Microsoft will launch a cloud service tailored for financial services companies next month, with Virgin Money UK a confirmed early customer.
The cloud service will offer Microsoft productivity tools bundled with financial services-specific components and regulatory approval.
The Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services, as it is known, is one of the software giant’s bundles that build industry-specific requirements on top of its suite of cloud-based productivity tools, including Microsoft 365, Teams, Azure, and its customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning offering, Dynamics 365. The UK finance regulators have approved them for use.
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digital adoption by consumers, and businesses – especially in the finance sector – have has to react by accelerating the adoption of critical technology such as cloud computing.
In a blog post, Bill Borden, corporate vice-president of worldwide financial services at Microsoft, confirmed 1 November as the day when the service will be available.
“The pandemic cemented the value of digitisation and digital channels in the financial services industry – and created new expectations with customers and employees,” Borden wrote. “This has put a strong emphasis on the use of cloud technologies and services, time to value and cost reduction, all in parallel. And when it comes to digital tools and the cloud, our customers have been clear that they need cloud services tailored to their specific needs and challenges.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said recently that the pandemic had prompted the company to urgently ramp up its ability to deliver industry-specific bundles to customers.
“Over the past year, we have worked closely with leaders in every industry to help them navigate the crisis, equipping them with the technology and tools to accelerate that transformation,” he said.
Virgin Money UK is one of the first businesses to sign up for the service. Fraser Ingram, chief digital and innovation officer at the finance company, said: “At Virgin Money UK, we are always looking at ways to innovate and deliver a world-class, digital customer experience. We see Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services accelerating that journey of digitising our customer experience, while enabling us to scale and grow.”
Ingram added: “Microsoft’s technologies have a broad range of applications and meaningful insights, whether it is to help advise customers on their financial plans or servicing their needs under their existing portfolio of products. This transformation will also support our efforts to enhance our employee experience, empowering our front-line colleagues to deliver the best service for our customers, working together to make money simpler and easier.”
As banks and other financial services firms race to adopt the cloud as part of their digital strategies, they must meet rules set by the regulator. Using an approved cloud service such as that from Microsoft saves time.
Read more about cloud adoption in the financial services market
- IBM claims to have secured support for its push to provide sector-specific public cloud offerings to financial services firms from more than 100 collaborators since the initiative made its debut in March 2020.
- The UK financial system’s growing reliance on a small number of cloud service providers could be subject to closer regulatory scrutiny, based on the findings of a report by the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee.