2 min read

What’s new in Microsoft Dynamics 365 wave 2?

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The October 2019 Dynamics 365 wave 2 release for Dynamics 365 is, as expected, is a love story to Microsoft’s continued investment in AI and commitment to industry and commerce. The release brings a whole host of AI-infused and industry specific capabilities and brand new world-class innovations that provide meaningful capabilities to digitally transform organisations of all shapes and sizes.

The enhancements and improvements to Dynamics 365 suite of applications include hundreds of brand new capabilities across the usual business process applications.

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Customer Service
  • Field Service
  • Project Service Automation
  • Finance
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Talent
  • Retail
  • Business Central

Microsoft October 2019 release for Dynamics 365 wave 2

We recently shared an article covering AI driven sales insights, market insights and customer insights capabilities and enhancements. Additional release announcements include Dynamics 365 Product Insights, which connects product telemetry to Microsoft Business Applications, bringing valuable in-branch, store-level insights and gives 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 will now allow organisations to generate powerful insights into complex B2B journeys too and understand and serve leads and accounts better.

At Redspire HQ, we’re very excited about Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service. This is a vital tool to deliver enhanced customer service and experience, and is improved with with brand 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 experience.

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

The Power Platform

The Power Platform is bringing unbelievable new hands on automation and innovation superpowers to organisations and internal teams globally. The new wave 2 capabilities really extend their reach and maximise the power of AI for everyone from pro-devs to front of house teams. Read more in yesterday’s Power Platform article or get in touch with us to find out more.

About Redspire 

Whilst just scratching the surface of the top tier Dynamics 365 wave 2 enhancements here, our technical team are delving deep into the new capabilities to bring them to our clients. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, leading business transformation in Banking, Insurance, Government and FMCG, we know Dynamics 365 inside out and we love getting under the hood of our clients’ businesses to innovate, automate and return on your digital investment.

To read more about the Microsoft technologies driving digital business transformation, download our guide today. To discuss how Dynamics 365 and the latest technologies from the Microsoft stack can transform your business, please get in touch with our team of specialist Microsoft-accredited consultants today for an informal chat. Ask about our suite of on-site business transformation workshops. Call 0845 226 8170 or email info@redspire.co.uk.

 

 

6 min read

Digitising Data in Insurance

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In today’s digital-first world, our way of life is constantly evolving. How each of us is connected to each other, the companies we use, the goods and services we procure and how they’re delivered to us today looks very different to the digital landscape of just a year or two ago.

Despite a cautious approach in the early days of digital transformation, digitising data in insurance is well underway. As with the wider Financial Services sector, insurance is in a process of on-going, accelerated change, and it’s steering how the c-suite approach operations and policyholder service delivery. As insurance goes digital, competition for customer spend and attention is fierce, bringing opportunity to differentiate on brand proposition, service and experience. The onus isn’t just on attracting and retaining customers, it’s on ensuring a unified experiences across the entire portfolio.

Recent research by Microsoft has shows that 76 per cent of customers and prospects have researched your website or done a web search on their query, before they make contact with an insurer. Bruce McKee, financial services industry manager at Microsoft UK says: “By the time they’re on the phone, they already know a lot about the products they want so they’re likely to ask more difficult questions and expect increasing levels of expertise from staff.”

For your insurance business to not just survive but truly thrive, the c-suite are encouraged to focus energies and investment on building CRM driven service and operations. Create a digital-first culture, implement new technologies that drive meaningful interaction to truly transform the systems and processes that drive employee, intermediary and customer engagement. To find out more, read our Digital Insurer white paper today, watch our Digital Transformation in Insurance video series, or sign up for our Digitising Data in Insurance blog series, direct to your inbox.

  1. Deliver omni -channel user experiences via a customer centric CRM to gain competitive advantage and drive long-term customer and agent loyalty

When you place your insurance customers at the heart of an interactive business ecosystem, where they can contact you on their channel of choice, as and when they choose, with a unified cross-channel response and real time knowledge and understanding of their needs and issues; you create an immersive sales and service environment that engages. Customer experiences that can’t fail to stick.

Microsoft’s suite of business application tools are delivering these experiences in the insurance sector. Microsoft Dynamics 365 unifies insurance customer data in real time and integrates with tools like Unified Service Desk, Power BI and PowerApps to help build communication networks that drive sales, inspire loyalty, encourage satisfaction and increase customer lifetime value. Digital self-service via low and no code apps, developed rapidly in-house increases team productivity whilst empowering the customer to transact on their own terms, often without ever needing to engage with an agent.

