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Banking on digital transformation – how Teams is reshaping financial services.

The financial services industry is facing a number of challenges, both in terms of evolving customer expectations, the introduction of new challenger brands, and the increasing impact of technology. As banks and lenders around the world come to terms with a ‘new normal’ Microsoft Teams is helping them connect workers to drive better collaboration, better ideas and drive better customer outcomes.

Friday, March 12th 2021, 11:44AM

Financial services providers have historically been hesitant to embrace new technology because they are so heavily governed by strict regulations around what they can and can’t do, and how the data they keep on customers is stored and used, that taking on new tech is like climbing Everest.

But that’s all changing. As technology has become more advanced, providers like Microsoft have taken extra steps to ensure the products they provide appeal to a wider range of customers.

For financial services providers, which are constantly faced with challenges including appealing to new digitally savvy customers and disruption from new market entrants, this has been a blessing in disguise. Take Teams for example, we’re seeing more financial services providers around the world embrace the power of Teams to drive better collaboration, document management and, ultimately better experiences for customers.

Helping meet strict compliance requirements

With heightened regulatory controls around the use of data and its governance, financial services providers need a tool that ensures all documents and files are kept up to date in a safe and secure environment. Microsoft 365, which brings together tools like Office 365, Windows 10, Microsoft’s leading enterprise mobility and security, and is all accessible from Teams, helps financial services providers with data governance.

There are features like automatic classification of data types, which allows businesses to automatically file any document uploaded to Teams under any one of 80 different classifications. This means less time filing documents in the correct places because the platform does it all for you. Then banks can also use built-in Teams policies, which harness the power of Artificial Intelligence to create additional policies around data storage. What this means is that Teams can be trained to pick up on keywords and automatically file documents, or rules can be set up to monitor the data kept in certain folders to ensure it’s safe, secure and compliant. Teams also helps businesses meet security requirements through multi-factor authentication, Azure information protection and Microsoft Secure Score.

Keeping frontline workers connected and on task

Frontline workers are the heart and soul of any financial services provider. They are the ones who talk with customers, build relationships with them and are the face of the business. It’s integral these workers can maintain high levels of connectivity not just with customers, but also with other staff members.

Using Microsoft Teams to empower frontline staff gives them the tools they need to keep up to date on how a client relationship is progressing and flag any urgent client requests that need to be addressed quickly.

Frontline workers can also use Teams to ask for time off, swap shifts with other co-workers and let their manager know they are available for additional shifts, all on the go. This creates a more unified team.
Managers can use Teams to ensure their staff are turning up to work on time and working in the right parts of the business. Time Clock with geo-detection capabilities allows managers to not just see when their team arrives, but also what part of the building they are working in.
Financial services workers are constantly undergoing training to stay on top of new changes to regulation and in some instances this training requires getting experts into run sessions. This used to require costly travel expenses and longer lead-times. Moreover, the opportunity to leverage the interaction with the expert(s) for future training or reference required additional work or investments. By running the training session over a scheduled Teams meeting, advice from experts can be gathered quickly and remotely. With high-quality video, recording, and transcript options, the content can also be leveraged as training or be added into a set of best practices.
Teams helps keep staff on track and help monitor task progress in real-time. If there are loans that need to be processed and uploaded into the system for review, or insurance policies that are about to expire and need to be updated with the customer, managers can get instant visibility into what jobs have been done and what is outstanding. When tasks are logged in Teams a priority level and due date can be set, alongside notes for the job, any relevant files and then the job can be assigned to a specific team member, who receives a notification. If tasks aren’t being completed, management can make contact with the staff member involved, find out what is delaying the task, and help move the job along faster.

Improving collaboration and unity

According to Microsoft research, up to 80% of financial services employees’ time is spent on repetitive, manual tasks. Whether that time is spent uploading documents into a system to be reviewed, checking over customer documents or working through checklists for compliance, financial services providers have a clear opportunity to use technology to improve productivity and boost staff morale.

Teams can help financial services businesses:

Connect more: Schedule meetings using synced calendars, or a meet now feature - this means more instant and open communication channels between staff, no matter where they are.

Co-author documents in the cloud: Version control is a challenge for many businesses, especially those that have strict compliance requirements. With teams you can create and co-author documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more in the cloud with Office 365, so no changes are ever missed. 

Keep everyone aligned: Channel tabs for everyone in the organisation to stay on the same page. Store documents within a cloud-enabled repository using Files section or channel tabs.

Collaborate in one place: There’s no need to use a different tool or app for every task, with teams you can collaborate on multiple projects from within a single environment.

Unify data: Bring disparate data sets together under the one platform to make better decisions. You can also combine data across legacy systems and applications to respond faster and more accurately when markets change.

How financial services providers are harnessing the power of Teams.

BNZ, one of new Zealand’s ‘big four’ banks switched to Microsoft Teams from Skype for Business in January 2020, as a part of a wider digital transformation process. However when the COVID-19 lockdown occurred in March, it called for dramatic adoption acceleration so every one of its thousands of employees & contractors could collaborate remotely.

Teams has quickly risen to become the cornerstone of how BNZ works, managing everything from daily stand-ups to inter-team collaboration. Even though BNZ couldn’t connect face-to-face, Teams helped them stay connected and deliver a seamless service to customers, with 3.8 million chat messages, 85,000 1:1 calls, and over 6,000 meetings taking place in a single month. 

Fidelity Life is another example of a financial services organisation using Teams and the Microsoft 365 suite to drive better customer experiences and outcomes. Since 2019 the business has been on its own transformation journey, underpinned by a significant investment in a new Microsoft D365 platform. Named ‘Project Watson’ after the business’s founder, the project will see Fidelity Life leave its 35-year old legacy systems behind and move forward on a new, bespoke digital platform specifically built for New Zealanders. Teams plays a crucial role in connecting Fidelity Life’s people, facilitating flexible working, driving collaboration, and ensuring strict privacy, compliance and security policies are adhered to.

What this means in a practical sense is that Project Watson will equip Fidelity Life’s teams with the tools and insights to monitor customer interactions, ensure timely engagement and deliver a vastly more personalised experience.

Learn more about Microsoft Teams for financial services providers here.


Tags: Acumen

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