With the economy slightly reviving, the banking operations face the urgent imperative of reimagining their digital landscape than ever before. It is critical for banks to address the knee-jerk reactions that often come with operational urgency and sudden change in focus.
The pandemic has disrupted decades of consumer banking preferences, process disbursals, and expectations overnight. Banks were already reeling under pre-crisis challenges like revenue pressures, low profitability, and disruption from innovative fintech players. At the same time, banks had to address macroeconomic challenges like credit access and distributing fiscal packages through the crisis. Apart from these issues, banks have a significant role in continuously helping their customers rebuild Our in-house accelerator financial stability and business outcomes.
The EY Future Customer Index says that 60% of the customers changed how they bank during the pandemic and may significantly impact the ‘New Normal.’ Let us look at the challenges that lay ahead for banks:
- Reshaping bank branches for more digital interactions and business hubs for SME loans
- Being digital while still showing empathy to consumers
- SME banking and loan disbursals to be agile and resilient to global changes
- Partial remote work may now stay forever; financial advisors, investment bankers may have to deal virtually
Going ahead, banks may have to focus on three areas – serving customers in the right channel with the right products and services, efficiencies and process automation, adapting to technology for virtual services to stay resilient.
Did you know: McKinsey estimates that 75 to 80 percent of transactional operations (e.g., general accounting operations, payments processing) and up to 40 percent of more strategic activities (e.g., financial controlling and reporting, financial planning and analysis, treasury) can be automated.
Banks may need to rethink themselves like online e-commerce giants for connected experiences and value propositions. Are you a bank looking for a one-stop solution for all these challenges? Microsoft Power Platform for banks is a holistic solution for all your automation, low-code, AI and ML, and virtual conversational needs.
Microsoft Power Platform for Banks – An Overview
Most of us may not need an introduction to the Microsoft Power Platform and its components – Power BI, Power Automate, Power Apps, and Power Virtual Agents. We might have to agree that the platform when used holistically, can deliver exceptional results. Let me give you some information about the usage of these solutions by different banks.
Power BI – Banks have a massive pile of data, and time is money, very different from any other industry. Banking data is not about managing your KPIs but about customer and business insights. Metro Bank, a popular independent bank in the UK, provides its banking services in hours by understanding the customer lifecycle, mobile and internet banking transactions using Power BI. With the ability to integrate with different LoB applications, PowerBI can turn your operational data store into actionable insights and powerful visualizations.
Embracing agility to deliver insights is critical in this rapidly changing digital world. InsightBox, our Power BI accelerator, delivers you dashboards in minutes while accelerating your time to value and RoI.
Power Automate – Banking transactions and internal operations deal with filling up multiple forms and validating them further. Managing information from these forms as per the compliance rules and procedures involves more manual activity. Illimity Bank, an Italian cloud-native bank, leveraged Power Automate to create a knowledge base providing instructions for those seeking loans. Also, they leveraged a Power Automate workflow to preprocess the loan request and check the eligibility.
The no-code nature of Power Automate allows organizations to transform their legacy, time-consuming and mundane applications, leaving more time to focused work.
Power Apps – Application development backlogs are becoming bottlenecks for digital operations. With the sudden change in priorities in application development owing to unforeseen emergencies, there is a massive pile of application backlogs across all industries. Low-code platforms like Power Apps are not just a buzzword but are all set to foster innovative applications and clear backlog in no time. Power app portals, digital forms creation, and mobile banking forms provide immense value for banks. BNG bank developed a robust risk recording app in a week leveraging Power Apps. It has replaced the traditional excel sheets to create controls as per the ISO standards with the app simplified risk management and audit trails for the bank.
Power Virtual Agents – Customers now may not get in touch with customer support agents to answer their queries. AI-powered Power Virtual Agents are available 24/7 to improve efficiency and experience for their customers while also cutting down costs. Erica assistant, by Bank of America, simplifies operations and delivers value to customers around the clock.