Additionally, the data insights leveraged across these communication tools, from agent channels and customer portals, to mobile, social and web interactions build an invaluable 360-degree view of your customer and their needs. Predicative AI and relationship insights tools support by taking the guesswork out what of your customer needs and next step actions are. When those insights are available to your people, customers are provided with pro-active consultative support and sales conversations land with razor sharp precision.

Looking at the claims process, that single version of the truth and the productivity tools of Dynamics 365, Unified Service Desk and O365 can speed up the claims process, allowing remote assessment, works management and completion, often without the need for loss adjuster visits.

  1. Creating digital workplaces that empower relationships and service excellence

End user customers aren’t the only winners of a unified data system. Unlike other financial networks, in insurance the eco-system contains third party agents and intermediaries that often aren’t directly employed by the firm. Building loyalty and delivering smooth operations to these stakeholders and third parties is imperative to the bottom line.

That interconnectivity of the business, agents and policyholders can be achieved with bespoke portals that feed in directly to the Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM, connecting household data and documents with the correct product and service at the right price point.

It goes without saying that ease of service is under serious scrutiny at this point in the sale. With customers often talking to a number of insurers, both price and experience are key differentiators. Additionally, intermediaries will naturally steer towards the platforms that provide them with great accessibility and experience and the ability to sell, connect and close quicker.

Unified communication via handheld devices, easy access to product and service information, forms and eSign capabilities that connect product, agent, system and customer can replace a laptop or desktop without compromising on service levels. On an access as required status that secures sensitive customer data.

  1. Providing accurate real-time insights

Real time insights provided by Dynamics 365 allows you to unify all of your customer data, applications, claims and complaints into one easily accessible system. With Dynamics data insights you can better understand customers, accelerate applications and decisions; create personalised insurance offers; gain a 360-degree view of internal and external data, predict customer needs and provide custom solutions.

With constant advances in the tech and new bi-annual releases, teams can progress action and help when there is trouble, automate processes and augment human ingenuity with AI and cognitive capabilities to meet customers where they are.

For call centre staff, access to these insights and unified service data help provide a pro-active service to consumers who are informed and often quite far down a sales pipeline via their own personal research. Microsoft Unified Service Desk collates data from the legacy sources and knowledge materials that help agents answer tricky questions and fulfil customer needs. Data insights impact all areas of customer delivery and improve profitability. Eradicating ageing systems and disparate silos also helps reduce over and under pricing and monitor fraud, depreciating trends and unnecessary claims payouts that are impacting your bottom line.

Digital disruption and transformation is in motion from the top down, and across the financial services and insurance sector, everything is to play for. From new market entrants to established High Street names, insurance firms globally are rapidly accelerating and shape shifting into highly focused, strategically planned, modern and agile institutions.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the wider Microsoft ecosystem is steering differentiated customer journeys and operational success. In a rapidly evolving business environment where the strongest and most innovation hungry institutions will thrive and survive, the question is: ‘How does your organisation’s digital strategy stack up?’

At Redspire, when we partner with you, we become your dedicated Dynamics partner throughout your whole improvement journey. We have particularly strong capabilities in Financial Services, FMCG, Government, and Third Sector and we 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 and our expertise in Dynamics 365 and the wider Microsoft ecosystem within insurance firms like Ellipse, Saffron and The Judge, we help our clients achieve operational excellence and project delivery that promises return on investment.

Want to find out more? Download The Digital Insurer white paper today. If you’re ready to chat, contact us on 0845 226 8170 or email us at info@redspire.co.uk. We’ll get back to you right away.

8 min read

The Digital Insurer: Top 10 Microsoft Dynamics tools and integrations that every Board level insurer should know about

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With online retailer Amazon famously releasing new functionality to its website every eleven seconds, it’s clear that continuous technological change is at the heart of customer service and experience. Regardless of the space you operate in, keeping pace digitally is vital to keep customer satisfaction high.

In insurance, the Board and c-suite are under increasing pressure to keep up. And not just with the current tech driving customer satisfaction, but also the change-making tech looming on the horizon. Customer demand coupled with cost pressures and the needs to provide a modern technology-led workplace to executives and third party intermediaries creates an insurance workplace that requires a robust technology strategy. Insurers who will succeed will have an appetite for continus innovation and change that goes far beyond simple lead nurture and risk management.

