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HSO Michael Lonnon and Jon Rallings

Transcript

Michael Lonnon

Welcome everyone to episode 47 of the HSO Dynamics matters podcast.

Your regular sonic dive into the world of Microsoft technology related matters and much more besides.

I’m your host Michael Lonnon and in this episode, I flagged down a Dublin bound removal van to grab Microsoft’s Jamie Bulmer, for a chat about why having easily accessible data, connected across your operational systems, is so important in delivering a more personal customer experience, and how you make it happen.

So, grab a brew, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Michael Lonnon

London or Dublin

Jamie Bulmer

Dublin

Michael Lonnon

Is that by nature or because of where you’ve moved to?

Jamie Bulmer

I spent the best part of 15 years going backwards and forwards to London, and worked in and around Lloyds and a lot of banks down at Canary Wharf and it is an amazing, really vibrant city, and certainly a very good laugh to go out in. There’s a coldness I think still about London, probably because it is so large. When I started visiting Dublin, I really did feel I got on a lot with people that just happened to be around it and you can just chat to anyone anywhere and there’s a real kind of niceness to everything that goes on and it’s much smaller as well, it has a much more community feel

Michael Lonnon

Rich and famous or rich and unknown?

Jamie Bulmer

Definitely rich and unknown. I can’t see the point in being famous or rich if people are going to harass you about it. The most important asset we have is our time and I think the longer you have to spend justifying your existence to other people, the less you have to spend on yourself and those around you.

Michael Lonnon                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Product first or customer first?

Jamie Bulmer

Definitely customer first. I think there’s a level of understanding about a specific customer that goes a really long way. If we look just at the technology market, there are more products out there than you would probably readily admit, so there’s usually a product that fits or nearly fits most situations. So, I would much rather it be right for the customer and choose amongst the products that are available.

Michael Lonnon

I think that’s where most organisations, especially vendors, are leaning towards, solving pain points first, as opposed to creating a product and then working out what the need is afterwards.

Jamie Bulmer

I think that’s one of the aspects that I’ve been really lucky with. If we think about the kinds of applications that I sell at Microsoft, they’re less products and more platforms that you can deliver a wide range of customer centric use cases against. Using them out of the box, they’re probably not very suitable for very much but when you consider them in the context of what they can be used to drive, given that customer knowledge and intimacy, I think that’s a big thing.

Michael Lonnon

As part of that customer intimacy, and the platforms that are focused on creating a more coordinated or connected customer experience, why is it important to be able to deliver a good customer experience at all?

Jamie Bulmer

I think when each of us looks into our own private customer experiences, the things that we’re really after are getting what we want, not necessarily in the fastest time, not necessarily even the exact thing, but getting to a point where we feel happy about our purchase. If you think about it in the business of experience, rather than necessarily rack and stack, which has its place in people’s minds as well, I think that’s where we need to be. My customers in the banks tend to see it as customer led and experience focused and probably those last two questions were very pertinent because we try and create the right experience for people that brings them back time and again, by the combination of having the right product for the right customer and the right buying experience when they get there.

Michael Lonnon

As part of knowing enough about your customer to create that connected experience, it’s about creating or having a unified view of each customer. It’s easier if you understand their needs and wants to deliver a personal experience.

Jamie Bulmer

It’s central to what we do. Again, if you think to your own buying experiences, or even service experiences, or marketing experiences, people don’t like to be asked the same things again and again. And remember, when you’re dealing with customers, you know it’s the company’s view to the customer, not necessarily the individuals. So if you speak to five people at a bank, and they don’t seem joined up, then the bank doesn’t seem very joined up. And that’s what we’re trying to drive, that everyone sings from the same hymn sheet. That everyone has the same availability of what customer’s needs and experiences should be and so to a degree, I think it becomes a story of being able to stitch together the maximum amount of information in the shortest time to the employees and colleagues of that institution or bank you’re working with, because people can only take on so much. So, it’s as much about filtering through the noise as anything else. And delivering relevancy to individuals that engage with customers.

Michael Lonnon

How can you create that connected view? So, you were talking to a bank who’s thinking, right, we need to up our game when it comes to application development that’s more personalised, how might they go about approaching it?

