As their legacy Dynamics system approached end of life/support, Martin Currie Investment Management Ltd required a new CRM system to support their global Sales, Marketing and Business Development front office, who operate in disparate time zones. The project was deployed in two phases.
- Migrate and upgrade to dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement
- Implement and integrate Dynamics 365 for Marketing
Stability, maximised efficiencies and a simple UX were key requirements, as well as the ability to augment existing systems and provide teams with a single customer view. The project sought to future proof digital infrastructure and processes and end reliance on a single system, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in all time zones.
Redspire’s approach was to rebuild Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement, hosted by Microsoft online. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing to provide an integrated digital marketing suite. Out the box functionality was maximised with customisations and configurations, rather than development, to remove any dependencies on specific partners going forward. Furthermore, this approach allowed Martin Currie to leverage existing Office 365 Licenses using the out the box integrations to Outlook, SharePoint and PowerBI.
Redspire’s approach was based upon sound, proven methodologies that ensured the new Dynamics 365 system and integrations were built precisely to the client’s needs. The project’s digital and data infrastructure not only achieved Martin Currie key outcomes, but provided the perfect foundation for the future continuous digital improvement that the business sought.
Business Outcome Highlights
- System stability: The global sales teams can reply on a secure and stable cloud based system that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in all time zones.
- Significant cost savings per annum: In just three months’ post Go-Live, Martin Currie Investment Management Ltd report significant annual savings attributed to support costs and zero system downtime.
- Additional cost savings and productivity gains: A user-friendly, unified system with established and connected processes to help attract, acquire, on-board and manage customers and their interactions.
- Resource efficiencies: No more manual updates.
- Connected sales, marketing and BD teams: Data is more accessible and dashboards shareable on the core system and by email. Dashboards are easy to build with no manual reporting required.
- Integrated email and CRM: Automations mean nothing is missed and improved succession planning.
- Automated RFP request and tender process
- Adoption and confidence: Improved team confidence in new, slick systems and processes
- No manual updates required: Dynamics twice yearly wave releases provide access to the very latest features and capabilities without any manual oversight or updates.
- Informed business decisions: Improved MI and capabilities for qualitative analysis have allowed business decisions to be made quicker.
“Our analysis and scoping led us to Dynamics 365. It offers more features available out the box, was customisable to current and future needs and suited our wider technology suite. Microsoft then recommended Redspire as a technology partner for implementation. Apart from understanding the scope of work, they were stand out partner in terms of approach and rapport. They didn’t try to oversee or overdevelop the project, they listened carefully and met our requirements.
Redspire’s approach and turnaround was efficient and effective. During implementation, updates and progress reporting were daily and structure. Communication was good and I was aware of progress at every stage. They’re a great client facing consultancy with strong people. The weekly project call and status report gave me really useful insight to share with the key stakeholders and financial teams too”
Martin Currie Investment Management Limited is a global organisation that offers asset management, equities, securities, investment strategies, financial planning and advisory services to customers worldwide. Operating since 1881 with £11.2bn Assets Under Management, the business has 110 employees operating across five global offices.
Their stock-focused approach is driven by in-depth fundamental research and skilled portfolio construction. Martin Currie’s key goals are to gain a holistic view of investment companies and an insight into their culture to build an understanding of material risks and opportunities develop conviction in ideas, and deliver differentiated client outcomes.
Martin Currie Investment Management Limited is a Specialist Investment Manager of Franklin Resources, Inc. which has Assets Under Management totalling US$1.4 trillion (as of 30th June 2020).
“The project was delivered on time, it restored system dependability and increased confidence across our sales and commercial teams in multiple geographies. A key objective was removing reliance on a single system and partner. Dynamics has solved that for us.
The team now spend more time on qualitative data analysis and access data much easier, thanks to improved visual reporting and MI capabilities. We have such great visibility now on workflow and can manage resource effectively. We’re actively using every capability the solution offers, to the huge benefit of the business.”
In recent months. Financial Services organisations have seen a years’ worth of digital transformation for every month that’s passed (Satya Nadella). Redspire and Microsoft are working together to deliver transformation in the sector, from remote teamwork, connected operations and critical cloud infrastructure to sales, marketing and customer service.
The intelligent office is the future of Investment Management. Download our Sales Professional Guide to Dynamics 365 to find out how machine learning and AI can drive automations, or read more on the power platform.
Redspire is a Microsoft Gold Partner with strong capabilities in Financial Services. We’ve worked on the biggest operational challenges facing the industry today. From Business Banking improvements at VirginMoney and business automations at Beazley Insurance to client and stakeholder engagement at Money and Pensions Service. Our expertise in Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform helps our clients unify operations quickly, deliver transformative projects that solve business pain and future proof for all scenarios.
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.
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
As part of #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, we asked our Head of HR and Business Operations Kristine Steele to share the ways that Redspire is providing a mentally healthy workplace. She gives her thoughts below on why, especially now, #KindnessMatters.
