprint or facial recognition log in, one-click withdrawals, remembering personal preferences at every customer touchpoint and Alexa voice integrations are the bare minimum that customers expect when they interact with their bank today. Market disrupting challengers and nimble, born-in-the-cloud FinTechs have evolved the customer journey and traditional banks, building societies and insurers should do the same to remain competitive.

Cloud-based CRM is one of the most vital tools in the innovative banker’s arsenal. Gain a single view of customers and prospects with Dynamics 365, your entire business in one neat, expandable solution. With all customer data in the one place, available to your cross-departmental agents in real time, you can exceed and delight customers with insights that sell, service and convert. Seamlessly merged with big data, business intelligence and AI integrations, your agents can pick the next best action, systems are automatically updated and your customer gets the service they’ve come to expect from Big Data players like Amazon, Apple et al.

Before kick-starting any digital transformation project, spend time selecting the right partner and mapping the customer journey collaboratively to put your customers at the centre of your business. The beauty of Microsoft’s cloud technologies are that they can be moulded and integrated to suit your bespoke needs, reimagining and redefining your customers experiences. When you understand what matters most to different subsets of customers during critical junctures in their user journey – supported by the the immense capabilities of the Microsoft stack – can build user experiences that reward, engage and create long-term loyalty. On-board a client in just a few clicks with Adobe Sign. Automate lending decisions with Flow. PowerApps and Portals connect access to Credit Reference Agencies third party tools. The limitations are endless, with a quantifiable ROI evidenced from the outset.

  1. Discover the power of data

What’s the point of harvesting data if you don’t harness its power? Microsoft Dynamics and Power BI reporting provide insights that help you understand your clients and prospects, uncover missed opportunities, identify high-ticket clients or cross-selling opportunities and reduce the cost of acquisition, satisfaction and retention too. Dynamics online and Power BI allow your team to create, share and view immersive visual dashboards on the go, within global geographies, and are key drivers of building consultative client relationships that last.

During a recent Dynamics 365 implementation within the small business banking division at CYBG, unifying data from legacy systems allowed Relationship Managers and Team Managers to deepen customer relationships, easily identify key accounts and identify those at risk of default or depreciation. Data precision and clarity allowed the team to gain 3,175 days in increased productivity through increased data analytics and an 11 x increase on customer outreach calls, with impressive impact on annual results too.

  1. Redefine the operating model.

Living in an increasingly time-poor world, consumer needs have shifted in their banking relationships. That close relationship with the bank manager has become a convenient online digital relationship that’s easily accessible via their devices as and when they need it, outreaching for that human touch only when they have more complex needs. Hybrid sales, customer service and experience operating models that are well executed can inspire loyalty and delight a customer. Executed badly, can frustrate and have them abandon ship for a competitor without even stopping to let you know where you’ve failed.

Banks who successfully combine the human touch with self-service capabilities via AI bots and custom-built portals can expect to see up to a 15% increase in revenue and satisfaction levels and up to a 35% saving in branch network costs. Utilising bionic networks, whilst being open to collaboration with other FinTechs and Open Banking players can create the high value service levels that your customers desire and create seamless services that deliver on brand promise and value.

  1. Build a Digital Driven Organization

The final priority of successful digital transformation in banking is facing organisational culture hurdles face on to build a digital-first business.

When you set out strategically, with board, CEO and senior executives aligned on a vision to build a digitally driven banking business, you reaffirm to your customers, your people and your stakeholders that digital transformation is a priority. You state that every action in the future roadmap leads to agile and digital-first working methods, earmark funding and help recruit the best talent and partners in the sector to make your vision a reality. It takes collective vision to shift a traditional financial provider mindset into a radically changed innovative digital culture. Strong top down leadership is vital to make success happen, with the right partner steering your vision every step of the way.

The boldest incumbents and challenger banks are taking cue from FinTechs, mirroring their agility and born-in-the-cloud best practice to overcome legacy challenges and red-tape laden showstoppers that dampen customer experiences.

Data driven customer experiences, with a human touch

Digital transformation in banking today is connected, blending people, culture and technology to provide personalised service, slick and connected operations that service the customer how they want, when they want and where they want it. It’s speedy and agile, data-driven, with a human touch. Banking executives and the c-suite are under tremendous pressure to keep up and ensure a coherent digital strategy delivers on corporate vision. For more information on improving customer experience and gaining competitive advantage in Banking, join our webinar on Thursday 20th June @ 11 am.