Last week, I had the opportunity to engage with customers, partners and other key players in the financial services sector in Toronto for Sibos 2017. Sibos is the world’s premier financial services event, organized by SWIFT. It brings together more than 8,000 executives, decision makers and thought leaders from across the industry.
You might ask why is a technology company participating in an event for the banking industry? From my dialogue with multiple financial services CEOs, it is clear the entire industry is at a transformational tipping point. Faced with fierce market pressures – nimble disruptors, complex regulations, digital native customers – technology transformation in the industry is essential and is increasingly becoming a competitive edge. Firms leading the charge into this new era are creating digital cultures, transforming customer experiences, streamlining operations and unlocking new business opportunities, and they are using Microsoft cloud, AI and blockchain technologies to get there.
We kicked off the week with a reception welcoming 120 leading Microsoft partners and customers, including TD Bank, ANZ, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Barclays, China Construction Bank, Unicredit and many others. While each of these customers are unique – operating in distinctive regulatory environments, each with its own security, privacy and tax codes – many told me that their ultimate goal is to transform their businesses from financial services companies, to technology companies that offer fin-serve platforms.
Over the course of the week, Microsoft and its enterprise partners collaborated on thought provoking sessions on how technology continues to reshape the financial services world through developments in AI, the Blockchain, Open API banking, payments, advanced cybersecurity and compliance requirements.
The first of these was an Executive Luncheon with Toni Townes-Whitley, corporate vice president, Worldwide Industry, Microsoft Corp. Toni discussed the speed at which innovation is enabling change, saying, “Technology is increasingly providing a competitive advantage to financial services firms looking to thrive in the digital economy. The Microsoft Cloud provides fertile ground for financial institutions of all types to transform their business.”
The best part of the week for me was talking to customers about their digital transformation journeys. We are seeing great momentum by many of the banks and are excited to be a valued partner.
At the end of the week, our CEO Satya Nadella, participated in a fireside chat with the CEO of Swift, Gottfried Leibbrandt, to close out Sibos. Satya spoke about the power of AI, alongside with Microsoft’s advancements with blockchain technology and the opportunity it presents for the financial services industry and beyond. He also highlighted Microsoft’s role in keeping Financial Services secure and an overview of the exciting work we are doing in Quantum computing. Finally, Satya talked about our customer momentum in Canada, specifically with TD Bank. If you aren’t familiar, TD Bank Group is sharply focused on building the bank of the future, where digital is one of the core driving forces of its journey, where data provides insights into the bank’s customer beliefs, needs and behaviors and where technology will be the centerpiece of the bank’s delivery model.
TD intakes close to 100 million digital records daily and with more than 12 million digitally-active customers, and Microsoft Cloud is helping deliver on their promise of legendary service at every touchpoint. We’re excited that TD selected Microsoft Azure as data platform services to help provide the power and intelligent capabilities TD was in search of.
Finastra is another innovative customer harnessing the power of our trusted cloud by using Microsoft Azure to build their next generation payments solutions. This move enables them to deploy value-added services to clients more efficiently so their clients – banks – will benefit from streamlined onboarding, as well as faster access to new products and upgrades.
Globally, Microsoft is collaborating with the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Association of Banks in Singapore to further their involvement in the Blockchain, which promises to revolutionize banking and related fintech services on a global basis.
It will be hard to top the excitement and engagement of Sibos 2017 – but it’s a challenge Microsoft is up for! It was a fantastic week and we look forward to Sibos 2018 in Sydney, Australia.