Before lockdown, my 2-year-old son was in nursery. When I collected him at the end of each day, his nursery teacher always gave me a rundown of his day. What he learned, what he ate etc and I would always ask the same question in return…” was he kind today?”
For me, kindness is such an important value, in both the workplace and our personal lives. The small ways in which we normally show kindness in the workplace for most of us have gone, for now. Making someone a cup of tea, a hello and a smile as you walk past in the corridor, asking how someone’s day has been, buying biscuits to share. Most of us do these things without thinking about them. We are naturally caring, social creatures. But for someone who isn’t having a great day, these small things can make a big difference.
So, it’s really important now, at a time when many people are feeling isolated and anxious that we reach out and take the time to make colleagues and loved ones feel better. A virtual hug, a thinking of you message, an offer of support and a chat; even to those you may not normally speak to, could really have a positive impact on someone’s mental wellbeing. By showing that you’re thinking of them and that you care.
I am really proud to be part of the Redspire team. Our Managers work hard to support and encourage their teams and we are continuously striving to make Redspire a great place to be. As part of our roadmap prior to lockdown, we had been reviewing the way we do business to ensure our everyday working culture is as mentally healthy as possible. We continue to do this by reviewing training and coaching options for our Managers to give them the tools they need to further support their teams, and we will be creating a hub of resources to encourage all employees to explore and share ways to manage stress, anxiety and mental health.
Our next step is to train a number of team members to become mental health ambassadors. We are currently running mindfulness sessions, introducing wellbeing action plans and continue to organise virtual social events, quizzes and celebrate birthdays and achievements. We’re keen that our teams input on what’s important to them too, so source suggestions of what matters to them. We’re keen that we continue to deliver a great service to our customers, but also make sure our employees have the balance between work and personal life. Especially, as for now, as both are so intertwined.
As well as hands-on team support, our anonymous wellbeing survey helps us measure how successful our initiatives are but also allows staff a voice to talk and allows us to listen. It supports the daily conversations between employees and managers and set benchmarks to measure and improve upon. It’s important as employers and Managers that we talk, listen and really care about supporting our teams. We strive to create a trusting and open environment where people won’t be judged, and we continue to encourage people to speak out and ask for help if they need it. These recent months have been tough on the global community. Everything has changed. That’s what makes it even more important now, to all work hard to get through the new challenges we face.
Be kind to each other, #KindnessMatters
Connect with Kristine as she shares more on Redspire’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Roadmap over the months ahead.
For more information on mental health awareness week and where you can get further support visit: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week
April has been a big month for Microsoft Dynamics and the Power Platform, with new apps and over 400 new features and enhancements released. Solutions Architect, Richard McAtamney shares his insights on the new capabilities.
As a Power Platform aficionado with nearly 17 years within the Financial Services sector, I’m really interested in the new Power Apps and Power Apps Portals capabilities.
Major announcements in the form of Mixed Reality in Power Apps, which tentatively present a number of new use cases and innovations in the bank branch network and the general availability of AI Builder have a huge positive impact on team productivity, improved user experiences and slickened customer journeys.
Additionally, Microsoft have worked hard to make improvements that:
- make the build slicker for in-house and development teams
- which integrate meaningfully with other technologies
- translate to innovative customer experiences and improved operational workflows for in-house teams.
Here are updates and key features from the Power Apps and Power Apps Portals release:
- It’s now possible to create Apps directly from Microsoft Teams, using existing SharePoint Data.
This allows you to:
- Drives deep integrations with productivity apps and advanced capabilities in azure
- Makes it easy to create Apps in teams with existing business data
- Create applications within your channels
- Automatically generate first few screens from data already within the Teams SharePoint site.
With Teams now the virtual workplace of choice for over 75 million global users, teams of varying skill levels can now create applications that use the context of the space they’re embedded in, bring applications to Teams mobile and give users a context that enhances productivity.
- Additionally, later this month, personal Power Apps apps will be available on the Teams mobile client. This functionality allows users to:
- Pin applications to the bottom their Teams navigation bar and open directly within the Teams setting.
- Provide quick access to mobile apps.
- Drive quick collaboration in crisis or rapid response situations, for example for frontline workers during the global health pandemic
This functionality can also have multiple uses within business and customer facing settings,
- Enhanced capabilities and experience in Model Driven Apps Offline mode
The need for enhanced offline functionality has never been more apparent than in the last few months. Systems have been overloaded with the business community shifting to remote working and frontline workers needing to communicate in the field or on the go.
Microsoft are continuously working on improving features in off-line mode. Enhancements to Model Driven Apps Offline include:
- Model driven apps are faster & more reliable in offline mode
- Entities such as currency will be available in offline mode
- Better communication & more actionable error messages
- Barcode Scanner control also now available in offline mode
- Power Apps mobile has all your apps on a single application
The preview of Power Apps mobile application allows user to launch canvas and model driven apps together from a single point, removing the user pain of two separate apps and creating a unified experience. Key highlights include:
- Canvas and Model-driven apps now run on a single mobile application
- All Model-Driven and Canvas Apps available in a single mobile App
- Makers can deliver a targeted experience to users on a single application
- Pixel perfect, task-based Canvas App or declarative metadata driven model-driven app.
- Canvas & Model-driven apps will appear together in a single list of apps in the PowerApps Mobile App
- Canvas App Monitor Tool now generally available
This feature is now generally available, allowing users to diagnose and troubleshoot issues with applications quicker. Key highlights include the capability to:
- Diagnose & troubleshoot applications quicker
- Import and Export Log files
- Share Diagnostic sessions, Inspect, Interpret and filter results
- Visualise event timelines
- Identify Problem areas and fix in App
- Modern Solution explorer gets a make over
For users who want to to spend less time searching and transitioning between designers and more time on making apps, this update will help create a more intuitive user journey. Key call outs are:
- Secondary navigation added
- Recent items 1 click away
- Remember settings from previous session
- PowerApps Test Studio for Canvas Apps is now generally available
For users who have canvas apps within solutions or projects, how are they usually tested? Power Apps Test Studio for canvas apps builds on the preview release and is now generally available with support for all controls and integration into the build and release pipeline. The features:
- Fully supports all Power Apps custom controls and components
- Allow new capabilities to run tests automatically
- Establish Quality Gates and efficient test automation
Some key improvements in Portals include:
- Web API’s for CRUD Operations on CDS entities
- Adds Web API’s allowing users to create, read, update and delete operations across all CDS entities (Based on User & Community Feedback)
- Portal Checker enhancements (First added in Oct 18’ Wave)
- Additional Scenarios added to help resolve common portal issues
- Power BI Embedded component in Portal Designer.
- First party integration with PowerBI, using liquid tags
- Simplify Integration
- First class component in Portal designer experience, similar to forms and list
- Remove complexity of liquid tags
- Add PowerBI report or dashboard in Portal as a component using Portal designer property panel, without having to worry about liquid code.
Sophisticated Apps on a Unified Platform
- Build responsive, reflowing Canvas App pages
App developers and makers can now build pages that are carefully tailored to needs of end users and responsive on various screen sizes.
- Build pages fully responsive to changes in screen size and orientation
- Automatic re-flow as the available real estate on the screen changes.
- Supports all existing canvas concepts and custom components
- Can be built in Power Apps Studio or Power Apps Component framework
- Build fully custom and responsive experiences into Apps
This functionality was requested by the PowerApps Community and is a huge step towards unifying App types
- Enabling Printable pages in Canvas Apps
A huge plus for field service type scenarios, this feature allows
- makers to configure a printable page within the canvas app and create a PDF.
- End users to print, email or file docs in a whole range of use cases, for example loss adjusters and claims inspectors in insurance.
- Using existing concepts to create, capture and print a page.
This functionality was a top request by the PowerApps Community.
- Enable creating and editing data in forms displayed as modal dialogue without navigating away
Users no longer need to navigate away from a form to create or edit a related record.
- Create or edit a related record within a form
- Open a main form in a dialogue directly from another main form
- Will also be available in the navigateTo Api
- Can be used in the command bar, event or plug-in to open a main record in dialogue experience
This new functionality hugely increases productivity, reduces clicks and removes unnecessary navigation across forms.
- Improvements to model-driven apps
These improvements are designed to enable end user productivity and reduce time to get started on a session. Highlights include:
- Remember last used app, reducing need to choose from an App list
- Last App will be used if an App isn’t specified within a URL
- Reduces click and increases productivity
- Visuals for existing App message bar to align with Form message bar experience.
- Model Driven Apps now have API’s to show App level messages, which remain visible while navigating
- API allows for flexibility in message Type – Eg: User Dismissible or not dismissible for permanent messages
- API support removing specific messages if they don’t apply
- Save is always visible in the command bar on edit forms
- Save and Save and Close options in command bar are now visible when editing a record.
- Previously both were hidden if autosave was on. Save was only visible in the footer
- View selector usability enhancements
- Drop down is wider and longer
- Personal views are separated from system views, shown higher on the list
- Header and Label Highlighting styles applies
- Pinning made easier and icon alignment
- Improved Data Source experience and Common Data Service view are generally available
- Speed of access to Common Data Service now greater than 50%
- The feature & speed now make this the preferred way of connecting to the CDS over the Dynamics 365 Integrator
- New Data Sources pane
- Entity View Selection
- Change CDS Environment
- Improved Data defaulting
Microsoft continue to focus investment and attention on the Common Data Service as a robust platform for apps of any scale.
