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.

The insurance sector in the UK is built on rich traditions and face to face operations. Just a few months ago, 7000-plus industry specialists walked in and out of Lloyd’s of London market place each day to exchange risk propositions, discuss policies and close deals on the 300-year old trading floor.

The coronavirus lockdown closed the doors to the Lloyd’s underwriting floor and forced these deals into living rooms and home offices, driven by the latest cloud technology. For a sector notoriously resistant to replacing valuable in-person operations with digital processes, insurers pushed their own limits and embraced new ways to transact, meet and close deals. In fact, our clients across the Financial Services sphere responded to the crisis with real creativity and imagination to keep the cogs turning, with long-term positive impact on their businesses

One such example is how Microsoft’s Power Platform technology allowed Redspire client Beazley to work with us to being a solution – Beazley Booking – to market, in days and weeks instead of the months and years strategic projects can often take.

Let’s take a look at the Power Platform for insurance use case for the booking app.

Power Platform for Insurance booking app: solution overview

The solution is built on three key processes and scenarios:

  1. Power Apps for Underwriter Availability Management.

Underwriters assign their availability in the Power Apps Model Driven App which is then visible to the brokers to review.

  1. Broker Portal for Booking a Timeslot

Brokers log on as external users to the Broker Power Apps Portal, see which underwriters they want to meet, see time slots available and can create an agenda, attach documents like insurance slips and submit the booking.

  1. Power Apps for Booking MI

Underwriters and brokers time is automatically booked out in their Outlook diary for the meetings, which can be set up on Microsoft Teams and WebEx. Booking MI is available to view in the Power App.

Process 1: Power Apps for Underwriter Availability Management.

Built on a Power Apps model driven app for internal users, including Underwriters and Underwriting Assistants.

Contact Record with custom fields

  1. Created contact records for underwriters within the internal Model Driven App.
  2. Custom fields created to enable the booking process, including insurance type drop down, contact details, time zones, WebEx or Teams meeting ID
  3. On tab 2, Underwriters and Assistants can manage their time, and set timeslots, length of meeting and availability throughout the working week, and set exceptions for unavailability for things like other meeting types, personal appointments, focus time and annual leave.
  4. Power Automate takes all of this information and creates a range of timeslots for Brokers to view and choose, displaying date, time, length of appointment and time zone; important working across multiple geographies.
  5. Built on the Common Data Service, information and data is now available within the portal and available to Broker and other external users.

Underwriters can set their availability

Process 2: Broker Portal for Booking a Timeslot

Within the outward facing Broker Portal, built on a Canvas App, external users can view their forthcoming bookings with Underwriters, book new appointments and add documents to upcoming bookings.

External user portal view

When an external user logs into the Portal, they’re taken directly to a view of all of the bookings they currently have with their chosen underwriters at a glance.

  1. Key meeting information is displayed via Subject, time slot, booked by, underwriter, insurance type and link to video-conferencing fields.
  2. Each appointment is also sat in each user’s calendar, sent by Power Automate.
  3. Within this view, external users can also book a new timeslot via the book timeslot button in a simple three step process.
  4. Step 1 – select insurance type to filter available underwriters from that business area. Select underwriter from the drop down menu, before adding subject.
  5. Step 2 – the system surfaces the available time slots for the user to choose from. When a time slot is selected, users can add agendas and upload documents like insurance slips to allow the underwriter to gain context to the meeting and prepare accordingly
  6. Step 3 – here you can review all information submitted and make any amendments before submitting the booking request.
  7. Upon booking the timeslot, there are two actions that take place. The timeslot is created in the Underwriter’s Model Driven app and Power Automate will send a calendar invite to both parties with the high level information, videoconferencing link, agenda and any attachments.
  8. My time slot Portal front page will now show the new appointment in the view.
  9. Back in the Underwriter’s Model Driven app, the management information will show the new booking and the meeting sits in their Outlook calendar, with no need to respond to the sender.

Booking an Underwriter appointment

Process 3: Booking MI

Booking MI is the Underwriter’s go-to view to prepare for the week ahead and mange their workloads and opportunities.

  1. Go into management info tab within the Underwriter’s Model Driven App.
  2. Three charts to provide high level info to underwriter on their week ahead by broker, by attempted timeslot bookings and active timeslots, thus allowing them to plan for the week ahead.
  3. These insights allow Underwriters to understand which brokers are booking and how often, to gain visibility on the brokers attempting to book and to measure where their time is being spent for maximum efficiencies.
  4. MI is fully extensible to additional integrations to fit wider business needs or to evolve with future iterations or augmentations.

Management Information within the Model App

Power Platform: no limits extensibility

Beazley’s CTO Mark Moerdyk says: “Beazley Booking uses the Microsoft Power Platform to improve the quality of interactions with brokers and ensure that our underwriters have access to data that can help improve service in the future. This is not only a system that improves our service during this period of social distancing but also has the capability to provide long-term support as the market adapts to a more efficient and flexible model.”

Less code, more power: 86% of Fortune 500 companies use Power Apps

With 86% of Fortune 500 companies using Power Apps, there’s never been a better time to modernise your data and harness the power of the Power Platform and Microsoft Dynamics 365. No-code, low code capability is here now and can augment your legacy systems to fit the new normal in days and weeks. Want to hear more?

About Redspire and the Microsoft

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, improve operations and process automation with Microsoft’s suite of business applications. Interested in the awesome power of Power Platform? Find out more about Power Apps and Beazley booking on the Connecting Brokers and Underwriters webinar with Megan Meneely, Billy Lyle and Beazley’s Mark Moerdyk.

Want to talk all things Power Platform or Dynamics 365? Get in touch with us touch on 0845 226 8170 or email us at info@redspire.co.uk.