3 min read

Tech sector signs of resilience as Scottish IT firm announces 18 new hires and 39% increase in turnover during ‘challenging’ times

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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.

3 min read

2020 Wave 2 Release: What’s coming up? Recap

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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.

6 min read

Microsoft Power Platform for Insurance use case: booking app

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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.

3 min read

What is Microsoft Power Apps?

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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.

6 min read

The enabled agent: eight features future-proofing customer engagement in Financial Services

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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.

3 min read

Redspire works with Beazley and Microsoft to create online booking system for Underwriters and Brokers

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Redspire has worked in collaboration with Microsoft and specialist insurance partner Beazley to create Beazley Booking, an online booking system to make it easier and quicker for brokers to arrange virtual appointments and share relevant documentation securely with underwriters.

Using Microsoft’s low code platform Power Platform, Beazley Booking makes it easier and quicker for brokers to arrange virtual appointments and share relevant documentation securely with underwriters. Connected to a simple web application, brokers can access the portal using a secure log-in provided by Beazley.

Connecting brokers and underwriters with the Power Platform 

Beazley Booking enables brokers to view underwriter availability, book a meeting time, upload an agenda and documents in advance and view all of their scheduled meetings with Beazley underwriters. It aims to ensure brokers retain consistent access to their underwriting contacts during social distancing and beyond as the insurance industry adopts more flexible working practices in the long term. It also provides underwriters with access to a detailed log of broker enquiries and appointments on a fully secure system.

From today, Beazley is rolling out the system to cyber & technology and property broking partners in the London market with new lines being added in the coming months.

Mark Moerdyk, Beazley’s chief technology officer, said: “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.”

Flexible working practices as the market adapts 

Paul Bantick, global head of cyber & tech, said: “We have been working very hard to ensure we retain the same standard of access and responsiveness for brokers while working remotely. In the London market particularly, the temporary closure of the Lloyd’s trading floor due to the pandemic has changed the dynamic of the market and accelerated the adoption of new ways of working. As we come out of lockdown we know that some of these more flexible working practices will ensue. This was an opportunity to invest in making our virtual interactions with brokers slicker and more efficient with expanded functionality and features.”

Beazley Booking empowers brokers and ensures frictionless trading 

Simon Jackson, head of open market property at Beazley, added: “Beazley Booking empowers brokers to arrange appointments with us using a user-friendly and intuitive application. It helps to ensure trading with us is as frictionless and straightforward as possible.”

Beazley plc (BEZ.L) is the parent company of specialist insurance businesses with operations in Europe, United States, Canada, Latin America and Asia. Beazley manages six Lloyd’s syndicates and, in 2019, underwrote gross premiums worldwide of $3,003.9m. All Lloyd’s syndicates are rated A by A.M. Best.

About Redspire 

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.

Register for the webinar 

Beazley chief technology officer Mark Moerdyk and Billy Lyle, Redspire chief executive host an overview of the technology on 22nd July at 11am, showcasing how the Power Platform is building connections, driving adaptability, and helping insurers overcome challenges in a time of change. Reserve your place today

For more information, visit www.beazley.com

For information on Redspire or the Microsoft Power Platform site please visit https://redspire.co.uk/  and https://powerplatform.microsoft.com

2 min read

How to ensure Insurance business continuity between insurance brokers and underwriters during the global health crisis

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Ensure vital communications and business as usual between insurance underwriters and brokers, whilst displaced from in-person meeting spaces and financial district box systems throughout the global health crisis.

Ensure Insurance business continuity

During the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s vital that essential insurance services continue business as usual. Lockdown has closed meeting hubs and box systems like those at Lloyd’s of London, where insurance brokers and underwriters traditionally meet to discuss risk and manage deals.

This displacement has led to inefficient communication across disparate channels and is causing needless missed opportunity.

A virtual hub to schedule, meet, negotiate and close

Microsoft and Redspire have mobilised quickly to digitalise this process with Power Apps Portals, Power Automate and Microsoft Teams. These solutions help both underwriters and brokers manage time and unify communications whilst teams work remotely, across one easy to adopt bizapps process. A secure, quick implementation application has been created to:

  • Direct all users to an established process
  • Connect disparate brokers and underwriters
  • Allow underwriters to set their availability
  • Let brokers schedule time with underwriters
  • Provide secure virtual meeting hubs

These tools and technologies and their benefits include:

Power Apps Portals

  • build apps and self-service scheduling portals, fast
  • create an established process to unify insurance users
  • set underwriter availability with Microsoft 365 integration
  • allows brokers to book or update underwriter timeslots
  • log deal information, set agendas and update remotely
  • connect to wider workflows

Power Automate

  • connect disparate stages of the Portal user journey
  • connect disparate users, departments and organisations
  • unify operations & automates business process flows
  • send notifications to daily calendar
  • posts agenda to Teams meeting spaces
  • limitless enhancement opportunities as users needs grow

Teams

  • a secure virtual collaboration hub to connect users
  • voice, video-calling or chat communications
  • meeting recording capabilities
  • white board and screen-sharing capabilities
  • real time document collaboration
  • tools help ensure user privacy while working remotely

About Redspire

Redspire 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 Power Platform helps our clients unify operations quickly, and deliver transformation projects that solve immediate business pain.