- Auto generate web apps on top of your existing data
- Makers can now create Canvas Apps in landscape rather than just phone layout
- Easier to make Canva Apps for web and tablet Scenarios
- Use existing SharePoint, Excel, SQL and CDS Data without having to build it from scratch.
- App from Data Templates will now be responsive
- Generate App Once for both Phone & Tablet
- Large File & Image Support in Model-Driven Apps
- File & Image entity attribute can be added to any part of the form
- Files can be uploaded up to 128Mb
- Images can be uploaded up to 30Mb
- Attachments in forms ssed to be limited to 5MB – Limiting ability to add large files eg: PDF, Images & Videos
Now users can easily work with large images and files from CDS in any Power App.
- Improved themes in Power Apps
Introducing improved themes for both canvas and model-driven apps that reflect modern Microsoft Fluent themes. Canvas apps also have new control sizing introduced to allow makers to build apps with controls sized for web-based and mobile scenarios.
New themes made available for model-driven app as a preview.
Our technical teams love talking all things Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. If you’d like to discuss any element of the Wave 1 2020 enhancements in more detail, please get in touch on 0845 226 8170 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep an eye on our blog and LinkedIn page for our follow up article on the Power Platform.
If you’re not a hardcore techy, you’ll be forgiven for the 2020 wave 1 Dynamics 365 and Power Platform release flying under your radar. This year’s release lands during an unprecedented time for global society, whilst businesses navigate new remote working practices and strive to achieve uninterrupted business continuity.
We, along with our partners at Microsoft are providing support and resources for businesses on the frontlines of the global health pandemic and are making seamless business continuity a key priority for our customers using Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform.
The new wave 1 enhancements however are really worth exploring in some detail. The new features and capabilities further unify B2B and B2C customer journeys and user experiences across sales, service and marketing. The automations and virtual enhancements are as slick as they are time-saving, allowing c-suite teams to rethink how departments and teams are set up for operational efficiency.
Considerations for Wave 1 adoption during COVID-19
Microsoft have delayed the mandatory uptake of Dynamics for Customer Engagement and includes other allowances for uptake of the new release, including the ability to defer certain features once before uptake.
Wave 1 release for 2020 however, includes brand new apps and over 400 new features and capabilities across both platforms, many of which by design, can help organisations adapt to immediate challenges posed by the pandemic and ensure you’re well placed thereafter to adapt to operational changes.
Watch Microsoft’s BizApps Virtual Launch
If you have 90 minutes free, it would be a good time investment to deep dive into the detailed demos and use cases on the Business Applications Virtual Launch on demand. If you’re time shy, you can view a summary of the new features on the Dynamics 365 and Power Platform 2020 release wave 1 plans.
The Redspire technical team have immersed themselves in the new enhancements, test driven and summarised their highlights. Have a read and please do reach out on email@example.com or connect with the team on their LinkedIn to chat further.
Dynamics 365 for Marketing
If you aren’t using Dynamics 365 Marketing, Analyst Ross McGhee recommends that this is the time to get on-board. The solution has really come of age and can help both B2B and B2C businesses manage customer outreach and engagement through rich personalisation and deep automation. See Ross’s highlights below.
- Meet compliance and brand standards by test-sending dynamic marketing emails
Wave 1 enhancements enable users to test-send marketing emails containing dynamic content, highly beneficial to new users as they familiarise themselves with the syntax from which to implement dynamic content.
Now, users can test-send their marketing emails using a sample contact record or seed to ensure dynamic content displays correctly in the marketing email preview. This makes quality checking, compliance and maintaining brand standards fool-proof, in advance of sending to their target audience.
- Reach your audience where they are with automated scheduler
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been called to action to help analyse trends based on previous interaction with marketing emails.
Dynamics 365 for Marketing can now automatically send marketing emails to recipients during times at which each contact is most likely to be actively reading their emails, instead of on a timed mass release schedule. This increases engagement and interaction with content, helping produce more volume and higher quality leads.
Like other areas where machine learning is being used, the AI will only get smarter over time with each added interaction, creating more meaningful customer interactions and better understanding of their unique needs.
- Increase visibility and credibility with spam checker
The new spam checker feature makes smart recommendations to the avoid marketing emails being flagged as spam, and can confidently assess your content as Low, Medium or High risk.
Utilising this functionality will assure marketers that emails will land directly in customer inboxes and along with automated scheduler consequently produce a higher number of leads.
- Close the feedback loop with Microsoft Forms Pro
Forms Pro now integrates with Dynamics 365 for Marketing, allowing marketers to create branded surveys within the platform, automate interactions at various stages of the customer journey and return rich insights. With Voice of the Customer being retired in summer, Forms Pro’s enhanced integrations help marketers create valuable feedback that drives future decision making for campaign delivery, improve audience targeting and build valuable user experiences, whilst aligning neatly with other KPIs served within the platform.
- Export rich data to Excel, analyse and act with marketing insights
Marketers asked and Microsoft responded. Rich marketing insights can be exported direct to Excel from Dynamics 365 for Marketing at the click of a button, without having to depend on Power BI. Marketers can monitor campaign success, analyse and report on trends and behaviours and make informed decisions on future activity.
- Deliver visually impactful campaigns with the improved email content designer
Content is still King in Marketing. Microsoft have revamped the Design Editor to help users of varying skills level create quality designs faster and more efficiently. Enhanced drag and drop, drag to resize, an improved colour picker as well as more customisation options and email-wide property controls to help marketers create brand consistent output.
- Improved Customer Journey Experience
This is our marketing teams hands-down favourite enhancement. Within the customer journey, marketers now have the capability to set static expiration dates for marketing email tiles. This means that time sensitive promotions or activity isn’t being promoted outwith the campaign in-market dates and a big win for compliance in highly regulated industries.
- In-Place Editing of Email and Forms
Another favourite, allowing marketers to create and edit core marketing records from one place.
The enhancements make it possible to create customer journeys, marketing emails, marketing pages, marketing forms and more, directly from your Customer Journey record. Greatly reducing the amount of clicks back and forth between various entities throughout the application and improving time to campaign go live.
From a technical point of view, this is a great tool to showcase to clients looking to invest in Dynamics for Marketing. This functionality really highlights:
- the capabilities of the solution for users of all skill levels and
- the ease of user adoption with the bulk of the marketer’s usage carried out primarily in one single location.
Dynamics for Customer Service
We’ve been talking lots about Dynamics for Customer Service in the past few months. The solution’s automations and integrations with the Power Platform have proven invaluable for managing the spike in customer interactions in frontline services during the global health crisis. Industries like Banking, Travel, Health Service and Education have been able to meet increased demand thanks to the ease of implementing new Virtual Agent managed journeys, connected to knowledge bases and existing content at pace.
The enhancements launched this month focus on three key areas:
- Agent productivity: Delivering improvements that help agents be more productive such as improved knowledge article search, email authoring, and timeline enhancements.
- Omnichannel for Customer Service: Expanding the range of supported channels and agent productivity tooling.
- Connected Customer Service: Linking IoT diagnostics, IoT device updates, and case management to help organizations evolve a proactive and predictive service model.
Top pick new features, directly from the Analyst team
Analyst Colette Rogers shares an overview of her favourite new tools.
- The Copy and paste feature in Power Automate is now generally available. This has been incredibly handy in Power Automate, allowing capability to copy actions and paste into the flow as a further action or another branch of your condition. This feature has been available in preview and has been extremely useful when using create or update a record action, with numerous entries of Dynamics content. It saves time when recreating the same step and reduces error in selecting the content for input. It can also be used across flows in the same environment.
- Another key feature is instant flow steps in business process flows, now generally available too. In Dynamics 365 and PowerApps, a business process flow provides the user with steps to follow to in each stage of the process. Instant flows can now be used as a step within a business process flow to automate tasks, create approval requests or connect to one of the supported power automate connectors.
- Finally, the solution support for User Interface (UI) flows. UI flows allow step-by-step actions such as mouse clicks, keyboard use, and data entry to be turned into intelligent workflows. These automations can now be imported and exported as part of a solution to be used across different environments. This supports the application lifecycle of the UI flows.
This summary is barely touching the surface of the new capabilities. Our technical teams love talking all things Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. If you’d like to discuss any element of the Wave 1 2020 enhancements in more detail, please get in touch on 0845 226 8170 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep an eye on our blog and LinkedIn page for our follow up article on the Power Platform.
As we get ready to wave goodbye to an incredible year, we reflect on our successes, partnerships, people and technology in the Redspire 2019 Round Up.
2019 has been an exciting year not just for Redspire but for the business applications we work with too. Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform’s wave 2 release has evolved the technology, with over 400 new AI-infused tools. These enhancements allow us to bring tech-driven problem-solving and process improvement to business users of all skill levels. Microsoft have empowered a new generation of in-house teams to become citizen developers. We’ve sent our teams all over the world to Dynamics seminars and events this year to ensure we are first to know about the new opportunities and technologies we can offer our clients.
At Redspire, 2019 seen us expand our client base within the financial services sector. We were shortlisted for three prestigious industry awards – including DIGIT’s Financial Technology Partner of the Year – for our on-going work for CYBG (recently rebranded to Virgin Money). We continued to enhance our working relationship and account-managed partnership with Microsoft, in turn improving the service levels we offer our clients.
Diversity in the workplace
We started 2019 off with four key goals. To be the best partner, be the best supplier, be the best employer and to give something back to the community. We’re proud to have hit these goals, with client satisfaction ratings approx. 95%- 98% across all of our key metrics. This satisfaction is also evidenced by a strong referral programme and repeat business from all of our clients. We pride ourselves on becoming a long term transformation partner, not just a service provider.
