Dynamics Matters Podcast: Ep 65 - How to deliver better digital banking services more efficiently

With special guest Natalie Brooks, Enterprise Architect, HSO

✔ How to approach the challenge of delivering memorable and more profitable customer experiences

✔ Using data effectively to create those customer experiences

✔ Legacy systems and and migration to newer technology

Transcript

Introduction

Welcome to episode 65 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 went all Financial Services, emptying my piggybank, counting up my coppers, only to find that I had barely £3 saved.

In happier news, I had a great chat with HSOs Financial Services expert, Natalie Brooks, to discover how organisations in Capital Markets are approaching the challenge of delivering memorable – and more profitable – customer experiences.

And how the best organisation do it is something every organisation can learn a thing from.

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

Michael Lonnon

It’s Friday, the weather’s good and I love to shoot the breeze, and today we’re going to shoot the breeze about capital markets. I want to pick into your brain a little bit about capital markets as you’re the expert. So, if you could just give me a bit of an overview about how capital markets are working today, how they’re using technology, the types of problems that they’re trying to address, that would be a good place to start.

Natalie Brooks

Generally speaking, capital markets, whether it be private equity firms, wealth management, asset management, or even investment banking, a lot of the times there’s your front office and your back office. You get your back-office things, which is risk, compliance, operations all have traditional systems, your finance systems, things like that in place, you’ve got your front office, which has your sales and your relationship management, but also, you’re trading. A of the times these organisations have systems that are legacy, maybe complex in many cases, especially in larger investment banks and on premise traditionally, and for compliance and regulatory reasons Cloud hasn’t necessarily been the forerunner because of where data lives and how much data can be in the cloud, whether it be public or private, where that data is located. Traditionally you’ve got these systems, they’re in house, a lot of them bespoke, built by the organisations and maintained by these organisations. What we find with them is data, they’ve got loads of data, and they have to capture all of this data because of regulatory requirements. And it’s data on everything. It could be around their products, what they’re doing with their clients, the deals they might be working, their funds their investors, whatever data they’ve got, they have to capture legally and store it.

Michael Lonnon

Do they use data well, do you think generally?

Natalie Brooks

No. I think that’s one of the major challenges we’ve got at the moment. It’s one of the themes we see is a lot of these organisations, data is quite disparate. They’ve lots of point solutions for things that have happened over time, some of your larger organisations have a better idea of data and a bit more of a data management strategy in place but that depends on who you’re dealing with, as to how mature that is and, at the end of the day, we know they have to capture immense amounts of data and it’s now becoming, how do they deal with that data? How do they make that data work for them? How do you monetise data? This is one of the big things. So, one of the things I’ve certainly seen more of over the past five years is, data management technology is being adopted a lot in order to get it right. How do we store the data? How do we make the data work to better service clients? What offerings or products can they offer to the market that can help them monetise this data?

Michael Lonnon

What is a company that’s using data well look like? How does it change their processes and engagement with customers?

Natalie Brooks

If they’re using data well, they can drive insights from that data to structure how they create these products, how they create the services, how they get those products and services to market. Can they do it quicker than anybody else essentially. So, speed to market becomes quite a big thing but also how do you serve your customers or clients as clients are your investors. How do you keep your investor or client based intact given the market and competition, but how do you grow it as well? Speed to market helps with that, being able to get the insights of what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, what’s been spoken about within the market and reacting to it in a timely manner all helps drive engagement and makes these organisations be on the cutting edge, as opposed to lagging behind.

Michael Lonnon

I guess, then, as you spoke about earlier, residing on legacy systems and siloed point solutions, makes it a challenge to monetise data and create that more compelling customer experience. So how are capital market organisations dealing with this problem?

