5 min read

Bank to the Future: The Microsoft technologies driving radical transformation in the sector

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Customer bases in banking sprawl wide, interconnected networks that holding trillions of disparate, but rich valuable customer data points. Most customers have multiple accounts, collectively carrying out hundreds of thousands of different applications, transactions and requests each day and interacting across different departments, platforms, and geographies. It’s essential to manage this vital customer data safely, securely and efficiently across all subdivisions of the banking network, not just to treat customer data safely and securely within the regulatory banking landscape, but to harvest and mine these rich data insights and understand and predict customer needs.

Yet many Banks and financial services organisations still hold this data in silos, wasting the opportunity to gain a 360-degree picture, truly know their customer, and service them with the expected brand experience.

Microsoft is leading the way globally in the future of banking technology. Constantly updating cloud solutions, AI technology and immersive tools that make common data model technologies work harder and smarter are leveling the playing field for new banks and High Street stalwarts. Incumbents moulding technologies like Dynamics 365, the Power Platform, Azure, SharePoint and Office 365 to fit their precise needs retain competitive advantage against new cloud-ready market entrants.

Managing customer data across the banking network

The data-centricity, security and productivity gains available via the connectivity of Dynamics 365 and other Microsoft technologies like Office 365, Azure, SharePoint and Power BI are immeasurable. Banks can create department-specific processes and flows; connect, automate and solve problems with apps and portals; and create reporting dashboards that understand, analyse and report on business performance and pipeline, as well as manage and monitor growth and risk. The return on investment from the tools prove immeasurable and a solid foundation on which to expand the scope to solve ever-evolving business and backend processes.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud online and the Power Platform integrations are the most effective digital transformation tools available on the market today. At their simplest, Dynamics resolves business pain for banks by unifying data, systems and processes into one, single intelligent system. With the capability to connect multiple, disparate legacy data sources from all across the business, key business information can be served up via intuitive, custom-built real-time dashboards.

Teams are provided with the tools and insights they need, from a real-time, single view of the customer to relationship insight tools that automate and suggest next step action. All integrating neatly into the Office 365 technology and Windows hardware that your employees already know and love, and Power Platform functionality that puts the tools to deliver no-code services tailored precisely to your business needs, right in your team’s hands.

A shared data language in banking

The long-term goal of the banking sector at large as FinTech and Open Banking partnerships become the norm, is to define a shared data language in banking and the wider financial services sector. It becomes easier for organisations and their partners to connect systems, disparate data silos and standardise data formats and definitions across the industry.

Microsoft’s suite of connected business applications, cloud solutions, AI technology and productivity tools and dashboards have started the journey already, providing improved processes and insights, easily deployed in any environment, on any device.

Here’s a short overview of the tools in action;

  1. Retail Banking

Lending teams and relationship managers can make use of analytics and productivity dashboards to gain a high-level view of the day ahead, with predictive analytics and machine learning identifying prospects most likely to close, highlighting any key referrals and expiring KYCs (Know Your Customer). These insights allow relationship managers to plan their day effectively and connect with customers with a propensity to close. Onboarding new customers also becomes easier for relationship managers as manual processing of new prospects, loan and mortgage applications, KYC and other retail banking workflows are automated and managed via custom-built dashboards and portals. The benefits of these step by step business processes mean relationship managers are more productive administratively and can focus on relationship building and providing consultative support to prospects and existing customers.

  1. Commercial Banking

Like Retail Bankers, the commercial lending and commercial relationship managers

can identify opportunities and see a holistic view of their portfolio utilising loans and relationships dashboards. Teams can view accounts with a high propensity for closing, track deteriorating accounts that need immediate attention and predict success for the week ahead. This insight, supported by artificial intelligence and smart next-step actions helps commercial bankers and team managers plan their working day and strategically view and diarise future cross-selling opportunities. Augmented workflows slicken up administrative tasks like completing loan applications. Commercial bankers can quickly understand if an opportunity is won or lost, ensuring maximum productivity and avoiding too much time being focused on the wrong accounts.