Microsoft Power Platform for Banks – A few Use Cases
Banks face many challenges day in and day out while also adapting to reliable and secure technology rapidly. Microsoft Power Platform for banks is one such which can bring innovation, efficiencies, and insights comprehensively to banks of any size. Let me give you details about a few use cases that most banks can leverage with the Microsoft Power Platform.
- Customer Journey – Contacts and lifecycle Banks huge pile of contacts, and even today, business cards still have a vital role. Using AI builder, Power Apps, and Power Automate, the information from the business cards can be appended to the CRM in a structured way. The pre-built cognitive services in the platform enable anyone in the bank to convert the unstructured data to structured formats. Once the data is structured in the CRM, it is vital to understand more about the customer. Customer 360-degree analysis in ‘The New Normal’ helps the banks shift to customer-centric models and offer them advice at every digital touchpoint, enhancing the experience. A complete understanding of the customer with data points – demographics, household information, major life events, preferences, and financial interactions can help banks offer personalized marketing campaigns and enhance the service levels.
- Loan Processing – Automation A few activities loan processing need to be faster with the increasing competition from fintech lenders. It is not so simple too, banks need to verify all the details, calculate the eligibility, and then request approvals. All these prolong the process. Customers can navigate the process quickly if a loan service agent can be replaced by a self-service app/virtual agent. Power Automate workflows to be leveraged to create the knowledge base of rules and criteria. The workflow also triggers the alerts and notifications as per the pre-defined rules and conditions in the knowledge base.
- Customer Onboarding Most banks still hand over the large paper dockets for their new customers and collect several forms while they provide any product/service. Banks can leverage Power Apps to create digital forms wherever needed to collect basic information like name, contact details, demographics, product/service preferences, and a few more. Power Automate can simultaneously be used to upload the data to a central repository. Power Automate workflows can also be leveraged to update this information and manage customer relationships accordingly. Back-end employees still refer to multiple excel sheets to identify any security issues or risks. Power Automate workflows provide agility and add value to such processes too.
- Omni-channel Solutions to Support a Remote Workforce Financial advisors still have a shadow role in influencing consumer decisions. While the world is moving to partial remote work culture, banks should provide innovative mobile apps powered by Microsoft Power Platform to service the customers from anywhere securely. Social Media is now the preferred communication channel for grievances. Customers now spend a lot of time interacting with brands through these easily accessible channels. Creating a virtual service agent for these channels to address the customer needs quickly tends to be another norm for banks.
- Customer Helpdesk and Internal Communications – Power Apps Portals Self-service applications are booming in every industry. As banks deal with secure information, they will unlikely replace the customer support systems in place. But simple applications like account information lookup, submitting requests for product information, checking the eligibility criteria for loan application, and common FAQs can be powered by Power Apps Portals. Minor changes may lead to significant savings at times. Banks operate with multiple functional departments – retail banking, loan processing, forex, non-banking services, IT, and risk management. Mostly these departments are siloed. Microsoft Power Platform and underlying Common data service can break these silos and provide a unified view of the customers for all of them.
- Approvals Management – Power Automate In a tightly regulated industry like BFSI, due diligence is a critical operation and involves a lot of multi-stage approvals. Each approval involves checking many Excel sheets, and usually, this consists of a lot of manual processes for most banks. By creating a workflow in Power Automate, the approver can automatically visualize the status or pre-defined rules for approval. Based on these rules, an approval request is triggered when the deal reaches the approval stage. The approvers are then automatically alerted of their actions. Any modifications in the request will be updated to the central repository, and the workflow sends alerts to stakeholders accordingly.
- Customer Engagement Omni-channel customer service is the need of the hour with customers trying to interact through the web, mobile, and social channels. Power Virtual Agents, the AI-powered conversational chatbots, are the best fit for any virtual conversation and channel. The virtual assistants use visual design tools, and anyone in the organization can quickly build the chatbot according to their needs.
Do you still have a specific challenge in your bank or financial services? Are you considering automation, low-code, and AI as your further investments? Our Microsoft Power Platform consultants have answers for everything. Get in touch with our team for more information.