Redspire and Virgin Money have announced a new strategic FinTech partnership, which will support the development of the Bank’s digital proposition for the new Virgin Money Business current account.

The collaboration supports the development of new digital solutions, brought to life upon Microsoft Cloud Business Applications capabilities. It forms part of Virgin Money’s commitment to the recent £35m award from the Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) Capability and Innovation Fund.

Virgin Money has created a ‘Working Capital Health’ proposition which transforms its existing business current account offering into a financial wellness tracker for SMEs. The offer combines dynamic views across an SME’s working capital cycle, with a set of working capital solutions; all backed up by proactive relationship management and a unique ecosystem of capability partners.

Redspire is the second of the Bank’s partners to be announced, and they will also work alongside the Bank’s key strategic technology partner, Microsoft.

Billy Lyle, CEO at Redspire, and engagement lead with Virgin Money, said “We’re delighted to be announced as Virgin Money’s technology partner, alongside our own partners at Microsoft. It’s been a year like no other for all businesses in the UK, but Virgin Money have shown real adaptability and resilience, as well as commitment to delivering for their customer base. Years’ worth of digital transformation has taken place in months rather than in years in 2020. My team is excited to continue to drive meaningful change with the limitless power of the Microsoft stack.”

Gavin Opperman, Group Business Director at Virgin Money, followed: “Following our successful application to the BCR Capability and Innovation Fund, we have been moving forward with Virgin Money Business, which will be ready for launch early in 2021.

“Collaboration is key to our success and I am pleased to welcome Redspire onto our extended team. We have a strong relationship with Redspire and place great value on their agility and ability to respond to our needs. I look forward to working with them as we continue to build our Working Capital Health proposition.”

Andrew Falconer, Programme Sponsor at Virgin Money added: “Redspire typify the kind of business we aim to partner with.  Focused entirely on the customer, they bring creativity and imagination to the development of solutions, and have shown an enormous degree of flexibility and commitment to supporting Virgin Money change the landscape for SME banking in the UK.”

The launch of Virgin Money Business will mark the arrival of the Virgin brand into the business current account market for the first time. Alongside additional large-scale investment, it will enable the Group to become a true disruptor in the SME banking market and offer UK customers a meaningful alternative to the incumbent banks.

About Virgin Money

Virgin Money is the new disruptive force in UK banking. Bringing together the combined history and expertise of Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank and Virgin Money, they are the only bank outside the ‘Big 5’ that boasts a genuine full-service personal and business banking capability.

The Bank serves 6.5 million customers across the UK through a digital-first approach that offers leading online and mobile services, supported by telephone and branch banking, including a national network of branches and business banking centres.

Virgin Money are structured around three divisions – personal, mortgages and business – offering a full range of products and services for consumers and small and medium sized businesses, delivered through our leading technology platform to deliver a consistently world class experience for customers. Their overarching ambition is to disrupt the status quo in UK consumer and business banking.

About Redspire

Redspire is an IT Consultancy, based in Glasgow, specialising in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform technologies.

As part of the Microsoft account managed teams, Redspire work collaboratively to drive future-proofing digital transformation, improved processes and help businesses understand and engage with teams, customers, clients and partners. With particularly strong capabilities in Financial Services, Redspire’s client base includes the Money and Pensions Service, Beazley and Virgin Money.

Read about our previous client success with CYBG/Virgin Money.

Want to talk all things Power Platform or Dynamics 365? Get in touch with us by emailing us at info@redspire.co.uk.

The hires meet planned growth targets for the year, despite COVID-19 interruptions and challenges to mid-year on-boarding.

Expanded teams will help meet increasing demand from new and existing Financial Services clients.

Redspire, a Microsoft Gold Partner announced 18 new hires today, to support continued growth within their Financial Services business units.

The Glasgow and London based firm, led by CEO and founder Billy Lyle has secured a number of significant new client wins in Banking, Insurance and Capital Markets groups this year.

Today’s announcement comes on the tail of their year-end results which highlight 39% turnover growth on previous year.

The firm commented that strategic, on-going transformation continues to be a prime focus for their FSI clients, despite the very real challenges faced by the sector due to coronavirus.

Since March, the firm have also led a number of tactical projects to support business continuity throughout the pandemic. These include a partnership with Beazley, the specialist Insurer, to help Brokers and Underwriters stay connected when lockdown closed the Lloyd’s of London trading floor.

CEO Billy Lyle said: “It’s been a rollercoaster of a year for all businesses in the UK but our clients in Financial Services have shown real resilience. We’re very fortunate to be working through these challenges with them, making best use of the tech available and to be able to grow the team and offer employment opportunities during the pandemic, when many people are looking for work.”

He continues: “Right now, years worth of transformation is happening with every month that passes. The demand for strategic, continuous transformation is greater than ever, in addition to the at-pace projects that are helping the sector meet new and evolving challenges the pandemic poses. The Microsoft cloud and suite of business applications has risen to the challenge.”

“Now, that the market has adapted to new ways of working, we’ve turned our focus back to investing in talent in our technical, delivery and commercial teams. This ensures we have the capacity to meet the strategic requirements our clients’ like Virgin Money and Golden Charter have in 2021 and beyond.”

Services Director Steven Brown said: “Like many businesses, these past few months haven’t been without their difficulties. However, we’re working hard with our clients through times of uncertainty and shifting technology needs to support their people, customers and operations.

“Like many technology-first companies, we’re fortunate to have the infrastructure to be able to switch to remote working practically overnight and help our clients maintain service levels. Now, we can now focus our attention on growing our team and hitting the ground running with strategic projects as we head into 2021.”

Redspire is an IT Consultancy, specialising in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform technologies. As part of the Microsoft account managed teams, Redspire work collaboratively to drive future-proofing digital transformation, improve processes and help businesses understand and engage with teams, customers, clients and partners. With particularly strong capabilities in Financial Services, their client base includes the Money and Pensions Service, Beazley and Virgin Money.

As the businesses slowly recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, UK Financial Services leaders are taking stock of the strategic digital priorities that best steer resilience in the months and years ahead.

The pandemic has accelerated digital change in all areas of the sector, with focus on rapid implementations that maintain business continuity and connect people and processes. A key area for immediate investment is agent enablement, made possible by Microsoft Dynamics and the Power Platform.

The enabled agent: driving customer engagement in Financial Services

Enabled agents aren’t an especially new strategy in Financial Services. Retail banks adopted first-stage iterations of omnichannel agent enablement early, as a strategic customer experience differentiator. With the concept proven and covid-19 driving at pace adoption, business banking, insurers and investment banks are fast realising the value of connected communications and unified data infrastructures.

Eight key features of enabled, connected agents in Financial Services

  1. The human touch: live agents

Previously the frontline of customer contact, live service agents remain a precious commodity in Financial Services. Growth in automation and unified data centres makes managing their routine daily tasks easier to complete, leaving these teams free to concentrate on higher value customer interactions. Whether resolving high touch queries or assisting through difficult decision making processes, live agents can transition prospects through a sale, connect customers to compliance automations, direct to Power Apps Portals to self-serve or offer digital document sign functionality.

This human touch where required builds trust and loyalty and delivers meaningful customer experiences. Recent Accenture research indicates that 71% of respondents’ value being able to raise a complaint to a human advisor. Nearly a third of those surveyed found specialist mortgage advice important. One fifth wanted access to other specialist advisors via videoconferencing.

Constantly evolving capabilities make all of this possible. For example, Microsoft Teams and the Power Platform can connect advisors and customers in digital meeting rooms, removing the need for bricks and mortar meeting space.

  1. Bot and AI supported journeys: virtual agents

Virtual Agents are the new frontline of customer service. Where live agents are customer advocates, provide emotionally intelligent services and build loyalty in Financial Services, Virtual Agents can provide a first point of contact for low touch customer queries and 24/7 self-service, reducing pressure on the contact centre. Connected to customer data, FAQs and knowledge bases, bots and Virtual Agents can provide accurate information, report on sentiment and leverage AI insights.

Blended emotional and artificial intelligence doesn’t just provide productivity gains and cost savings, it maximises resources. It ensures customers can access the services they need, at the right time, on the platform of their choice. With people and AI utilising the same data and knowledge sources, service levels and information shared remain consistent and correct at each touchpoint.

  1. Centralised knowledge bases: authoritative agents

Unified web content, helpdesks and knowledge centres are the beating heart of agent enablement. Leverage with AI insights, self-serve and process automations to deliver outstanding service. Instead of laborious and complex financial product and service training, focus agent training on the basics first and how to curate live and compliant source materials, product information and playbooks.

This knowledgebase content can be surfaced through one unified interface, produced and version controlled between the relevant product, marketing and risk teams. Customer queries can be resolved fast by enabled agents – live or virtual – and also accessed in self-service portals or online. Live agents and managers can be confident that they’re providing accurate information in every transaction. Customers benefit from consistent experiences and 24/7 access to accurate information across all channels.

  1. Educate and inform: empowered agents, empowering customers

Access to this wealth of financial product and service information integrated with AI insights, sentiment analysis and next best action guidance educates and informs customers. Enabled agents are empowered to provide the financial information customers need, when they need it on the appropriate channel. Financial literacy, inclusion and well-being are particularly nice side-benefits of increased access to such information. Customers are empowered by the ability to research or self-serve the content they require, 24/7 and make informed financial decisions. The business benefits from a rich sales pipeline, even before the customer has spoken to a seller.

  1. Single customer view: all seeing agents

Enabled agents help service customers and facilitate a people-centric organisation. Access to unified real time data unlocks valuable insights and powers hyper-personal customer experiences. Unify these rich insights across the full range of channels to get a live, 360-degree single customer view. Predict needs and behaviours based on historical transaction data, channel preferences, product enquiries and renewal dates to maximise customer lifetime value. Augment the system to meet your needs with Power Automate and get rich reports with Power BI.

  1. Meet customers where they are: social agents

Ever-growing numbers of Banks, FinTechs and Insurers offer in-app communications on private social channels like Messenger and Whatsapp, whilst public-facing social media is an extremely valuable service tool. Microsoft Cognitive Services enables agents to monitor sentiment towards financial products, service levels and brand and respond proactively where appropriate to manage customer satisfaction or resolve small fires before they reach crisis level.

  1. Income generation: sales agents

Enabled service agents can feed the sales pipeline by identifying opportunity and following machine learning and AI-driven next best actions to meet customer live needs. Cross-departmental single customer view and connectivity allows enabled agents to make smart recommendations, complete transactions or hand over to experienced sellers to pick up the lead.

  1. Have it your way: omnichannel agents

Cross-channel customer engagement isn’t a nice to have in Financial Services 2021, it’s minimum service level. Enabled Financial Service agents are set up to transact and interact with customers across voice, email, chat, bot, in-app, social, portal and other self-serve channels. Omnichannel for Customer Service supports an always-on customer experience, treating each customer journey as a single transaction made up of a series of multi-channel interactions in the full customer environment. See the tools in action in the video below.

About Redspire and the Microsoft partnership

Redspire are a CRM Consultancy and Microsoft Gold Partner, specialising in Dynamics 365 and The Power Platform. We partner with the UK’s leading Financial Services organisations to lead them through powerful digital transformation, improved operations and process automation with CRM and Microsoft’s suite of business applications. The Redspire team of solutions architects, consultants, developers and support professionals are all Microsoft accredited with specialist knowledge on the tools and solutions limitless capabilities. We’re driven creating impactful business outcomes for our clients, not just system and embedding the technology within your teams for enhanced user adoption. For more information on Agent Enablement, watch the on-demand Customer Service webinar with Iain Kennedy or get in touch with us on 0845 226 8170 or email us at info@redspire.co.uk.

Since Microsoft released hundreds of brand new AI-infused capabilities for Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform, we’ve focused heavily on the opportunity for automation and process improvement within Banking and Insurance. This article focuses on Power Apps for Banking and the four Power Apps components driving improved Customer Experience in branch and other omni-channel touchpoints.

In The ROI of CX Transformation, August 2019, Forrester’s CX Index shows that in the banking industry, improving customer experience is highly correlated with increasing all three types of loyalty; retention (keeping more customers), enrichment (cross-sell and upsell), and advocacy (word of mouth).

The Power Platform’s new low-code, no-code toolkit is opening up citizen development and empowering business users – often the people closest to a problem or process – to proactively seek solutions and improvements in real-time. What does this mean for improved Customer Experience? Well, it removes the need to engage in costly and lengthy development processes and means the power to continually improve and deliver customer delight lies in the hands of your authorised business users, not just external and internal development teams.

Power Apps for Banking

Power Apps within the Power Platform is a tool that really opens up the capability to deliver incredible experiences within the financial services sector. As we seen in a recent Power Platform for insurance claims scenario, creating customer-facing portals that automate next step actions, integrated with and connected to the valuable data that sits within disparate teams and systems in your business, provides robust processes that give customers confidence and increase satisfaction scores considerably.

One of the key tools within the Power Platform is Power Apps. Power Apps for Banking scenarios allows users to pro-actively and reactively build high productivity custom-apps same day, connecting to existing data and systems and solving specific processes and business needs. Teams across the business – from analysts to developers – work more efficiently together and solve problems with intuitive visual tools that don’t require code, on any device.

The four key components of Power Apps

  • Canvas apps are highly tailored apps that allow you to optimise different tasks and roles. Begin with the user experience to create a bespoke interface with the power of a blank canvas and connect it to up to 200 data sources. Users can build canvas apps for web, mobile, and tablet applications, making use of a wide range of controls like camera and location services.
  • Model-driven apps are more sophisticated than Canvas apps. Begin with your data model and build upwards from core business data and processes in the Common Data Service to model forms, views, charts, Power BI dashboards and other components. Model-driven apps automatically generate great UI that is responsive across all devices.
  • Portals are low-code externally-facing web landing pages that users outside your business – like customers, partners and third party agents – to sign in with a wide variety of identities, create and view data in the Common Data Service, or even browse content anonymously.
  • Common Data Service is the data platform that comes with Power Apps and allows you to store and model business data. Dynamics 365 applications are built on the CDS, meaning if you’re already using Dynamics, your data is Power Platform ready.

The value of the in-branch banking experience in a digital world

The value of resolving a customer query in-branch is immeasurable for gaining trust and loyalty. In a 2019 global survey into the value of bank branches in a digital world, Deloitte found that despite branch density declining, the branch experience influences customer satisfaction more than online or mobile channels. This impact on satisfaction levels was true across all products ranges and surprisingly uniform across generations, from boomers to millennials.

Power Apps for Banking: Transforming the in-branch banking experience

Bank branches can make use of digital tools like Power Apps to meet and resolve customer needs in real time. Moving away from paper based or basic legacy system appointment systems, custom-apps can be built and accessed by greeters in-branch and connected to the Dynamics 365 Common Data Service to identify the best staff member to resolve the query, accurately estimate waiting time and fulfil the customer needs during the visit.

The in-branch Power Apps scenario

  1. Customer enters the branch and is met by a greeter with a Power Apps tablet application connected to the Common Data Service, using Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement contact entities for storing information about queued customers and system users to search employee shift patterns.
  2. Branch greeter enters data and searches the Power App for the customer account and can see which customer service agents are on duty today, who is best placed to resolve the query and even look up who’s on lunch and when they’re due back at their desk.
  3. Using these data sources and Azure functions that constantly read and refresh this information and existing customer handling times, the app can accurately predict how long the customer would need to wait for to be seen, as well as project a per-person forecast about when each waiting customer will be served.
  4. Power App Canvas apps can be set up to manage queue and customer service agent availability data and match customers with the correct agent. The greeter is served with wait time forecasting for new customers who arrive in-branch.
  5. If the customer can’t be seen on the spot, the greeter is able to set up a text notification, powered by Power Automate, which will be sent when the agent becomes available, holding the appointment for the customer too.
  6. Additionally, the greeter can check waiting times and availability in other nearby stores if the customer would like this option.
  7. Data on the customer query can be entered by the greeter and sent directly to the customer service agent, meaning the customer doesn’t need to explain their issue twice and the customer service agent has some preparation time before face-to-face with customer.
  8. The agent can also review previous interactions and transactions on the account or search knowledge articles or playbooks on resolutions to these types of queries.
  9. Data and insights can be shared to constantly updating reports on average waiting times per customer and customer service agent. Heat maps and trigger points can be set up to alert when additional staff are required or need to be redeployed from other areas of the business.
  10. As an extension to Dynamics 365, data risk, compliance and security processes like GDPR are already covered within the solution.
  11. Additionally, customer feedback can be gathered by the greeter and fed back into the system via the app, quickly and easily.

Redspire and the Financial Services Industry

This short scenario is barely scratching the surface of the capabilities of the Power Platform for banking. If you’re ready to explore the tools further, Redspire and Microsoft have joined forces on a co-hosted webinar series that showcases how to put low-code, no code, point and click technologies in business users’ hands with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. Watch the webinar on-demand now and if you want to see the tools in action, view the follow up demo too.

We love to chat about digital transformation for Customer Experience. If you’d like to find out more about how Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform can support your FSI organisation through its next phase of digital transformation, get in touch with our team of specialists today on 0845 226 8170 or email us at info@redspire.co.uk.

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.

“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.

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.

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.

 

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.