  1. Branch Management teams

Branch managers benefit from a unified data model and a common data language across Retail and Commercial banking. With a comprehensive 360-degree view of the entire bank operations from business mortgages issued through to commercial lending performance, it’s easier to track performance and KPI’s across different geographies and branch locations.

Not only does this help set strategy and plan for the year ahead, but advanced data analytics insights also help improve processes and provide operational efficiencies that drive team productivity on a micro and macro level. Working on real-time data across different branch locations makes delivering meaningful, in-person customer experiences that much easier.

  1. Cross-business referrals

Connect departments across the banking eco-system with PowerApps and Portals to simplify the referral sharing process across retail, commercial and branch. This can be as simple as retail banking inputting a new business lending opportunity lead on a unified customer 360 form, which instantly shows up within the commercial banker’s 360-degree customer view. With existing customers, the commercial team can access rich customer data like existing product portfolio, KYC history, and previous interactions to become an invaluable business consultant in the next phase of their client’s business, understanding their needs in advance of connecting.

How does your Bank’s digital strategy stack up?

In the new, differentiated banking marketplace, everything is to play for. At Redspire, we’re proud to be leading radical digital transformation in the sector via world-class Microsoft technologies. Together, we’re helping retail and commercial banks understand and engage with customers like never before.

No matter what stage you’re at in your transformation journey, there’s no doubt that your customers are already expecting the banking standards of the future, now. Download our white paper on the future of banking today and together we can explore the art of the possible.

4 min read

From Graduate Analyst to Solutions Architect: A Redspire Graduate Journey

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It’s been a busy twelve months at Redspire HQ with lots of exciting client work, innovative partnerships, brand new faces joining the team and promotions and team shifts. Our headcount has grown once again to 33, we’re attracting some of the best UK tech talent, closing the team gender gap and partnering with global and local grassroots organisations to bring the best tech events to Glasgow.

This week we’re reflecting on the Redspire Graduate journey, interviewing Jamie Logue, who joined the business as a Graduate Analyst. Jamie excelled through the programme to become Solutions Architect managing a team of his own consultants and leading communications between clients, architects and analysts.

The Redspire Graduate Q&A

Jamie joined Redspire after graduating from UWS – University of the West of Scotland, with a BSc in Business Technology in 2015. This interview follows on from his first Graduate interview until today, where Jamie shares his journey of the last few years.

Jamie tell us about a typical Redspire day?

I know it’s maybe a clichéd response but there’s no typical day in my role. What I will say is that it’s been an exciting few years with Redspire and I’ve loved the varied mix of projects that I’ve been involved in. From working with clients like CYBG and Money Advice Service to delivering real tangible business change to working collaboratively with Microsoft, this is exactly the sort of work I’d envisaged doing whilst I was at university.

My working week is typically a good mix of client work, from face to face meetings with clients all over the UK and hands-on work on project development and build, to creating user adoption training programmes or go live deployments.

If I’m not on-site with a client, my day usually starts with a short stand up team meeting to set the tone for the day. If we’re not on-site, we use Microsoft teams and Outlook to collaborate remotely, which can often be a great way to showcase the tools to clients!

As well as my project work, I also work closely with business support on technical writing and creating bespoke marketing materials. As lead Solutions Architect for the Banking and Financial Services sector I was recently interviewed for some explainer videos on the which was really interesting and a chance to reflect on the wider implications of the work we do instead of the granular detail of systems, solutions and projects.

What’s been the highlight of the last 4 years since joining Redspire?

There’s three key stand outs for me during my career here.

  1. Being able to constantly learn, which is a gift once you leave university! Redspire is all about continual progression and training, and it’s all shaped around my current skills, career aims and development requirements.
  2. Progression and opportunity. I believe I was able to fast-track to my current position thanks to Redspire’s approach to learning and development. You get out what you put in and that hunger to keep learning and go the extra mile is rewarded.
  3. All client work is rewarding but working on the Small Business Banking project at CYBG was one of the most interesting I’ve ever worked on. Seeing the quantifiable productivity gains and high user adoption levels as we move onto next phases of Power BI implementation is really satisfying! I believe that our attention to ensuring user adoption is what sets Redspire apart from our competitors.