We’ve also grown our headcount by over 20% and increased turnover by 11%. As our headcount has grown and key people have returned from maternity leave, we’re very proud that we’ve managed to achieve a gender ratio split of 50:50. We’ve also created new family friendly homeworking policies, expanded the office floor space to provide more quiet and break out spaces and made some key promotions within both commercial and development teams as we’ve grown.
With a commitment to the Microsoft Pledge and reducing the digital skills gap, we’ve sponsored a number of grassroots events this year, including D365 Saturday Glasgow at Strathclyde Business School and Nine Twenty and SmartSTEM’s Insp-Hire event at Glasgow Caledonian University. Our team love getting hands on within the community, but even more so with the younger generation, helping them get an insight into a career in tech.
As we go into 2020, we’ve got an exciting calendar of events coming up, including Scottish Summit on 29th February. With over 90 free workshops on Microsoft technologies in one day, this is simply not to be missed for clients, techies and newbies alike, and we’re thrilled to be a sponsor! Sign up now if you haven’t already. At time of posting over 90% of the free tickets have been taken, so be quick.
Events collaboration with Microsoft, co-hosted workshops and Hackathons, and a range of immersive webinars and demos help provide a holistic client services, packed with Microsoft expertise and Redspire’s bespoke methodology and consultancy. It’s a partnership that helps our clients get the very best out of the tech and keep pace with digital transformation in their sectors. There’s a limited amount of places left for our education and events programme in February and March 2020. Enquire about taking part at email@example.com or call the team on 0845 226 8170 to find out more.
We also commissioned unique access to Forrester’s August 2019 report, The ROI of CX Transformation, to help decision-makers visualise and quantify the hard impact and ROI of CX transformation in their business. We highly recommend downloading!
October’s wave 2 release for Dynamics and the Power Platform
Looking closer at the technology, in October’s wave 2 release, major updates to the platforms meant hundreds of new opportunities to evolve internal processes for our clients.
At Redspire HQ, we’re very excited about Power Virtual Agent and the impact on customer service, satisfaction and experience. Improved with with brand new authoring capabilities, business users can build, test and deploy powerful AI chatbots same day, via a guided, no-code graphical interface -without the need for developers or data scientists. These reactive capabilities can free up front line agents to focus on more complex issues, and also provide deep insights into customer satisfaction and their journey and sentiment.
Another favourite of ours is the the business card scanner within Dynamics 365 for Sales. The scanner analyses the card for information and automatically updates within the correct field or allow the user to overwrite to the correct field. For busy professionals used to a digital experience, this is a highly covetable tool that helps store the information they need to connect and network more effectively.
Similarly, the ability to undertake functions like object recognition and form processing to detect form fields and values is extremely valuable. AI builder is able 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 Apps, and AI will read, recognise the data and populate it. This will be extremely helpful for rebuilding and legacy platforms as businesses continue to evolve.
With such meaningful changes to Dynamics and the Power Platform, as expected Microsoft have overhauled the licensing. This puts the power back into organisations hands to license only what’s needed, and expand as their needs grow. Find more information about the Grandfathering Process here.
Moving forward to 2020
Next year is shaping up to be just as busy as this one, and we’ve set some pretty ambitious goals for our business and culture. In Q1 2020, Redspire and Microsoft have joined forces on a co-hosted webinar series that showcases how to put low-code, no code, point and click technologies in business users’ hands with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. Watch the webinar on-demand now and if you want to see the tools in action, view the follow up demo too.
We love to chat about digital transformation for Customer Experience. If you’d like to find out more about how Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform can support your FSI organisation through its next phase of digital transformation, get in touch with our team of specialists today on 0845 226 8170 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy New Year to our clients, colleagues, partners, friends and family!
Since Microsoft released hundreds of brand new AI-infused capabilities for Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform, we’ve focused heavily on the opportunity for automation and process improvement within Banking and Insurance. This article focuses on Power Apps for Banking and the four Power Apps components driving improved Customer Experience in branch and other omni-channel touchpoints.
In The ROI of CX Transformation, August 2019, Forrester’s CX Index shows that in the banking industry, improving customer experience is highly correlated with increasing all three types of loyalty; retention (keeping more customers), enrichment (cross-sell and upsell), and advocacy (word of mouth).
The Power Platform’s new low-code, no-code toolkit is opening up citizen development and empowering business users – often the people closest to a problem or process – to proactively seek solutions and improvements in real-time. What does this mean for improved Customer Experience? Well, it removes the need to engage in costly and lengthy development processes and means the power to continually improve and deliver customer delight lies in the hands of your authorised business users, not just external and internal development teams.