Thankfully, Microsoft have worked hard to enable insurance firms of all shapes, sizes and budgets to keep pace. The tech giant has created a range of fully integrated solutions and tools that provide increased collaboration and productivity from teams and intermediaries. All alongside the ability to map and enhance business processes and drive continuous improvement and automation.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform include a range of bolt-on technologies that unify data, tech and people. These transformative tools enhance all aspects of the insurance business and enable a 24/7 customer experience that sticks.

Read on for just a few of the key tools that are evolving the digital insurance space. For more information of the new and emerging technologies we’re deploying via our partnerships with the UK’s leading insurers, download our Digital Insurer white paper, watch our video series or sign up for our up and coming detailed blogs series on the individual tools below, direct to your inbox.

  1. Customer Service Insights: enhanced service and reduced costs

With AI and data driven customer service insights, the customer journey from on-boarding to reporting a claim and case management is set up to cater to the customer’s every need. Set 24/7 communication choices to suit customer preferences via Apps, Portals, data-driven Bots and seamless email processes straight into CRM. Your team’s productivity is improved, whilst being available for heavier touch contact when required. With agents accessing the same real-time data, your customers will receive consistent service levels. Decreasing CSAT scores monitoring,

SLA monitoring and enhanced business intelligence dashboards that identify trending call centre activity, means that you’re always on top of any potential issues before they get out of hand. And you can even quickly configure and deploy simple bot activity to resolve issues, whilst measuring individual or collective customer sentiment via cognitive services. Delivering on your customer’s needs and resolving claims and complaints effectively and in a timely manner creates that emotional connection that drives much sought after brand loyalty.

  1. Sharepoint Online: secure, regulatory compliant document storage

With the insurance sector processing millions of auditable pieces of data each day, it’s essential to have a safe, secure space to house these digital paper trails. With risk and data protection and GDPR regulation at front of mind, Microsoft recently enhanced its document storage offering. Sharepoint Online uses AI to identify sensitive information, encrypt where required and watermark and categorise documents. Integrating neatly into Dynamics 365, the application and claims process all sits within the secure Microsoft framework, benefitting from world-class security and classifications immediately.

  1. Relationship insights: Close deals and manage relationships with AI

Microsoft Relationship Insights builds strong relationships not just between customers and relationship managers, but also helping drive productive, effective networks between insurance teams, stakeholders, intermediaries and brokers. Going far beyond nurturing and close deals, the AI that’s housed within the CRM and email systems analyses and highlights trends and sentiment for appropriate action. Additionally, the user is served reminders on next steps required without having to manually set tasks or create events, enhancing productivity and ensuring no opportunities are missed.

  1. Office 365: Seamless productivity and team building business applications

With brokers in the field working directly with agents in call centres across disparate geographical locations, staying connected is vital. Office 365 combines office tools like Excel, Word and Outlook Exchange and introduces new, innovative productivity tools like Microsoft Teams. Teams provides a full collaboration space for online meetings, phone calls, video conferencing, document sharing, screen sharing and so much more. Easy to use across all devices, and integrated with rich data application Delve and the Dynamics 365 CRM, Office 365 is a much under-utilised tool in the insurance space. Yet it’s one our clients are seeing huge productivity value and benefits from once we steer them towards using to it’s full capability.

  1. Sales Navigator: social selling that turns relationships into sales

Get rich insight into your current and potential clients and the broker network by connecting Dynamics 365 to your LinkedIn account. When Microsoft purchased LinkedIn for $26billion, they combined the winning formula of Dynamics 365 and Sales Navigator to help Relationship Managers create warm connections and close deals faster. With huge success in Financial Services, the insurance sector should follow suit to differentiate, accelerate relationships, increase deal sizes and improve win rates.

  1. PowerApps: Putting business applications processes in your development team’s hands

Our top pick for the future and some exciting new features coming in the next wave. PowerApps is relatively new to market but revolutionising app development within the insurance and financial services space. With PowerApps, in-house developers can bring task-driven mobile apps and model-driven data apps to market as soon as they need, greatly reducing development time to market as well as partner development costs. Our clients are using PowerApps in the field to allow loss adjusters or even customer self-reporting of claims, with the capability to upload photos of damaged assets direct to CRM for attention via a simple, secure, bespoke built app. Claims can be validated quickly and efficiently, increasing customer satisfaction.