How has the working environment changed at Redspire?

We’ve grown and taken over additional office space since I first joined, however the team spirit hasn’t changed. The team is really friendly. We’ve a great social area, regular nights out, team-building activities and an open door policy where everyone from junior team members to managers can drop in on each other as and when they need. We’re all really invested in each other’s progression too, so are constantly sharing information and insights with each other or taking part in lunch and learn sessions to share knowledge picked up on the job or via our Microsoft interactions.

Any advice for Graduates interested in a role with Redspire?

Immerse yourself in all things Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform and learn as much about the solutions as you can. YouTube has great resources from our in-house consultant Neil Parkhurst. That foundational knowledge will help when it comes to accreditation! And as before, do your research on the different roles available, ask lots of questions and throw yourself in.

To find out more about working with Redspire, keep an eye out for our careers page coming soon and in the meantime,  send us an email if you’d like to find out more.

1 min read

Redspire shortlisted for Financial Technology Partner of the Year Award

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Redspire has been shortlisted for the Financial Services Technology Partner of the Year Award at this year’s Scottish Financial Technology Awards, in collaboration with DIGIT.

The shortlisting celebrates Redspire’s commitment to innovation and transformation in the sector. Our partnerships with some of the UK’s biggest financial brands and customer-facing Government financial organisations have led them through radical digital transformation and business improvement projects, revolutionising how they do business and connect with customers.

DIGIT’s Scottish Financial Technology Awards

The Scottish Financial Technology Awards are designed to recognise effort, innovation, and impact. The judging process looking to acknowledge exceptional accomplishments, invention and improvement and reward individuals and organisations that are making a difference to frontline customers and industry progress, as well as those making valuable contributions beyond the sector and into the wider community.

The winner will be announced at the Scottish Financial Technology Awards which take place on September 25th, 2019 at the Sheraton Grand in Edinburgh.

The Redspire management team is proud of our hard-working teams and excited to be selected in such a prestigious category. Thanks to DIGIT and the Scottish Financial Technology Award team for selecting us. We’re looking awards ceremony to celebrate the incredible FinTech industry in Scotland and look forward to seeing you there!

About Redspire

Specialising in Dynamics 365 and the limitless integrations of world-class Microsoft’s Power Platform technologies, Redspire solve organisational business pain, improve operations and create a unified digital eco-system that can be constantly enhanced or improved as digital evolves.

With particularly strong capabilities in Financial Services, FMCG, Government and Third Sector, when we work with you, we become your dedicated Dynamics partner. Our client base includes Money and Pension Service, AIG Group, RPMI, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking Group (CYBG) and GroupM.

4 min read

Out of support Dynamics? 5 reasons to upgrade and migrate to Microsoft Dynamics 365 online

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Are you running on an out of support Dynamics CRM?

Microsoft recently announced the end of mainstream support for legacy versions of Dynamics CRM impacting users and organisations running on Dynamics CRM 2011 and 2013. If your business is still operating on legacy versions of Dynamics, you’re out of mainstream support and it would be beneficial to upgrade to Dynamics 365 or upgrade and migrate to Dynamics 365 online.

Why upgrade to Dynamics 365?

As an existing user, you’re likely to be familiar of the benefits of a Dynamics based CRM and the limitless integrations of the Microsoft eco-system. Here’s a short summary of the reasons to upgrade to Dynamics now:

  1. Decrease the risks and costs of running a legacy application.

Protect and risk-proof your organisation, employees and customers from the danger of operating with an out of support CRM. Dynamics 365 is fully supported by Microsoft and within Microsoft’s partner eco-system, meaning maintenance and support is cost-effective and easily accessible. Running on the most up to date version means that your CRM is fit for purpose in a fast moving and constantly updating information-led business environment.

  1. Easy transition to the cloud

 When you’re on the cloud, you can automate and innovate operations, seamlessly and on-the-go, making your business and your people more agile. Integrate with third party APIs and benefit from automated Microsoft updates, so you’re always working on the latest version of the solution. Access Dynamics anywhere at anytime with your people always working on real-time data and the very latest functionality from desktop, on their phones or on other handheld devices. So from the field to the back office, everyone is talking the same language.