Power Apps for Banking
Power Apps within the Power Platform is a tool that really opens up the capability to deliver incredible experiences within the financial services sector. As we seen in a recent Power Platform for insurance claims scenario, creating customer-facing portals that automate next step actions, integrated with and connected to the valuable data that sits within disparate teams and systems in your business, provides robust processes that give customers confidence and increase satisfaction scores considerably.
One of the key tools within the Power Platform is Power Apps. Power Apps for Banking scenarios allows users to pro-actively and reactively build high productivity custom-apps same day, connecting to existing data and systems and solving specific processes and business needs. Teams across the business – from analysts to developers – work more efficiently together and solve problems with intuitive visual tools that don’t require code, on any device.
The four key components of Power Apps
- Canvas apps are highly tailored apps that allow you to optimise different tasks and roles. Begin with the user experience to create a bespoke interface with the power of a blank canvas and connect it to up to 200 data sources. Users can build canvas apps for web, mobile, and tablet applications, making use of a wide range of controls like camera and location services.
- Model-driven apps are more sophisticated than Canvas apps. Begin with your data model and build upwards from core business data and processes in the Common Data Service to model forms, views, charts, Power BI dashboards and other components. Model-driven apps automatically generate great UI that is responsive across all devices.
- Portals are low-code externally-facing web landing pages that users outside your business – like customers, partners and third party agents – to sign in with a wide variety of identities, create and view data in the Common Data Service, or even browse content anonymously.
- Common Data Service is the data platform that comes with Power Apps and allows you to store and model business data. Dynamics 365 applications are built on the CDS, meaning if you’re already using Dynamics, your data is Power Platform ready.
The value of the in-branch banking experience in a digital world
The value of resolving a customer query in-branch is immeasurable for gaining trust and loyalty. In a 2019 global survey into the value of bank branches in a digital world, Deloitte found that despite branch density declining, the branch experience influences customer satisfaction more than online or mobile channels. This impact on satisfaction levels was true across all products ranges and surprisingly uniform across generations, from boomers to millennials.
Power Apps for Banking: Transforming the in-branch banking experience
Bank branches can make use of digital tools like Power Apps to meet and resolve customer needs in real time. Moving away from paper based or basic legacy system appointment systems, custom-apps can be built and accessed by greeters in-branch and connected to the Dynamics 365 Common Data Service to identify the best staff member to resolve the query, accurately estimate waiting time and fulfil the customer needs during the visit.
The in-branch Power Apps scenario
- Customer enters the branch and is met by a greeter with a Power Apps tablet application connected to the Common Data Service, using Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement contact entities for storing information about queued customers and system users to search employee shift patterns.
- Branch greeter enters data and searches the Power App for the customer account and can see which customer service agents are on duty today, who is best placed to resolve the query and even look up who’s on lunch and when they’re due back at their desk.
- Using these data sources and Azure functions that constantly read and refresh this information and existing customer handling times, the app can accurately predict how long the customer would need to wait for to be seen, as well as project a per-person forecast about when each waiting customer will be served.
- Power App Canvas apps can be set up to manage queue and customer service agent availability data and match customers with the correct agent. The greeter is served with wait time forecasting for new customers who arrive in-branch.
- If the customer can’t be seen on the spot, the greeter is able to set up a text notification, powered by Power Automate, which will be sent when the agent becomes available, holding the appointment for the customer too.
- Additionally, the greeter can check waiting times and availability in other nearby stores if the customer would like this option.
- Data on the customer query can be entered by the greeter and sent directly to the customer service agent, meaning the customer doesn’t need to explain their issue twice and the customer service agent has some preparation time before face-to-face with customer.
- The agent can also review previous interactions and transactions on the account or search knowledge articles or playbooks on resolutions to these types of queries.
- Data and insights can be shared to constantly updating reports on average waiting times per customer and customer service agent. Heat maps and trigger points can be set up to alert when additional staff are required or need to be redeployed from other areas of the business.
- As an extension to Dynamics 365, data risk, compliance and security processes like GDPR are already covered within the solution.
- Additionally, customer feedback can be gathered by the greeter and fed back into the system via the app, quickly and easily.
Redspire and the Financial Services Industry
This short scenario is barely scratching the surface of the capabilities of the Power Platform for banking. If you’re ready to explore the tools further, Redspire and Microsoft have joined forces on a co-hosted webinar series that showcases how to put low-code, no code, point and click technologies in business users’ hands with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. Watch the webinar on-demand now and if you want to see the tools in action, view the follow up demo too.
We love to chat about digital transformation for Customer Experience. If you’d like to find out more about how Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform can support your FSI organisation through its next phase of digital transformation, get in touch with our team of specialists today on 0845 226 8170 or email us at email@example.com.
A bank’s AI goals should look beyond cost reduction, welcome though that is. This technology has the capacity to do much more. Indeed, it can completely transform on institution from the core.” (Accenture, Redefine Banking with Artificial Intelligence)
In our recent Banking on AI article, we gave an overview of the rapid pace of AI evolution in the banking sector and looked at the limitless opportunity to automate functions and augment the banking workplace. Microsft’s Dynamics 365 AI solutions feature the most impactful and proprietary AI capabilities in global technology, and support banking organisations to deliver meaningful customer experience. Rich banking data across the business turns into proactive ideas and actions.
Customer Insights and Virtual Agent for Customer Service
In this follow up article, we’ll take a closer look at Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Virtual Agent for Customer Service for banking. These AI technologies are helping front line sales and service banking agents make better use of their time, enabling managers to use team resources more efficiently than ever and improving satisfaction and experience, no matter which platform customers are engaging on.
In a recent Intelligent Economies survey by Microsoft, AI use is reportedly high amongst banking organisations worldwide. Nearly half (48%) of banking and financial services leaders reported that they’d already implemented virtual agent technology, with more than a third making use of both machine learning (36%) and predictive analytics (38%). Broad examples of these tools in action are:
- Virtual Agent can be deployed proactively to resolve common service queries and frequently asked questions but can also be configured quickly to react and problem-solve when new, emerging issues arise.
- Predictive analytics can be used to analyse account behavior and identify the potential risk of lending defaults.
- Machine learning can monitor account behaviour and highlight any activity or transactional patterns that may suggest fraud or risk.
AI drives market differentiation and competitive advantage
Microsoft’s position on AI is that the technology works best when the people closest to a problem are empowered with the AI tools to solve it themselves. This is made easy with the low-code, no-code point and click technology which is at the heart of their AI development, putting problem-solving capabilities in business users’ hands. When individuals and teams create their own solutions, as and when they need them, it increases team competencies and heightens impact and ownership. Which of course, leads the way to strong differentiation and provides maximum competitive advantage.
Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Virtual Agent for Customer Service
Which brings us back to Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Virtual Agent for Customer Service. Together, these solutions provide banking customer service managers with a 360-degree overview of service operations and allow customers to access not only immediate but intelligent responses to each and every request. What’s more service levels are measurable and unified, whether getting in touch by telephone, text, online or via banking apps.
At Redspire, we recommend Customer Insights and Virtual Agent as some of the most impressive tools for delivering enhanced customer experiences to retail and commercial banking customers. The combination of service operations and machine learned insights means users can make use of all the data coming into the system to make smarter decisions on what to optimise and what to automate. A simple overview of the tools in action include:
- Data is constantly being fed into Dynamics 365 from omni-channel customer support queries, cases being raised and transactional requests.
- Customer Insights AI analyses these support cases them groups them into similar themes and topics to identify potential problems in real-time and inform non-technicaly teams that action is required. For example, a card provider’s hardware outage would lead to query spikes or increased online banking activity, as banking customers are unable to use their debit cards and call to report the issue. Or a branch emergency closure would lead to a rise in transactional calls and online activity.
- Before these calls become a drain on front line agents or support staff, business users of varying skill capability can quickly and easily configure automated conversations with a Virtual Agent bot via a web based application. The bot can engage, inform, easily take action and interact with existing systems to transact or problem solve to the customer’s satisfaction where possible, or escalate to a human for higher touch resolution where required.
- Throughout these conversations and transactions, Virtual Agent is constantly learning, mining user feedback and getting smarter over time. This continual improvement steers best practice with human teams and recommends future actions to update the bot in the interface to provide the greatest impact.
- Visual dashboards and business analytics on the service scenarios report and allow customer service managers to quickly evaluate and act to meet key performance indicators (KPIs) and maintain customer satisfaction levels.
As aI technology evolves and grows progressively more sophisticated, the complexity of the tasks that bots and virtual agents take on will continue to grow. Virtual agents will collaborate with team members, for example by prompting them to ask the right questions throughout customer calls or will pro-actively serve them with customer data or product information, without the human agent having to search manually.
Redspire: the leading digital transformation partner for Banking and Financial Services
IF you’d like more information on Customer Insights and Virtual Agent for Customer Service get in touch today. At Redspire, when we partner with you to implement Microsoft’s leading AI technologies, we become your dedicated Dynamics partner throughout your whole improvement journey.
We have particularly strong capabilities in Banking and Financial Services, FMCG, Government, and Third Sector and have worked on the biggest operational challenges facing these industries today. From Small Business Banking improvements at CYBG, client and stakeholder engagement at Money and Pensions Service, our expertise in Dynamics 365 and the AI-driven Power Platform, we help our clients achieve service excellence and deliver transformation projects that promises return on investment.
Contact us today
For more information on the Future of Banking download our Future of Banking white paper. To discuss what Microsoft and Artificial Intelligence can offer your organisation, get in touch with Redspire today on 0845 226 8170 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We all know that the relationship with the customer is important in #banking, but how well are your sales team managing their relationships?
Find more about how Dynamics 365 for Sales can help banking customers here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BndnVpLc5NQ
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