Bringing the future of retail banking to life with Microsoft

By Marcelo Marquez de la Garza, director, Worldwide Financial Services at Microsoft

This week, the BAI Retail Delivery 2014 conference kicked off in Chicago, where industry leaders are coming together to discuss emerging technologies shaping the future of retail banking. Microsoft is working with retail banks on their digital transformation to design customer experiences for a world where technology is everywhere.

Consumer expectations are driving this change. The way people expect to interact with banks today is much different than it was even just a few years ago. People are increasingly tech-savvy, expecting instant access to their financial information in the same way they are used to connecting with friends or updating their social media accounts from wherever they are. To keep up with consumers’ changing habits and needs, banks must transform how they do business, and Microsoft is developing solutions to help with this. 

One area where we expect banks to better meet the needs of their digital consumers is advisory services. For many years, banks have been able to provide personalized advisory services to just a small fraction of their customer base, leaving many customers without this service. At Microsoft, we see a future where artificial intelligence brings this service to the masses. People would be able to interact with a digital advisor who has a full view into their portfolio, can provide advice and insights based on market conditions, and can give a customized and personal experience that wasn’t available to them before. This is great for the banks too, as they will continue to learn more about their customers through these interactions, and provide them with experiences that will keep them coming back.

An example of technology being used to provide advisory services to consumers is the recently announced Responsive Banking Concept from Diebold. This conceptual standalone banking platform features four connected “experience zones.” The experience uses sensing devices from Microsoft Kinect, Windows 8.1, and large touchscreen Perspective Pixel interfaces to securely identify consumers, monitor traffic and personalize marketing content — all while gathering important information about consumer traffic and activity. Consumers can “get in line” for a session with a virtual teller, initiate transactions without the need for a card or PIN, and receive support via intelligent virtual tellers or remote experts through two-way video.

Looking forward, Diebold is considering additional ways to bring its banking concepts to life with Microsoft technologies, including virtual banking tellers, and branch traffic and queue management with Microsoft’s Internet of Things and speech recognition technologies. This will set a new standard in self-service and will help redefine the banking branch in the future.

Advisory services have also become mobile, and many of our retail banking customers are using a combination of tablets and apps to better serve their customers in the branch. Jack Henry, a company that serves financial services organizations with core processing services, has created the BranchAnywhere app for Windows 8.1, which allows employees to provide customer information from wherever they are. Banks like First Florida Integrity Bank and IBERIABANK are using the app on Surface devices so customers can see their account and activity information quickly and easily. The app helps centrally manage all aspects of customer information, and allows employees to become portable branch managers who can meet their clients anywhere. You can read more about this story on our Surface blog, and watch their video here

And as people’s expectations of their banks continue to change, and devices and apps become more sophisticated, Microsoft technology will be there to help banks reimagine their business. For more information, please visit our Microsoft Business Newsroom and our Microsoft Financial Services Newsroom.