 

List showing benefits of cloud vs onpremise Microsoft Dynamics

  1. Reduced cost of system ownership and licensing

When you upgrade and migrate to Dynamics 365 online, you reduce implementation time, capital outlay and infrastructure costs. As you move from a CapEx to OpEx model, flexible working and implementing bring-your-own-device in office, at home or on the move also becomes much easier; seamlessly connecting your people and teams. With flexible licencing, you can scale in line with the needs of the business meaning you never pay for more licences than you need. Support and fix costs are greatly reduced for both system and hardware, thanks to automated system updates

  1. Automated system updates

As well as delivering AI ready systems and low and no-code functionality right out of the box, Microsoft Dynamics 365 has moved to a continuous release cycle for in-the-cloud systems. All online users now follow an update cycle that delivers two major updates in two waves each year, April and October. Regular updates, performance improvements and bug fixes also run in the background for optimum functionality. Microsoft communications prepare in-house teams in advance to prepare any auto-scheduled changes, with with opt-in advice and functionality for any disruptive changes. Long story short, you’re always working on the latest version and you unlocking the latest market-leading tools and functionality.

  1. Unlock new cross-platform and cross-departmental tools and functionality

New features like integrated web portals, mobile apps and the new Dynamics user interface provide seamless employee and stakeholder experiences and help deliver incredible customer success and satisfaction. With a huge focus on AI, with Dynamics 365 online, users can access the latest stream of Microsoft innovations to make business operations better. Connect data and people cross-departmentally with other tools like Azure, PowerApps, Flow, Power BI and Outlook and be the first to access the very latest tools like AI builder, announced at the recent Microsoft BizApps Summit and Microsoft Inspire.

Migrating from Dynamics CRM to Dynamics 365

If you’re running on a legacy version of Dynamics CRM and keen to update to a cloud deployment of Dynamics 365, you’ll need to upgrade to the latest version of on-premise before migrating over to the cloud.

Using a partner like Redspire is essential for this process to prepare your environment, people and data for upgrade and migration. The upgrade process is an excellent time to assess your business needs and establish exactly what you want from your new CRM and data. Your CRM partner will work with you to enhance your current model and replace with a future-proofed solution that delivers exactly what you need to unify your business operations.

Ready to upgrade to Dynamics 365?  

If you’re ready to upgrade or would like to discuss next steps, Redspire have developed a series of resources that may help. Download our upgrade deck or enquire about our on-site upgrade workshop. For an informal, confidential chat about your own upgrade project or to discuss how we’ve led clients in Financial Services, Insurance, Government, Retail and more through successful upgrade, get in touch on 0845 226 8170 or email info@redspire.co.uk.

3 min read

The Partner Approach to Effective Digital Transformation

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

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

What are the next steps?

The partner approach to digital transformation

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

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

The benefits of working with a partner

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

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

Getting started and selecting the right partner

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

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

About Redspire

We’re a Microsoft Gold Partner with particularly strong capabilities in Financial Services, Retail, Government, and Third Sector and have worked on the biggest operational challenges facing these industries today. From Small Business Banking improvements at CYBG, client and stakeholder engagement at Money Advice Service and operations and field service at Golden Charter and AIG Group, our expertise in Dynamics 365 and the wider Microsoft ecosystem help our clients achieve operational excellence and project delivery that promises return on investment and with measurable KPIs in place from the outset.

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

7 min read

Reflecting on Microsoft’s 2019 Biz Apps Summit in Atlanta

As I sit here trying to gather my thoughts around all the things I was lucky enough to learn and experience at my time in Atlanta this year for Microsoft’s Biz Apps Summit, I realised that although this is an internationally promoted and attended conference event in one of the largest economic markets in the US, perhaps not everyone outwith (and even within) the wider tech community will know what the fuss is all about. So, without further ado:

What are Biz Apps and why do they have their own summit?

Biz Apps is the snazzy term that Microsoft uses when they refer to their suite of business applications. Fundamentally, this is the key collaborative software within the Dynamics 365 stack, used by organisations to manage their teams and employees, enhance communication and engagement, improve and streamline sales processes, manage stock, manage and track key accounts and relationships… basically the whole kit and kaboodle involved with the effective running of a modern-day organisation.

