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.

When the developer team aren’t deep in Redspire client work, we’re usually found over at the Virtual Power Group (VPG) developing our technical skills and growing our network. The VPG is a Community Forum for Power Platform and Dynamics 365 users of all levels to come together to share knowledge and best practice.

This month, VPG was joined by Microsoft’s Lucy Bourne to cover the functionality and features of the Wave 2 release in the Microsoft Business Applications stack.

Staying on top of the ever changing platform and their twice yearly updates is a mammoth effort. Lucy’s session gave us a major leg up, with her run through of the features coming to the stack from October onwards.

There are two major releases of functionality to the Microsoft stack in a given year. One in April (Wave 1) and one in October (Wave 2). You can opt in to these features early, or preview in a trial instance. Though please note, once applied it cannot be removed so exercise caution. For existing implementations, it is advised to apply in a Sandbox environment and test that your solutions are not negatively affected by any conflict with new (or potentially retired) functionality. If you want support with this, reach out to a VPG Admin to discuss.

These major release waves do not launch all this new, cool shiny stuff immediately in to your environment – though there will be some. October 1st marks the beginning of the release wave and this functionality is launched – some elective – landing over the coming months up to the next release wave in the following April/October.

During her session, Lucy gave us a fantastic introduction to Power Apps for Teams and a rundown of the major highlights. Some of these were showcased in real-time alongside announcements at Ignite, adding a little extra excitement.

Here’s my highlights from across the main products:

Sales 

  • Mobile Experience Changes
  • Forecasting and Gamification
  • Usability enhancements
  • Sales Insights Updates

Marketing

  • Natural Language Segment Editor
  • Enhanced Customer Journey Canvas
  • Form Submission Enhancements
  • Improved Email Customization
  • and more…

Customer Service

  • Agent Productivity Dash (Multi Session Experience)
  • Omnichannel for Customer Service
  • Integrated Insights with Built In AI
  • Native Call Functionality in Omnichannel Framework

Field Service

  • Insights Dashboard
  • Customer Voice Survey Integration
  • Proactive Service Delivery
  • Scheduling experience improvements
  • Technician Success and mobile app enhancements

ERP/Commerce/Project Ops

  • CDS Integration improvements and various Cross App Capabilities
  • Document and Electronic reporting enhancements
  • Major updates to SCM
  • PayPal Integration for Commerce
  • And upgrade path plan for PSA to Proj Ops

Dynamics HR

  • AAD Integration enhanced
  • CDS Integration with Skills, Certificates, Performance and Benefits
  • Teams Self Service GA and further enhancements

Power Apps and Power Automate

  • Power Virtual Agents available within Power Apps Portals
  • PCF control support in Power Apps Portals
  • LOADS of RPA Capabilities in Power Automate (direct quote)
  • Power Automate Visual in Power BI

This is a session that I’ll not only watch again but be recommending to colleagues and clients to stay ahead of the tsunami of features scheduled to land this October. Watch the replay below.

As ever, I’m so excited to be working in this field where, as it was said on the call tonight, “change is the only constant”.

This article was first published on Viritual Power Group. For more information on forthcoming events, visit the website or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Power Apps is a high-productivity development platform for business apps, and has four major components:

  • Canvas apps
  • Model-driven apps
  • Portals
  • Common Data Service

Microsoft Power Apps is a suite of apps, services, connectors and data platform that provides a rapid application development environment to build custom apps for your business needs. Using Power Apps, you can quickly build custom business apps that connect to your business data stored either in the underlying data platform (Common Data Serviceor in various online and on-premises data sources (SharePoint, Excel, Office 365, Dynamics 365, SQL Server, and so on).

Apps built using Power Apps provide rich business logic and workflow capabilities to transform your manual business processes to digital, automated processes. Further, apps built using Power Apps have a responsive design, and can run seamlessly in browser or on mobile devices (phone or tablet). Power Apps democratizes the custom business app building experience by enabling users to build feature-rich, custom business apps without writing code.

What is a Model Driven App?

Model-driven app design is a component-focused approach to app development. Model-driven app design doesn’t require code and the apps you make can be simple or very complex. Unlike canvas app development where the designer has complete control over app layout, with model-driven apps much of the layout is determined for you and largely designated by the components you add to the app.

Model-driven app design provides the following benefits:

  • Rich component-focused no-code design environments
  • Create complex responsive apps with a similar UI across a variety of devices from desktop to mobile
  • Rich design capability
  • Your app can be distributed as a solution

What is a Canvas App?

Canvas apps start with your user experience, crafting a highly tailored interface with the power of a blank canvas and connecting it to your choice of more than 200 data sources. You can build canvas apps for web, mobile, and tablet applications.

Canvas apps give you the flexibility to arrange the user experience and interface the way you want it. Allow your creativity and business sense to guide how you want your apps to look and feel.