Many insurers are also using model driven apps to manage compliance and underwriting processes, connecting with tools like Flow to build out the entire process as a seamless extension of the Dynamics CRM.

  1. Marketing Insights: AI powered insights

Understand what your customers feel about your products and services, the claims process and your brand with Marketing Insights. Insurance services can be emotive, as you hold the security of people’s homes, cars and travel, or in commercial insurance, high value sums and risk in your hands. Marketing insights pulls the sentiment from your own online mentions, allowing you to take action and shape shape future service levels and marketing activity. Track what competitors are up to too, cut through the noise of what doesn’t interest you and find out what’s trending in insurance at the click of a button.

  1. Adobe Sign: digital document share and sign that closes more deals, faster.

One of the biggest tech giant partnerships of recent times, Microsoft and Adobe joined forces to collaborate on Marketing Cloud and Adobe Sign, increasing lead quality and quote volume and speeding up insurance customer on-boarding. Integrating fully into Dynamics 365, Dynamics can feed new and cross-sell insurance customer data from the CRM. Create, prepare and share digital documents for signing in seconds, rather than days or often weeks before they were returned. Conversions are improved, drop off reduces and customers benefit from a slick digital service and insurance coverage as and when they need it.

  1. Power BI: Enhanced Business Intelligence, visualised

Gartner’s top performing BI tool for the 13th year running, Power BI is the best way to understand what the data you hold on your clients, broker performance and teams actually means in the here and now. Part of the Power Platform, turn insights into action and data led decision-making across every department, from relationship management to risk and compliance, when you combine PowerApps, Power BI, and Microsoft Flow.

  1. Portals: safe are secure self-serve communication with great impact on ROI

Reduce costs and increase productivity and experience by connecting to your partners or customers to the business via bespoke build, secure data-sharing portals. Manage your broker relationships, share insights or information on claims, policies, renewals and customers.

Adapting to the ever-changing digital landscape in insurance

As with the wider Financial Services sector, insurance is in a process of on-going, accelerated change, and it’s steering how the c-suite approach operations and policyholder service delivery. As insurance goes digital, competition for customer spend and attention is fierce, bringing opportunity to differentiate on brand proposition, service and experience. The onus isn’t just on attracting and retaining customers, it’s on ensuring a unified experiences across the entire portfolio.

The cost of not keeping up with the new technologies driving change? Your digital strategy could veer off in the wrong direction or you could rule out initiatives that could be executed in your business quicker and at a lower cost than what you think. Advancing InsureTech is providing innovation hungry transformation teams with the opportunity to breathe life into an evolving sector and engage and deliver slick user experiences like never. To find out more, download The Digital Insurer white paper today or contact us on 0845 226 8170 or email us at info@redspire.co.uk.

3 min read

The Partner Approach to Effective Digital Transformation

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You’ve done your due diligence on how to achieve digital transformation in your sector. Carried out some initial internal needs analysis, scoped out the best CRM options on the market, talked to your best people and cross-referenced their recommendations with Gartner et al. And you’ve identified that Microsoft Dynamics 365, Power BI and the wider Microsoft ecosystem is the clear leader in digital transformation. Not just in terms of CRM and data solutions but as a unified solution to manage your entire business environment and operations.

So, now that you know all about Microsoft Dynamics 365, its limitless integrations and the art of endless possibility within your sector. You know that your competitors are modelling success with Microsoft’s latest technologies. You have a need for internal change, now.

What are the next steps?

The partner approach to digital transformation

Selecting the right business partner for your digital transformation project is an essential part of project success. Choosing a partner who brings a deep understanding of Dynamics 365 and its customisable capabilities and who leads from the front to ensure user adoption will help you model success and yield return on investment from your CRM project.

As well as an expert in the product, it’s vital that you select a partner who’s experienced within your sector, who understand the nuances and challenges of your business and who also has references and success models within your industry. From pre-sales scoping and needs analysis to project and process mapping and build, all the way through to implementation and beyond, a strong partner is the primary key to success. Together you’ll bring together your who, your when and your what.

The benefits of working with a partner

Out the box, Dynamics provides an incredible range of features ready to plug and play by internal IT teams. These include an immersive CRM, smart collaborative tools like Microsoft Teams, Flow, Power Apps and more. But for the UK’s biggest and best brands with unique operational needs, a more customisable approach to CRM and data solutions is required.