The Biz Apps Summit is a globally attended conference that Microsoft hosts every year in the USA for customers and partners. The technology giant typically introduce exciting new features, release their latest offerings and tell everyone all about the new and emerging tech that industry and commerce should be getting excited about. Some sessions are technical and some are business focused, catering to different business strands area of interest and technical know-how. This is only the second summit that Microsoft has put on, so it’s still finding its feet a little compared to some of the other Microsoft conferences that I attend during the year.

Why do I go?

As Redspire Technical Director, I’m one of the key individuals within the business that’s involved in the customer implementation journey from start to finish, including the customisation, configuration and use of biz apps. Attending these conferences, taking part in expert sessions and learning more about what the new and emerging crop of apps can do is absolutely crucial for me in keeping my knowledge as up to date as possible, and it’s also a great way to discover what’s coming on the roadmap. I invariably come home spilling over with ideas about how we can use these new tools to solve current and prospective client’s business pains or create digital-first business practices that wow their customers. This is especially true for our clients in Banking and Insurance, who are undergoing major digital transformation and are hungry for the latest innovations in AI, predictive analytics and super streamlined workflows. I have LOTS to talk to them about.

biz apps conference screen

Over 1 trillion operations globally run by Microsoft

What rocked?

There was SO much going on at the summit, with more than 200 sessions across the 2 days, so I apologise for missing out heaps of really great sessions. I’ve listed my top 3 (ish) takeaways from the week.

Artificial Intelligence

– I know everyone talks about AI, but it’s generally to extol the virtues of what it’ll be able to do for you in the FUTURE. Instead, Microsoft are weaving the future into their present-day Dynamics 365 offering with 4 levels of AI within the stack (roughly, some would argue the point, but we’ll go with 4 for now). These are;

1. Baked into the product – they’re there for you already, you just need to switch them on
2. Paid for extra apps – as it says on the tin. These involve an extra license cost but give you lots of extra features and capability over and above the baked in tools,
3. Cognitive services – getting slight techy but they’re mini apps that you connect to do specific things like uploading an image and getting it to identify what’s in the photo or pass it a voice recording and get it to transcribe it. It’ll even go as far as to analyse sentiment on whether the people speaking are happy, sad, angry, etc. You don’t need to write code for those, but you do need to be technically minded
4. Azure machine learning – can get very, very technical. Basically, you analyse your information for patterns and either choose a specific algorithm or create your own to work with the data in a way that’ll bring value to your business and allow for future projections.

(For 1, 2 and 3 there were great sessions showing you what you can actually do right now with the technology available)

PowerBI

– There are so many updates to PowerBI, from dramatic front-end visualisations, new data flow engine, paginated reports, certified datasets, all the way through to everything you could need from a security standpoint. The PowerBI sessions were the busiest and the rowdiest (yeah, not really what you expect at a tech conference) but a lot of people were getting very excited about these updates. There were rounds of applause and bouts of whooping and cheering for specific improvements or additions, some of them being fundamentally small changes, but obviously having a monumental impact on a lot of people’s working day. For me, the biggest thing was the user interface’s look and feel updates. This is going to allow customers to truly control and personalise the reporting based on the requirement (whether they are internal reports for teams or external for customers) which will again make a massive difference to the end user.

PowerApps and Flow (These are two different things, but stick with me)

The Power Platform, PowerApps and Flow really are the future of Microsoft’s biz apps strategy. Essentially, they provide the frameworks, components and workflows, and the power to be able to build all your own tailored and customised business applications. Now, you obviously wouldn’t rebuild CE/CRM or Finance & Ops. Microsoft have an army of developers and are spending hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars per year getting these to where they are now. However, you are provided with the tools to build what you need and implement it quickly and safely using all of the security and resilience that CE/CRM and F&O have built into their foundations. There were lots of updates of new functionality, new connectors, improved ALM and release management, but the main point is that Microsoft say these are the way of the future and have so far put their money where their mouth is through huge time and financial investment. So it’s time to take note and get on board!