You can start to build your app from Microsoft tools where your data lives, such as:

Creating a canvas app is easy; with Power Apps, you can find or create your app in several ways:

What is Power Apps Portals?

 Portals help you create external-facing websites that allow users outside your organization to sign in with a wide variety of identities, create and view data in Common Data Service, or even browse content anonymously.

What is the Common Data Service

 The Common Data Service is the data platform that comes with Power Apps and allows you to store and model business data. It’s the platform on which Dynamics 365 apps (such as Dynamics 365 Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Marketing, and Project Service Automation) are built. If you’re a Dynamics 365 customer, your data is already in Common Data Service.

Common Data Service allows you to securely store and manage data within a set of standard and custom entities, and you can add fields to those entities when you need them.

Power Apps and Redspire

Interested in exploring new ways that processes can be engineered and how modern tools like Power Apps can be applied within your business? Get in touch today or watch the on demand Power Apps in Insurance webinar. Respire and Microsoft have partnered to provide a number of hands-on workshops to FSI organisations. For fresh ideas and access to some of the UK’s top solutions architects, get in touch with Redspire today on 0845 226 8170 or email us via info@redspire.co.uk.

As the UK enters recession, with Covid-19 still at large and Brexit looming, UK Financial Services leaders take 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 2020, 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.

There’s been a lot of excitement coming from Camp Microsoft and the Partner community regarding the potential of Power BI, Power Apps and Power Automate in the last year and we’re seeing some excellent use cases of the tools in action within the Financial Services sector.

At Redspire, we can’t recommend the Power Platform for Insurance firms highly enough. Microsoft, as always, is leading the way in the evolution in the insurance sector, bringing over 400 enhancements to Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform in the most recent release. The tech giant’s investment in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and low-code, no-code technologies directly support insurance businesses through the on-going digital skills gap and enable business users of varying capabilities to build apps, visualisations and workflows and improve business performance via simple point-and-click technology.

At Redspire, we’re working closely with our insurance clients to maximise use of the latest releases. Our clients in the insurance sector have undergone rapid digital transformation with Microsoft Dynamics 365 business applications in recent years. Progress has been made to shatter barriers between departments and insurers no longer approach each policy, person or departments as standalone but part of a connected universe of data that provides valuable insights to business performance. The Power Platform – with it’s integrated AI-infused technologies and the recent announcement of Wave 2 enhancements – opens up unlimited opportunity to harness the power of that data-unification. With hundreds of data connectors and a toolkit built on a common data language, insurers can achieve peak productivity, maximise engagement and provide data-driven decision making to manage their brokers, customers, products, policies and claims.

Yet across Banking, FSI and Insurance, many of the new clients we meet are unsure about the Power Platform and how it can be deployed granularly within their organisations. And more importantly, just why they should invest.

So, what is the Power Platform?

Power platform can be summed up in three keywords: analyse, act, automate. Known within Microsoft circles as the Triple A-Loop.

The toolset allows users to automate processes across the Microsoft stack and beyond. It ensures that everyone with permissions within your insurance organisation has the ability to build rapid business solutions, and solve all types of daily or organisational business pain.

The Power Platform combines the capabilities of three key products – Power BI, Power Apps (including Power Apps Portals) and Power Automate, which was formerly know as Flow. With Microsoft’s proprietary technology, users of all skill-levels, from pro-developers to authorised administrators can analyse, act-upon, and automate data in ways that have never been possible before.

The tools have been developed upon the Common Data Platform and are designed to work together for maximum business value. All users within the business with suitable permissions can quickly and easily build custom apps that solve immediate business pain, automate complex workflows to improve business productivity, and analyse data for insights – no matter their technical expertise or capabilities.

Act with Power Apps for Insurance

Power Apps allows everyone from developers to business users within your insurance business to create interactive apps that support with specific business scenarios from Claims processing and renewals to risk and compliance. Tying onto a specific  Dynamics 365 use case or standalone, your in-house teams will be able to react quickly to ever-changing customer, partner, product, claims and compliance needs, all without writing a single line of code. Or having to engage with a developer partner. Integrating neatly with Dynamics 365, the Common Data Service, other line of business systems and accessible by Power BI and Power Automate, users across the organisation can carry out tasks and complete processes quickly and efficiently on their device of choice, with the information flowing back into the CRM. Supported by hundreds of point-and-click Power Automate connectors, the data captured within the apps can be used to automate processes and drive insight like never before.