Next steps for support  

Secure data infrastructures and unified operations between brokers and underwriters has never been more important as we navigate the unfolding global health crisis. This is the time for rapid implementation to ensure business continuity and connect disparate teams.

The solutions outlined can be deployed at pace over just a few days to make sure your client needs are met and opportunity isn’t wasted. For more information, download the insurance ops briefing, call Redspire today on 0845 226 8170 or email on info@redspire.co.uk.

5 min read

The Power Platform for Insurance: automating car insurance claims with Power Apps, Power Automate and Power BI

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Earlier this week we took a good look at the Power Platform for the Insurance sector. In this third part of our Power Platform for insurance series, we’re looking at automating car insurance claims processes using the Power Platform’s capabilities, and integrations with the wider Microsoft stack.

There are endless use cases and opportunities to Analyse, Act and Automate processes within your own insurance business, in particular with over 400 new capabilities released across Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform this month. This short use case will provide some context for the tools in action, showcasing incredible customer and partner engagement and highlight rich data insights.

A summary of the Power Platform

For those who haven’t read our recent articles on the Power Platform, here’s a short summary before we jump into the car insurance claim scenario.

The power Platform’s capabilities can be summed up in three key words: analyse, act, automate, known within Microsoft circles as the Triple A-Loop. The tools combine the capabilities of three key products, namely:

  • Microsoft Power BI: this analytical platform allows organisations to build and lead a data-driven culture. All users are given the power to turn data into insightful visualisations, driving quick and informed decision-making.
  • Microsoft Power Apps (including Power Apps Portals): these tools allow users to build custom apps same day instead of undertaking a month long development process, connecting to existing data and systems and solving specific process and business needs.
  • Microsoft Power Automate: is low-code / no code functionality that allows users to self-build automated workflows in minutes across hundreds of popular apps and services.

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 at business user level.

Automating car insurance claims processes using the Power Platform

Although fairly new to market, Redspire are deploying Power Platform capabilities to solve business pain for our Banking, FSI and Insurance clients and automating processes through all levels of their businesses.

In this scenario, we’ll showcase a user journey after automating car insurance claims processes using the Power Platform. The main functionality used here is PowerApps, supported by Office365, Power Automate and Power BI.

  1. A customer has an accident and needs to report the incident to start the claims process. Historically, policyholders would call the claims line to begin the claims process, however, digital natives are increasingly looking for mobile or desktop first reporting methods.
  2. Whether the policyholder has called the claims line and been signposted to the online functionality or logged into their account to begin their claim, a secure Power Apps Portal has been created to begin the claims process. The customer is asked to log in. Secure personal data will be pre-populated and the policyholder can submit the details of their incident within the requested fields, with the capability to upload images of the damage for assessment too.
  3. Using postcode data held against the policyholder, a Power Automate pulls through a choice of local car garages and automate the process of sending the claims data, photo of the vehicle damage and a request for quote (RFQ) to this selection of garages.
  4. Once received, the garages who received RFQ will be able to submit a quote for repair work via a bespoke Canvas App, supported by pre-determined Power Automate functionality.
  5. Once three quotes have been returned, Power Automate sends an automated Office 365 email to a claims processor, who can log in to a Model Driven App to review the quotes for repair work provided.
  6. Once reviewed and authorised for next stage by as assessor, these quotes for repair work are sent along the next stage of the automated process. Confirmation of the accepted quote is sent to the garage and the customer to arrange for completion of work.
  7. The selected garage completes the repair work and provides a completed status on the Canvas App once work is complete, notifying customer and insurer that the work is complete.
  8. Payment for repair work is automated via Power Automate and third part payment solutions.
  9. Power Automate sends out a Forms Pro survey to capture customer feedback on both the garage and claim experience, enriching customer service data and informing satisfaction scores.
  10. Power BI can provide granular reports on customer satisfaction or wider data insight in the volume of claims, costs, types of damage, car models, garage satisfaction rating and so on.

Redspire and the Insurance sector.

This short scenario is barely scratching the surface of the capabilities of the Power Platform for the insurance sector. At Redspire, our delivery team can’t recommend the tools highly enough. We’re leading radical digital transformation in the insurance sector via these new and constantly emerging world-class Microsoft technologies. Together, we’re helping insurers understand and engage customer needs and deliver seamless, proactive and personalised experiences. We’re not just improving the claims process, we’re helping insurers digitise and automate all types of processes from underwriting to broker management.

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 in an claims insurance scenario, view the follow up demo now.

If you’d like to find out more about how the Power Platform’s Triple-A-Loop can support your Insurance firms 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.

9 min read

Power Platform for Insurance: Power BI, Power Apps and Power Automate

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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.   

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.