In Conclusion

It’s so hard to condense such a detailed and action packed few days down into a mere few words, so I’ll say this:

There are really great things happening with customer service enhancements, omnichannel engagement hub, enhanced integrations with LinkedIn (including Sales Nav), PSA updates, Portals and continually improving marketing functionality that’s going to continue to transform the way that so many commercial teams operate. There are so many other things I want to talk about, especially all the cool stuff happening with HoloLens integrations (D365 guides and product visualisation), but all that’ll have to wait for the next blog.

Overall it was a really eye-opening and a great experience being at the summit. I learned so much through interacting with different people with all sorts of skills and experience, and attending the fantastic information sessions really put into perspective the magnitude of what’s still to come in the future. It’s safe to say I’ve come home with a list as long as my arm of things I need to go and learn more about, most of which I wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to explore without being over in Atlanta for this amazing event.

I’m extremely excited about going back again next year, with the added bonus of getting to see another part of America (BizApps Summit 2020 is in Anaheim California next April).

If you’d like a chat about Microsoft Dynamics 365 and how it can help your organisation achieve absolute digital transformation, get in touch at rick.lyle@redspire.co.uk or connect with me on LinkedIn

7 min read

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

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

Cloud-native banking and insurance

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

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

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

Cloud CRM or on-premise CRM

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

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

1. Optimised budgets

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

2. World-class, data compliant security

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

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

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

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

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

4. Productive teams and engaged employees

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

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

5. Cross business accessibility

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

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

8 min read

Achieving the four pillars of Digital Transformation in Banking with Microsoft Dynamics

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Not so long ago, digital transformation in Banking meant keeping pace throughout the third industrial revolution; meeting the digital challenge by providing basic online banking functionality that supported bricks and mortar mainstream branches. As digital evolved, account and loan applications were added, along with mobile transactional functionality to allow people to bank on-the-go. Personalisation and big data made its way into Board and Executive strategy conversations. The Retail Banking sector in particular, rose to the digital challenge, proving itself agile and adaptable to change, despite the unchartered territory of balancing strict risk and compliance controls alongside the necessary digitalisation of the customer experience.

As we hurtle towards 2020, through the fourth industrial revolution, digital transformation has become a lot more meaningful and immersive than simply providing online and mobile transactional functionality. Corporate and Commercial Bankers now find their marketplace in an accelerated state of change, alongside Retail Banking and the wider Financial Services sector. AI in banking and financial services is revolutionising the industry. FinTech, InsureTech, RoboAdvice and open banking capabilities are shifting the goalposts, stealing market share from incumbent banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers et al. And doing so with a side order of brand sass that appeals to younger audiences, almost as much as their instant gratification banking services do.

So how sound is your organisation’s digital strategy?

A recent report by the Boston Consulting Group highlights that executives in the banking sector lack confidence in their organisation’s digital futureproofing. With Big Tech and FinTech threats looming, over 40% of c-suite executives in banking reported that their own organisation didn’t have a digital strategy – never mind a sound one – despite 80% of respondents being aware that digital is leading transformation in the sector. Only 20% of banking executives believe that their bank has a market-leading digital presence, with the number one barrier to effective digital transformation cited as dated infrastructure and challenging legacy systems. Yet legacy IT needn’t hold you back as you map out future transformation and it doesn’t mean you need to rip out and replace high value tech to get started. The power of Microsoft Dynamics is that you can integrate legacy data sources right into the solution for quick results, now.

The four pillars of digital transformation in Banking and Financial Services

So, it’s clear that the opportunity to thrive, not just survive still exists for hungry market players with an eye on innovation. Boston Consulting Group recommend four key pillars for effective digital strategy in Banking and Financial Services. These key priorities align neatly with Microsoft’s four pillars of effective digital transformation and provide a cohesive starting point for reviewing and renewing your digital business strategy, market position and current capabilities. The possibilities, done right? End-to-end customer-focused journeys and increased satisfaction through the latest technologies in the Microsoft stack; from a safe and secure cloud-based Dynamics 365 CRM that unifies your people, data and business processes in a single, intelligent system, to AI for customer services and sales integrations that automate processes and decision making. All driven by sound data and providing enhanced operational workflows for every single person in your business.

Why is it so important to reach digital maturity in banking and financial services now? New technologies are constantly emerging, however, only digitally-enabled organisations with the right foundational solutions in place will be able to make use of these new innovations. The beauty of Dynamics 365 cloud platform is that once implemented, it’s constantly updating. Meaning you’re always working on the latest version, and able to access new release tools as soon as they hit the market. Recent releases include live chat and SMS functionality and new Power Platform capabilities which combine Microsoft Flow, Power BI and Common Data for apps which allow an easy and powerful collaborative integration into Dynamics 365 and Office 365.

Of course, these operational changes and strategic digital improvement can’t and shouldn’t be disconnected à la carte projects and initiatives undertaken in a silo. Successful digital transformation is a unified and co-ordinated business project, created in the Boardroom as a comprehensive, enterprise-wide strategy and implemented, with a clearly defined purpose, and an industry expert and experienced external partner like Redspire supporting the process.

The four key priorities for effective digital transformation in Banking

  1. Reinvent the Consumer Journey

The outdated banking model is dead. Customer expectations continue to rise, desiring and demanding service and personalised sales processes their way. Seamless, safe and secure fingerprint or facial recognition log in, one-click withdrawals, remembering personal preferences at every customer touchpoint and Alexa voice integrations are the bare minimum that customers expect when they interact with their bank today. Market disrupting challengers and nimble, born-in-the-cloud FinTechs have evolved the customer journey and traditional banks, building societies and insurers should do the same to remain competitive.

Cloud-based CRM is one of the most vital tools in the innovative banker’s arsenal. Gain a single view of customers and prospects with Dynamics 365, your entire business in one neat, expandable solution. With all customer data in the one place, available to your cross-departmental agents in real time, you can exceed and delight customers with insights that sell, service and convert. Seamlessly merged with big data, business intelligence and AI integrations, your agents can pick the next best action, systems are automatically updated and your customer gets the service they’ve come to expect from Big Data players like Amazon, Apple et al.

Before kick-starting any digital transformation project, spend time selecting the right partner and mapping the customer journey collaboratively to put your customers at the centre of your business. The beauty of Microsoft’s cloud technologies are that they can be moulded and integrated to suit your bespoke needs, reimagining and redefining your customers experiences. When you understand what matters most to different subsets of customers during critical junctures in their user journey – supported by the the immense capabilities of the Microsoft stack – can build user experiences that reward, engage and create long-term loyalty. On-board a client in just a few clicks with Adobe Sign. Automate lending decisions with Flow. PowerApps and Portals connect access to Credit Reference Agencies third party tools. The limitations are endless, with a quantifiable ROI evidenced from the outset.

  1. Discover the power of data

What’s the point of harvesting data if you don’t harness its power? Microsoft Dynamics and Power BI reporting provide insights that help you understand your clients and prospects, uncover missed opportunities, identify high-ticket clients or cross-selling opportunities and reduce the cost of acquisition, satisfaction and retention too. Dynamics online and Power BI allow your team to create, share and view immersive visual dashboards on the go, within global geographies, and are key drivers of building consultative client relationships that last.

During a recent Dynamics 365 implementation within the small business banking division at CYBG, unifying data from legacy systems allowed Relationship Managers and Team Managers to deepen customer relationships, easily identify key accounts and identify those at risk of default or depreciation. Data precision and clarity allowed the team to gain 3,175 days in increased productivity through increased data analytics and an 11 x increase on customer outreach calls, with impressive impact on annual results too.

  1. Redefine the operating model.

Living in an increasingly time-poor world, consumer needs have shifted in their banking relationships. That close relationship with the bank manager has become a convenient online digital relationship that’s easily accessible via their devices as and when they need it, outreaching for that human touch only when they have more complex needs. Hybrid sales, customer service and experience operating models that are well executed can inspire loyalty and delight a customer. Executed badly, can frustrate and have them abandon ship for a competitor without even stopping to let you know where you’ve failed.

