Unlocking Banking Through Cloud and Edge Solutions

Industry Experiences: Unlocking Banking Through Cloud and Edge Solutions. 

In this series of the podcast, I sit down with industry leaders to explore the digital transformation disrupting almost every industry

In this episode I am excited to speak with Howard Bush, Principle Industry Lead for Azure for Banking and Capital Markets at Microsoft. In his role, Howard is the advocate for Microsoft Azure within the banking and capital markets industry. Howard works with customers in this sector to help them understand how cloud computing addresses the unique and changing needs of the industry.

Howard, who describes himself as “a banker wrapped in IT clothing,” discusses the shifting landscape for traditional banking models, from lending and advising to payments and deposits. These legacy models are being challenged by new innovations and FinTechs that put digital and mobile experiences at the forefront. According to Howard, this forces traditional institutions to rethink their role in the value chain and banks are exploring ways to innovate.

Howard points out that over the past several years, the adoption rate of cloud technologies in the banking and capital markets sector has been relatively slow. Security is a primary concern for customers in this industry in order to protect the personal information at the heart of the business. In addition to security concerns, customers in banking and capital markets must also comply with regulatory requirements, such as the recently implemented GDPR initiative in Europe. For this reason, hybrid solutions have been the preferred choice for customers in this sector.

Howard and I discuss several cloud technologies that are growing in popularity for the banking and capital markets industry. Specifically, Howard sees an uptick in AI as a way to utilize the large amounts of data gathered by the industry. Using automation and analytics, organizations can gain new insights to offer customized or personalized services to their customers. AI also helps regulators monitor the capital adequacy of institutions to ensure compliance and gauge risk.

Blockchain and digital ledgers are also driving transformation for banks and capital markets. Howard points out that where branches used to be the only location for certain transactions, smart contracts can replace the legacy methods of trade finance in some cases. While this model is still new for banks, Howard expects that the high speed and low cost offered by blockchain will become more common.

Fraud prevention and detection is another area where Howard sees intelligent technology supporting the industry. Biometrics can be combined with sophisticated algorithms and AI to monitor the behavior of customers to then verify their identity and spot imposters. Trends can also be tracked to predict spending and identify anomalies to better protect customers.

Howard peels back on the idea of open banking, in which traditional banking companies are leveraging the capabilities and innovation of FinTechs. Using open APIs, information can be accessed from the historically closed system of the banks. According to Howard, this model will support “a consortium of capabilities and services,” building a network of people who either have or need capital while still protecting critical personal data. This means banks could not only supply financial services, but also support customers with related needs such as tax services, business opportunities, or operations.

We dig into some of the specific features of the Azure platform that support “intelligent banking” such as big data, advanced analytics and AI. Together, on the Azure platform, Howard explains organizations are empowered to:

  • Create a 360 view of the customer
  • Enable real time payments to meet consumer and regulatory demands
  • Visualize and act on data to create a comprehensive risk model
  • Detect and prevent fraudulent transactions

Howard points out that Azure’s hybrid capability allows customers in the banking and capital markets industry to connect to legacy systems that contain their customer data. This means that while data is still secured on-prem, banks can still take advantage of the flexibility and power of cloud tools.

Finally, we discuss some of the benefits for partners that want to join the Azure partner network. Microsoft provides partners with customer relationships and insights, as well as supports partners that want to build industry-specific solutions on the flexible and powerful Azure platform.

If you’d like to learn more, check out:

Or get in touch with Howard and his team directly via Twitter at @HowardBush2 or on LinkedIn.

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This episode of the podcast is sponsored by Microsoft and the Industry Experiences Team.