Jamie Bulmer

Understanding and grouping your customers into the areas of interest they might have would be one place to start. Understanding the next conversations that happen and people’s life points is another place to start. Ultimately, bringing it together in a relevant context and delivering it to people on a channel of their choice is where we want to be. And so when you bring all of those things together, I think having a consistency of data and understanding each customer helps us drive relevant insight to a colleague to give the tools and automation process and systems to easily meet the customer where they need to be. And proactively and reactively offer them the best service. I think that’s where we should be in terms of our technology approach. And that’s not the same for every customer they will meet. So, we need to have a range of pathways depending on who their customer is.

Michael Lonnon

What platforms are we talking about then to create those different experiences?

Jamie Bulmer

For me, there’s actually three areas. And they can’t live independently. They have to live together. Most banks will have a core banking platform, or insurance companies will have a core underwriting platform that will provide their systems of record, these should be transactionally focused. They should be lightweight, highly reliable, and they should be the system that provides the master record of customer’s transactional necessities. We should have systems of insight, which understands the customer transaction information, and provide, in collaboration with the customer, data. By that I mean the profile of that individual and a set of relevant conversations. But the third system, which is perhaps the most important one is the systems of engagement and how we take the good stuff that’s been done in the record and surface it to customers via our colleagues. In my view, Microsoft has great systems of engagement that are flexible enough to deliver that experience in the right way across mobile web scenarios into branches through things like tablet applications onto contact centres, first party telephony video advisory, SMS, teams chat, mobile chat, collaborative chat as well. A wide range of engagement channels that we just wouldn’t be able to reach if we were trying to build something ourselves from scratch. When things like WhatsApp or Twitter arrive, there’s a new mechanism to ensure Microsoft engagement system interacts well with it. If we just move back down to the systems of insight, when we start to look down the Microsoft stack, and away from business applications, power platform, LinkedIn, those kinds of elements and the office stack, we start to think more about how we’re going to react with our data story, that’s when those underpinning your services come to the fore. Because it provides a way of utilising very large quantities of data that we have from engagement, and record in a meaningful way. When you think across to the systems of record, Microsoft doesn’t have a core banking platform, or a core underwriting platform, but through our partnerships across those vertical industries with key players like terminals, Fiserv and guidewire, and Duck Creek, we’re striving to ensure that the same ID and V security access management and all of those shared services from the Azure world are permitted to run those systems of record. When you look at a lot of their offerings, they’re able to be executed in the cloud on as your as part of our trusted programme for financial services FSI compliance programmes around the world.

Michael Lonnon

What is the challenge for financial services in trying to create these connected views?

Jamie Bulmer

I think a lot of the time, the challenge is history. When you look at the infrastructure that’s been provisioned in some banks, I’ve worked with a couple of banks that were founded in 1647 so there is a legacy in technology terms in both banking, insurance and capital markets and that technical debt needs to be repaid at some point. As you start to see successful migrations to things like the power platform, where we’re driving inclusion of business users alongside professional developers to speed up transition from technical debt through to modern prototyping, it’s a heartening place to be. When we look at the inclusion of the Dynamics story as a rounded platform. it gives us key capabilities across sales and service organisations of the bank. And also, when we start to look a little bit deeper around some of the automation solutions we’re developing and the integration solutions underneath that. That’s not to say transitions from legacy systems aren’t possible, transitioning from that through to something modern and customer centric is possible. It’s just the rate of change and the priority of change as well. Different banks and F&S institutions have different priorities. If you’re a customer service focused organisation, you would probably start that journey in an engagement system, because that’s going to give you the biggest bang for your buck. Whereas if you’re a FinTech, you’re probably going to start the other end in the core platform, and the system of record. So, the journey is different for everybody.

Michael Lonnon

So that’s about working out what you need, what priorities you need to focus on work.

Jamie Bulmer

Absolutely.

Summary

Many financial services companies struggle to map customer journeys particularly where customers have more than one product.

Jamie believes that true customer personalisation happens when data is connected across applications and systems. This is of course a challenge, particularly when those systems are outdated and difficult to use. But the rewards of connecting customer touch points are worth it. Starting off by reducing the time and cost of manually manipulating data.

But by connecting systems and bringing data together, you gain the insight needed to create personal engagement, from apps to emails. And from products to services.

Thanks for listening and take care go yourselves

 

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