Banks who successfully combine the human touch with self-service capabilities via AI bots and custom-built portals can expect to see up to a 15% increase in revenue and satisfaction levels and up to a 35% saving in branch network costs. Utilising bionic networks, whilst being open to collaboration with other FinTechs and Open Banking players can create the high value service levels that your customers desire and create seamless services that deliver on brand promise and value.

  1. Build a Digital Driven Organization

The final priority of successful digital transformation in banking is facing organisational culture hurdles face on to build a digital-first business.

When you set out strategically, with board, CEO and senior executives aligned on a vision to build a digitally driven banking business, you reaffirm to your customers, your people and your stakeholders that digital transformation is a priority. You state that every action in the future roadmap leads to agile and digital-first working methods, earmark funding and help recruit the best talent and partners in the sector to make your vision a reality. It takes collective vision to shift a traditional financial provider mindset into a radically changed innovative digital culture. Strong top down leadership is vital to make success happen, with the right partner steering your vision every step of the way.

The boldest incumbents and challenger banks are taking cue from FinTechs, mirroring their agility and born-in-the-cloud best practice to overcome legacy challenges and red-tape laden showstoppers that dampen customer experiences.

Data driven customer experiences, with a human touch

Digital transformation in banking today is connected, blending people, culture and technology to provide personalised service, slick and connected operations that service the customer how they want, when they want and where they want it. It’s speedy and agile, data-driven, with a human touch. Banking executives and the c-suite are under tremendous pressure to keep up and ensure a coherent digital strategy delivers on corporate vision. For more information on improving customer experience and gaining competitive advantage in Banking, join our webinar on Thursday 20th June @ 11 am.

1 min read

The State of Public Sector Digital Transformation 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download the whitepaper

2 min read

Redspire partner with Microsoft MVP Neil Parkhurst to boost digital skills talent in Scotland

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Redspire are excited to announce a year long partnership with Microsoft MVP and award-winning Dynamics 365 consultant Neil Parkhurst. Our Gold Partner agency will collaborate with the D365UG Global All-Star on an internal best practice programme that provides bespoke training and development for new recruits, front line project delivery and an open market events and webinar series designed to upskill developers, analysts and architects across the sector.

With over thirty years plus experience in IT, Parkhurst is a highly regarded leader in Dynamics, Unified Service Desk, Field Service and Project Service Automation. Boasting an extensive client roster, a popular YouTube channel and a series of sector awards, his contribution to the Dynamics space extends globally. NeilParkhurst.com – a free resource dedicated to supporting and upskilling students and professionals working towards Dynamics accreditation – has accrued over 1.7 million hits since launch in 2016, achieving double digit growth year on year, and gaining notoriety within the IT sector as one of the most valued digital resources available.

The collaboration will also extend the reach of Redspire’s on-going commitment to The Microsoft Pledge, which they signed in August 2019, a promise to help create a strong digital talent pool entering the sector and prevent skills shortages.

Second phase plans intend to take the Redspire and Parkhurst partnership from the workplace to the classroom, in a bid to help Scotland’s students and businesses prepare for the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and reduce skills gaps in IT graduates entering the workplace.

Redspire’s Services Director Steven Brown says: “Like Neil, Redspire is driven by delivering organisational business change to our clients, alongside building the best IT talent in the sector. Collaborating with Neil in the coming twelve months support our key business goals for the year ahead and will allow us to achieve ambitious growth plans in terms of talent acquisition and project delivery.”

Parkhurst says: “There’s real synergy between Redspire’s commercial goals and mine and I’m pleased to be partnering with them in this year ahead.”

Redspire is a CRM Consultancy, specialising exclusively in Dynamics 365. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we help UK businesses solve organisational challenges and help our clients achieve long term strategic goals, via bespoke CRM solutions that revolutionise how they do business.

As part of the Microsoft account managed teams, Redspire work collaboratively to drive digital transformation, improve processes and help businesses understand and engage with teams, customers, clients, citizens and members like never before. With particularly strong capabilities in Financial Services, Government and the Media, our client base includes the Money Advice Service (now trading as the Money and Pensions Service), Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking Group (CYBG), Golden Charter, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and GroupM.