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We spoke to Rupesh Khendry and Peter Hazou to find out what customers were talking about at Sibos 2015.

More than 8,000 delegates headed to Singapore on 12-15 October to discuss key issues and solutions in banking and capital markets at Sibos 2015 – making it the second-largest Sibos event to date.

Microsoft’s commitment to banking and capital markets created a huge buzz among delegates who were keen to engage with the company and find out how its solutions are helping the world’s leading financial institutions to drive digital transformation, gain break-through risk insight, and protect their business through cybersecurity. Rupesh Khendry, director of capital markets industry solutions, and Peter Hazou, director of banking industry solutions at Microsoft, gave us their key takeaways from the event.

Banks are digitally transforming

“Banks are clearly looking to digitally transform,” says Khendry. “We’ve been discussing the Digital Bank for a while, and banks across the world are now acting on that. At Sibos we had some great discussions about how embracing an open and connected systems approach to drive innovation can enable banks to deliver a great customer experience, with platforms like machine learning and analytics helping them to gain better insight and a deeper understanding of their customers.”

Banks are heading to the cloud

“Banks have shed their initial apprehension about the cloud, and they’re embracing it as a way to transform their business and help them be more agile,” says Hazou. “We saw huge interest from customers and analysts in our briefing on ‘The Trusted Cloud in Banking Transformation’. Microsoft has worked closely with the financial industry to deliver the trusted cloud and this has generated momentum, with banks across the world now implementing cloud projects.” “Of course no conversation about banking is complete without some discussion of regulatory compliance,” says Hazou. “At Sibos, we provided details about the Financial Services Compliance Program which allows financial industry stakeholders to deeply examine our cloud systems, services and processes, to help banks achieve growth while focusing on their core responsibilities to remain compliant.”

Risk and regulatory requirements

The cloud is enabling banks to leverage machine learning for many of their risk and analytics requirements. “Banks are asking how they can better integrate data and insights from the front, middle and back office,” says Khendry. “Risk and regulatory are the overarching concerns, and banks were interested in going beyond regular transaction processing systems to understand the risk in the business. We showcased how the Microsoft Data Analytics platform, including Azure IoT Suite, Cortana Analytics Suite and Azure Data Lake, can help banks to mitigate risk and deliver insightful customer service.”

Putting customers at the centre

“Customer engagement is a topic we hear a lot about,” says Khendry. “Delegates were keen to find out how technologies like Microsoft Dynamics CRM, as well as cloud-enabled data processing capabilities, can help them optimize the customer experience. Banks have a wealth of customer data, but it’s often trapped in data silos. Now, they’re beginning to use the evolving data processing and machine learning capabilities of the cloud to anticipate customer needs and customize products and services to fit them.”

Productivity is top of mind

“We had a lot of discussions with banks about productivity,” says Hazou. “This area had taken a bit of a back seat recently as banks focused on addressing key industry issues like regulatory compliance, but now productivity has come into sharper focus. A lot of banks that came to see us were very interested in Microsoft Office 365 and how it can help them empower staff to be more productive. They saw how Windows 10 takes the seamless, digital banking experience a step further through the power of universal apps that work on phones, tablets and PCs, offering Windows 10 touch functionality and Office 365 integration while reducing workplace and development sprawl. We had some very detailed discussions about how our solutions apply to the two main lines of business that were present at Sibos: treasury and security services.”

Mobility matters

Most people now expect mobile connectivity, and Microsoft showcased how its latest devices and software can enable anytime, anywhere productivity. Delegates were keen to explore how Microsoft’s new Surface Book and Surface Pro 4, with the Windows 10 operating system and Office 365 productivity tools, can empower staff to deliver the service customers want. “There was a lot of excitement about our new devices and how they can help bankers be more mobile,” says Khendry.

Cybersecurity is a key concern

With new cyber-threats emerging all the time, cybersecurity is a perennial concern for financial services firms. Delegates at Sibos were able to see for themselves how Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit is committed to identifying and disrupting cybercrime through public/private partnerships with a specific focus on financial services. “Security is a key concern for our customers and they were keen to understand our commitment to protecting them through the trusted cloud and our cybersecurity leadership,” says Hazou.

“We focused on the issues our customers are facing and how we can help them to transform to digital businesses,” concludes Khendry. “We discussed the issues that matter to banks and we got some great feedback from customers who felt that we were speaking their language.”

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