The turbines of the business machine are moving faster than ever in this new decade. There’s no denying that we live in a quick-turn, instant results, increasingly automated and personalized world. As the investment banking industry plugs into this world and hones a sharper focus on sustainable growth, its technology needs to be aligned to that mission as well. Some of the top concerns of investment bankers around the future of technology in their industry lead me to point out some practical considerations for ensuring the right technological future for today’s firms. Let’s examine some of the most important points of interest that will support business transformation:

    1. Establishing virtual information barriers for data confidentiality and compliance
    2. Successfully deploying products with end-user adoption support
    3. Leveraging technology to support the pitchbook process
    4. Having secure, reliable network connections
  1. Establish virtual information barriers for data confidentiality and compliance
    Today’s technology needs the capabilities to control the flow of non-public information among internal teams. This is incredibly important, as there are legal and FINRA compliance issues to consider in this industry. Multi-service firms should configure information barriers to prevent access to material non-public information by employees who buy, sell, or recommend the securities to which the information relates.
    In April 2019, Microsoft introduced Information Barriers in Microsoft Teams so that administrators can define and execute IB policies for collaboration in Office 365 Security & Compliance Center permissions. IB policies are checked when new users or guests are added to a team or meeting, a new chat or VOIP call is requested, or a user is invited to join a meeting, and also when a screen is shared between two or more users. These policies ensure certain actions cannot take place if they are not compliant. For more details, visit the information page.
  2. Successful product deployment requires end-user adoption support
    A surprising number of institutions are leaving money and productivity on the table by not educating their workforce on the full scale of product features and capabilities across a new platform. It’s not enough to get a fancy new system or technology if most of the workforce is only leveraging 25 or 50 percent of it, or if they have reverted to previous platforms that break new, more efficient protocol. Bringing in expert help and ongoing support ensures that employees not only learn to use new technologies, but get the most out of them and make a habit of using them every day. Microsoft has developed a way to help customers effectively deploy their technology and actively onboard employees through Microsoft Fast Track.  With expert engineers helping guide employees through the adoption process and building plans for success, organizations get the optimal benefits from new technologies. For example, Banco Angolano de Investimentos (BAI) deployed its transformation to the cloud and Windows 10 through the Microsoft FastTrack program, which allowed over 2000 workers to seamlessly migrate to Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft also worked with BAI to reshape its branch strategy: digitizing operations, streamlining front-end operations, and building more robust back-office teams. With these changes in place, the bank is now number one in Angola, with over 1.1 million customers, and is seen as the country’s front-runner in digital and online banking.
  3. Leveraging today’s technology leads to a smarter pitchbook process
    Technology is now allowing firms to move at the speed of markets all over the world. The pitchbook creation process needs to keep up with the times. With a modernized process bolstered by a new system of technologies, today’s pitchbooks are agile, intelligent, integrated, and iterative. With the latest tech, investment firms bring together tiger teams of subject matter experts to collaborate on strategy in a secure environment with the right information. Microsoft Teams offers a way to share files, communicate, and work in real time with team members all over the world, all with an additional layer of security and information barriers to keep data protected and compliant.
    Today’s pitchbook is smarter than ever before, integrated with real-time performance data and optimized for trends, so investment teams hit targets and iterate on the strategy in a way that dramatically streamlines processes. Microsoft Power BI fully integrates with Microsoft Office 365 applications so that data visualization will always be up to date and accurate in presentations.
  4. For maximum application performance, have secure, reliable, and high-quality network connections.
    When SaaS performance is absolutely critical, the quality and the weight vs. power of applications absolutely matter, but so does the network. Without reliable, high-quality connections to a cloud provider, productivity can suffer, and downtime can put crucial business at risk. That’s why putting investment into the network is worth it for doing the business of the future and looking toward cloud expansion. At Microsoft, we’ve held up our part of the SLA bargain by investing in private fiber (or “dark fiber”) and own one of the largest backbone networks in the world. With strategically placed Microsoft edge nodes which are directly interconnected to more than 2,500 Internet partners through thousands of connections in more than 130 locations, we ensure that customers experience less latency, jitter, and packet loss for an overall better network experience. For more on our fast and reliable global network, read our blog.

To keep pace with the future of their industry, investment banks must improve their operational strategies and update their technology to fit new requirements. We’re prepared to work together with investment firms to achieve the best possible business outcomes, starting today. For more information on what we’re doing to accelerate the future in this industry, visit Microsoft.com/capital markets.