Natalie Brooks

Well, essentially, there’s a couple of things. It’s using technology to solve some of these problems that they’ve got data and analytics is one of them. That’s one of the pillars. If you get your data and analytics, right, you’ve got a foundation for setting up other things. Then the other question is cloud computing adoption. A couple of years ago, capital markets maybe wasn’t in favour of going cloud, that is changing and as the vendors are trying to enable it more. Microsoft opened up the Swiss datacentre earlier this year and late last year to alleviate fears from Swiss banks of where data lives. And it’s not just good enough with Swiss data laws to have it within Europe, it’s got to be within the borders of Switzerland. So creating the Swiss datacentre to alleviate those fears of the fact that your data, if you do put it in the cloud, whether it private or public, is not going to leave the borders of Switzerland. There’s a lot being done to enable organisations to adopt and embrace Cloud technologies, looking at cloud computing from an infrastructure as a service, platform as a service or software as a service model as to how they can reduce maintenance costs for their old systems and migrate them to newer technology, within the vendors platforms.

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Michael Lonnon

So, there is appetite to change and to adopt new technology, as long as it’s done in the right way and conforms to the regulations and the structure they must operate to?

Natalie Brooks

Absolutely. So comply to regulatory laws but also make sure that security is there, that your data is secure, and keeping up with the trends of keeping it secure. It helps with being on these platforms, because it’s inherent, within Microsoft’s platform or even power platform, security is key and it’s up to date based on what’s happening within the digital world today. So, we can get the benefits of that.

Michael Lonnon

I guess then moving on to these newer platforms opens up capabilities and gives Capital Market organisations the flexibility to create new, more agile applications and deliver quicker, more modern services than perhaps they can at the moment?

Natalie Brooks

Yes, to all of the above and as you say, modern. I’ve worked on projects where that’s exactly one of the big business drivers, looking to bring modern platforms to the business and make bankers want to use these platforms. And have these platforms work for them because banker’s time is money. If you can get rid of inefficiencies in any sort of process, make things happen easier, and using things like AI within your sales process, this can make day to day activities for your deal teams and your investment professionals and your bankers a breeze in the sense that it almost becomes a no brainer. The system is suggesting things as opposed to them having to force the system to do things. And all of this has come about because Microsoft has spent an obscene amount of money on off the shelf products like Dynamics 365 sales and service. Or in enabling you to build your own applications with Power Platform and Power Apps. This makes emerging technology standard run of the mill. All they’re doing is making it better day by day, for the capital markets, making the banker’s day as quick and effortless as possible whilst still gathering data and storing it in the background. Then using those insights to improve the process.

Michael Lonnon

If you were to give an organisation in the capital markets advice on where to start; they’re not using data well, they’re not monetising it, they know they’re not because they’ve got problems with legacy systems and disconnected silos, or bankers are struggling with manual processes, where would you advise they start to move to a modern and digital mindset?

Natalie Brooks

I would say get your foundation right. So, for me, the main ones are the data, making sure that your data is in a good place, or your plan for your data is at least in a good place. So, it’s really, if you haven’t got a data strategy, you need to be working on one. You can have as many data lakes as you want, wherever you want in the world, but unless you’ve got the platform working together with it, enabling you to make sure your organisation’s bankers can see a cut of data that’s very different to your finance or compliance teams. You do need to understand what your audience is going to be for that data, build a platform on top of it and then put your visualisation tools like Power BI on top of it and get insight quickly. Once your foundation is laid, with that not in isolation, look at how are you going to use the cloud. How are you going to answer those questions about what data you’re happy to be storing in the cloud, whether it’s private cloud or public cloud. Once you know your cloud strategy, what’s available within the cloud, your platform as a service, how can you use the power platform, for instance, your low code, no code offerings to uniquely solve business problems that previously would have taken a lot of bespoke code to build. Then how do you have a strategy around securing that platform to make sure when you go forward, you’re creating these solutions or apps to solve problems. That they are secure and again, your data is sitting in the right place for the right reasons.

Summary

Life in financial services can be tough.

Long hours, tough assignments, demanding customers, and regulatory hoops to jump through.

But solutions like Microsoft Dynamics are designed to ease some of this burden.

Providing a single central place to retain and manage information, it makes it easier to use insight to direct actions. For example, connected insight can show you when you last engaged with a customer. And whether it’s time to step up communications.

Connecting contact information from across the organisation into a single place doesn’t mean you lose control. Quite the opposite. It means you have more insight to draw upon to upsell and cross sell additional services.

Thanks for listening, until next time, take care of yourselves.

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