Microsoft Pushes Cloud at Financial Services Sector

Coming in November, Virgin Money UK is among the first to jump on the general availability of this industry-specific cloud.

Following its launch in February, Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services (MCFS) will be generally available from 1 November 2021. 

Bill Borden, corporate VP of Worldwide Financial Services, Microsoft, says the way work has changed due to the pandemic has “put a strong emphasis on the use of cloud technologies and services, time to value, and cost reduction all in parallel”.

Microsoft will be releasing new capabilities to help retail banks “enhance customer and employee experiences”.

Beyond quotes there are some specifics. Virgin Money UK is among the first to jump on this industry-specific cloud.

MCFS integrates cloud services across the firm’s offerings – Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform.

It is also designed for regulatory requirements, compliance and with trust commitments built-in.

Microsoft cites Capgemini’s World Retail Banking Report 2021, which states that 81% of consumers said easy access and flexible banking will motivate them to switch to a new-age financial provider. There needs to be data connectivity, interoperability of ecosystems and actionable insights.

MCFS’ features include a unified customer profile, loan apps and self-service tools, and a collaboration manager for automation.

Fraud is on the agenda as Microsoft uses more stats courtesy of Javelin Strategy & Research. The latter reports that total combined fraud losses climbed to $56 billion (£41.1 billion) in 2020, and identity fraud scams accounted for $43 billion (£31.5 billion) of that cost.

Combatting financial crime will be dealt with via account protection and purchase protection. For example, financial institutions can protect their reputation at the digital identity account layer by helping to identify and prevent fraud at account creation and login. This helps protect against bot attacks, fake account creation, account takeover and fraudulent account access.

The tech titan adds that services partners Accenture, Avanade, Avtex, Capgemini, EY, Publicis Sapient, KPMG, PwC, and ISV partners Backbase, BaseCap, Finastra, Mortgage365, VeriPark and Zafin, will be joining it for the launch of MCFS next month.

The cloud sector is competitive at the best of times. Just last month German multinational SAP announced the global launch of SAP Fioneer, a joint venture with German tech investor Dediq for the financial services industry.

SAP and Dediq expect Fioneer to have a presence in 10 countries throughout Europe, North and Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region by the end of 2021. The UK seems to be among the countries in Fioneer’s sights, according to several London-based job openings listed by the company.

SAP Fioneer will “help [companies] meet their needs for speed, scalability and cost-efficiency through digital business innovation, cloud technology and solutions that cover banking and insurance processes end to end”.

Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton is the Editor of eWeek UK and has 17 years' journalism and writing experience. His career has taken him to China, Japan and the UK - covering tech, fintech and business. Follow on Twitter @TonyFintech.

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