Power Apps puts the power to automate back in the hands of the insurance business and solve challenges in real time by creating focused journeys. To summarise the benefits of Power Apps you can:

  • Easily build apps within a full feature low-code/no-code point-and-click platform
  • Connect to all of your valuable data with a suite of pre-built connectors or custom connectors
  • Put your data to work with the Common Data Service for Apps
  • Integrate neatly with Office 365, Azure, Dynamics 365, Power BI and Power Automate
  • Make use of strong enterprise governance & security
  • Access Pro-develop extensibility

Sample use cases for Power Apps for Insurance include:

  • Improve and complete policyholder on-boarding in real time with bespoke Power Apps and Power Apps Portals, designed to capture the required data for each scenario. Connect this data to the next step action in the process and automate risk and compliance controls too.
  • Automate task-led business process flows like renewal processes or escalations for medical underwriting.
  • Manage the claims process more efficiently. Provide loss adjusters or even customer access to a front-facing app where they can answer the required questions, capture and attach jpeg or png photo evidence or PDF and Microsoft Word supplier quotes for repairs. Feed their responses directly back in the CRM and automate to next stage with one of 250 out of the box Power Automate connectors.

Recent enhancements for Power Apps in Insurance

Recent announcements from Microsoft include the wide release of AI builder for Power Platform. One of our top picks from the functionality is object detection. This provides the capability for AI to read, understand and translate photographs of handwritten notes and convert into word documents, or analyse text from Excel or PDF and feed directly into the appropriate Dynamics 365 fields. The time-saving capabilities of these tools are immense.  Anywhere you can rekey data, you can feed to Power App, AI will read, recognise the data and populate it. This will be extremely helpful for rebuilding and legacy platforms.

Analyse: Power BI for insurers  

Power BI is Microsoft’s market-leading intelligent business analytics solution. With familiar Excel-like controls, with Power BI, users can connect a multitude of data sources – legacy on-premise, in the cloud or elsewhere –  to gain valuable insights, analyse trends and make rapid, data-informed decisions. Data is visualised helping teams share insight, collaborate and report across the entire organisation, on any device. With in-built governance and security, sharing customised dashboards and interactive reports with the right teams at the right times becomes process-led, with the right risk controls in place to protect the sensitive information in your business.   

Some sample use cases of Power BI for insurers 

  • Power BI allows users to visualise real time insights and analysis of losses from insurance claims. This constant feed of data empowers business users to highlight trends across the business and leverage underwriting data to make prudent business decisions, minimising future losses. 
  • Create visual reports to analyse your brokers, agencies and intermediary performance levels. Understand which relationships are working well or which may need urgent attention. Visually view gross written premium per broker and understand the cost of each new policy or renewal.  
  • Closely analyse policy and product performance. If a product is performing particularly well within a certain demographic or geographical area, this may inform a reactive marketing campaign or a review of the policy price point.  

Recent enhancements for Power BI in insurance  

Within the latest Power Platform release, Power BI improvements focus on four critical areas that drive a high performance data culture. Largely AI focused, these are: intuitive experiences, a unified BI platform, big data analytics, and pervasive artificial intelligence.  

Automate with Power Automate for Insurers  

Microsoft’s Power Automate – again, low code, no-code, point and click functionality –  puts power to create complex workflows within your organisation. It uses over 250 out of the box connectors to automate all types of processes and removes the risk for human error stalling a journey’s progress. Once the Power Platform has been implemented and adopted by your workforce, Power Automate removes the need for developer support to create workflows, heavily reducing costs and implementation time for new business critical or improvement processes.   

Like the rest of the Power Platform, Power Automate provides point and click functionality that connects legacy technology infrastructure. Out the box connectors integrate not only with Microsoft tools but less well known systems too. Secured within the Microsoft cloud, these workflows provide the functionality to move your insurance business forward.  

Some sample use cases of Power Automate for insurers 

  • Power Automate can connect sales journeys, policyholder on-boarding and renewalsClients or intermediaries complete front-facing Power Apps Portals forms are then connected to the next stage of the process for action, review, risk, approval, decline. With data feeding directly into the CRM, a risk audit trail is created, productivity maximised and data accuracy maintained.  
  • When call centre activity spikes – for instance, regarding storms claims when the UK has been hit with bad weather – Power Automate can be connected to a quick deployed bot that can direct clients towards self-service options for lodging the claim or answering frequently asked questions 

Recent enhancements for  Power Automate in Insurance 

Power Automate’s new functionality creates smarter, more meaningful experiences in three key areas. Users – again with varying levels of expertise – can leverage world-leading business process capabilities, work off-line and make use of rich administration tools that drive connectivity across the insurance business.  

Why invest in the Power Platform?  

A recent Economic Impact study of Dynamics and the Power Platform highlighted that the average cost of app development is reduced by 70% with Power Apps and Power Automate, 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.  

Redspire and the Insurance sector.  

At Redspire, we’re leading radical digital transformation in the insurance sector via world-class Microsoft technologies. Together, we’re helping insurers understand and engage customer needs and deliver seamless, proactive and personalised experiences. We’re improving underwriting processes, loss ratios and policy lapse rates whilst reducing customer churn. In the new, differentiated marketplace, everything is to play for.  

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.

If you’d like to find out more about how the Power Platform’s Triple-A-Loop can support your Insurance firm through its next phase of digital transformation, read how the Power Platform can automate a claims scenario, get in touch with our team of specialists today on 0845 226 8170 or 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.