Microsoft has used two financial services industry gatherings taking place in October to outline its ventures into the world of financial technology.
The company was present at Sibos 2018 in Sydney, Australia and Money2020 in Las Vegas, and used the events as a platform to announce its goals to build industry-leading cloud services for the sector.
Alysa Taylor, Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Business Applications & Industry, blogged from Sydney that the financial services sector is undergoing a transformation due to changing regulations and the entry of smaller players into the market. She also noted the increasing threat of data breaches and the rising expectations for personalised service from consumers.
Taylor believes these challenges represent opportunities if businesses can implement the right technology framework. With a robust cloud platform and data analysis conducted by automated smart algorithms, financial sector companies may be able to identify new ways to compete, as well as streamline compliance and find threats to security before hackers can.
To achieve these aims, the company has announced several new industry partnerships where its Azure cloud services can be put to work. Leading financial messaging service SWIFT is currently testing an Azure-based payments transfer solution, which is expected to speed up the process and improve security.
West African startup Interswitch is also using Microsoft Azure to build a bank guarantee service for large Nigerian banks and corporates. Microsoft hopes it will improve the local economy by allowing smaller entities to borrow with better and more transparent financing terms.
In her official blog post, Taylor pointed to several recent innovations implemented into its cloud portfolio that should increase their appeal to financial services brokers. She noted a new feature called Customer Lockbox for Azure, which is intended to increase trust in the company’s cloud products by allowing users to see whether Microsoft Azure has accessed a customer’s data without their explicit approval.
Another data safety service called Azure Confidential Computing isolates information during processing, when it is often at its most vulnerable to hackers. The company says it is expanding the use of virtual machines and trusted execution environments to ensure confidential computing.
Microsoft Compliance Manager gives an overview of regulations when and where they are needed, such as when staff are working on projects within Office 365. Meanwhile, Proposal Manager should help companies streamline their internal lending and the addition of AI to Excel could help users better make use of the spreadsheet software.
The company also hopes not to miss out on the entry into payments market of other major technology firms. Taylor commented Microsoft has partnered with Volante to launch an Azure-based consumer banking system that has already been deployed by a Maltese bank, while TradeIX is using Dynamics 365 to automate invoice processing through blockchain technology. The software should also help banks and businesses get an accurate view of current and projected cash flow.
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