The power of the partner approach to digital transformation is that a specialist partner can analyse your business needs and processes, map them against their enhanced knowledge of the system’s capabilities and build a bespoke, customised solution that fulfills your businesses unique needs. The finished product? A system that works exactly as you want it to. With a focus on automation and simplifying processes, your bespoke build CRM can gain thousands of days productivity across the business, enhance customer and stakeholder engagement, increase sales, manage risk and improve operations.

Getting started and selecting the right partner

At Redspire, we become your dedicated Dynamics partner through your whole improvement journey. Our partnership ensures:

  • a bespoke, fit for purpose CRM that fulfils your business needs, after exhaustive discovery and requirements scoping.
  • that project build, implementation and go-live is a success with limited downtime to the business day to day.
  • enhanced user adoption through an immersive user and super-user training programme, designed to fit each individual client’s needs.

About Redspire

We’re a Microsoft Gold Partner with particularly strong capabilities in Financial Services, Retail, 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 Advice Service and operations and field service at Golden Charter and AIG Group, our expertise in Dynamics 365 and the wider Microsoft ecosystem help our clients achieve operational excellence and project delivery that promises return on investment and with measurable KPIs in place from the outset.

To find out more about the partnership approach to Dynamics 365 in your business,  you can contact us on 0845 226 8170 or email info@redspire.co.uk.

3 min read

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AI builder screen

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

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

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

7 min read

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

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

Cloud-native banking and insurance

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

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

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

Cloud CRM or on-premise CRM

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

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

1. Optimised budgets

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

2. World-class, data compliant security

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

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

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

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

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

4. Productive teams and engaged employees

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

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

5. Cross business accessibility

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

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

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.

3 min read

Digital Transformation in Banking: Four Key Solution Areas

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As the financial sector experiences its own shift in priorities in response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, organisations are placing a much larger focus on the technology that will lead them through digital transformation in banking.

Microsoft frame digital transformation through 4 key solution areas:

Modern Workplace

With an increase in new business models, internal processes and a changing environment that encourages wider collaboration, the right digital tools are key to ensuring stability and productivity throughout a period of growth in the banking and financial services sector.

Some of the key integrations like Skype for business and Microsoft Teams strengthen an already diverse and functionally capable Office 365 suite, purposely designed to improve collaboration, creativity and empowerment within cross-departmental functions.

Business Applications

Functional business processes are becoming increasingly digitised as part of an industry evolution for organisational efficiency. The Microsoft solution model is designed to prevent cross-function disconnect and transform the customer journey by equipping individuals with single-view access to collaborative platforms like Dynamics 365, PowerApps and data-driven insights for customer service and marketing.

Digital transformation in banking starts by simply having better access to information, more powerful tools to analyse the data, and the processes in place to infuse it into the decision-making process. This allows banking organisations to better ensure customer acquisition and retention are at the very heart of their overall business objectives.

Applications & Infrastructure

Cloud-based infrastructure has become one of the main areas of investment within Microsoft over the last year. The Azure platform is a complementary solution that helps empower banking organisations to build business applications into the very core of their business. The multi-device accessibility and functionality is a crucial component of digital transformation in banking; building a streamlined mobile experience for customers, based on their interests and behaviour.

With such a huge emphasis on security and the privacy of customer data within the banking industry, the Azure cloud solution features safeguarding tools like threat intelligence, information protection and multi-step authorisation to ensure absolute safety to both the user and the data subject featured within the application.

Data & Artificial Intelligence

Modern-day business change is driven by data and insight. By combining this data with AI applications, banking organisations can leverage process automation to better service customers immediate needs. As customer experience becomes a more prominent consideration in decision-making, financial services organisations will be in a better position to offer more personalised recommendations on all touchpoints and product and service offerings by utilising the data analysis and AI relationship within the Microsoft technology suite.

Watch our video below for a short overview of the key solution areas and their impact in Banking:

Choosing the right Dynamics Partner

Choosing the right Microsoft Dynamics partner for your customer experience project is an essential part of success. It’s vital that you select a partner experienced within your sector, who understand the nuances and challenges of your business and who has references and success models within your industry. From pre-sales scoping and needs analysis to, project and process mapping and build… all the way through to implementation and beyond, a strong partner is the primary key to success.

Redspire have particularly strong capabilities in 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 Advice Service and operations and field service at Golden Charter, our expertise in Dynamics 365 and the wider Microsoft ecosystem help our clients achieve operational excellence and project delivery that improves bottom lines.

Join our upcoming webinar: “Driving Change and Meaningful Customer Engagement in Financial Services with Dynamics 365” to dig deeper into how your own business can leverage the technology to better steer customer-focused organisational change.

1 min read

The State of Public Sector Digital Transformation 2019

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Redspire, Bridgeall and Exactive recently collaborated to host a Microsoft Gold Partner round table event chaired by Future Digital Leaders Director, Dr Jim Hamill. The interactive session presented scenarios covering the public sector workplace of the future.

We invited Public and Third Sector digital leaders to share insights and challenges relating to digital transformation across public service delivery discuss the tools that have helped them drive effective organisational change and improve citizen engagement.

Forum delegates were able to participate in live audience polling, open group discussions and Dr Hamill recorded the findings into a short white paper, The State of Public Sector Transformation 2019.

Download the white paper to read how to accelerate the digital transformation of public service delivery in Scotland and explore key findings from the round table, including:

  • Sector-wide acceptance that digital will deliver more cost efficient, agile and citizen focused public services.
  • The stark truth that less than half of public sector organisations are viewing digital transformation as mission critical and only 26 per cent of organisations have an agreed digital transformation roadmap in place.
  • How to eradicate the worst symptoms of productivity busting hierarchical and bureaucratic pre-digital public sector workplaces.
  • How to embrace innovation and overcome dated legacy systems.

Read more about how Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the latest Microsoft technologies are driving change in the public sector. Get in touch with us today to find out how the Redspire partner approach created organisational efficiencies and improved citizen and stakeholder engagement at one of the UK’s largest public sector organisations.

Download the whitepaper

3 min read

Switch on Dynamics 365 V10 in 7 easy steps!

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For Microsoft Dynamics Partners and clients who are keen to access the newest Dynamics V10 upgrade features but are unable to find out how to “switch it on,” help is at hand with our 7-step guide.

Below, Redspire’s Technical Director Rick Lyle will demonstrate how to find the switch and apply it to one of your sandboxes. Always test out your upgrades in a sandbox and not your production instance!

Step 1

First of all, go to the new Power Platform Admin Centre. This area is still in preview but that’s where the switch is.

To get there you can either:

  • Navigate to the Dynamics 365 Admin Centre (https://port.crm11.dynamics.com/G/Instances/InstancePicker.aspx, the “11” part is our instances in the UK, if your instance isn’t housed in the UK substitute, using your corresponding country code) and from there click on the banner that says: “There’s a better way to manage your instances. Try the new Admin center” and it’ll take you to the new centre

OR

Either way will take you to the interface below:

Step 2

Once you’ve navigated your way to the Power Platform Admin Centre, click on Environments (this is the new label for what we in the Dynamics world usually call Instances however this doesn’t become clear until you get to the relevant screen. Once you do that you’ll see the list of your Dynamics Instances as below:

Step 3

It’s easy to get a little bit lost at this stage, as it’s not the most intuitive journey.

DO NOT go to…>settings! IF you do, you’ll find lots of options that feel like they could be the right thing but end up taking you down the wrong route. Instead, click on the name of the instance that you want to upgrade to V10. It’ll take you to the screen below:

Step 4

In the Updates section, click on Manage and you’ll get the screen below:

Step 5

Make REALLY, REALLY sure you’ve selected the right instances. Be especially sure that it’s definitely not your production instance because as the warning states, this is a one-way process. Then hold your breath and click Activate Now.

Step 6

If you accidentally selected your production instance, because you didn’t heed my warning above or Microsoft’s warning next to the activate button, then there’s one last chance to save yourself!

When trying to upgrade a production instance to V10, you’ll get the popup below where you have to type in the instance name to switch. Hats off to Microsoft, they are going above and beyond to make sure no one does this accidentally and causes themselves issues.

Step 7

Still holding your breath? Don’t worry, this only takes a few seconds. As we’re now in the land of continual deployment for Dynamics, this isn’t so much an install process as a switch on process. Microsoft have already installed more or less everything in the background.

After a few seconds that’s you switched on and ready for all the great Dynamics 365 V10 goodies!

As you might have guessed, I’ve been going through this process in a trial as I’ve been documenting it. My next steps are to start exploring the new features on V10 and reporting back to you all. I’ll keep you updated with my favourite features and any issues to watch out for over the next few weeks. If you’d like them straight to your inbox, sign up for email updates from myself and the team, or follow me on LinkedIn.

Cheers,

Rick Lyle

Redspire Technical Director