NEW YORK, June 21, 2005 — Today at the Securities Industry Association (SIA) Technology Management Conference in New York, Microsoft Corp. announced its “experience Capital Markets” initiative. The initiative is a solutions framework designed to help capital markets and securities companies think in new ways, in order to differentiate their brand and increase market share and profitability. Capital markets and securities companies that deploy solutions from Microsoft and its partners can fundamentally change the customer, employee and operations experience.
Kenny McBride, Global Industry Manager, Capital Markets & Securities, Microsoft Financial Services Group
PressPass spoke with Kenny McBride, global industry manager of Capital Markets and Securities for Microsoft’s Financial Services Group, about the experience Capital Markets initiative, how it benefits customers and why Microsoft is dedicated to this industry. McBride leads Microsoft’s capital markets and securities sales and services efforts globally with the goal of delivering optimal value for customers and strong business results for Microsoft and industry partners.
PressPass: What is the “experience Capital Markets” initiative?
McBride: Capital markets and securities firms are facing an incredibly challenging and ever-evolving business environment in which many are finding it difficult to compete in the new technological arms race. As the economy continues to recover and firms begin to embrace the new post-bubble economy, firms are re-evaluating their business models and core competencies, and are emphasizing their relationships with their customers. Microsoft recognized this and responded with its experience Capital Markets initiative. The initiative combines business value and architectural vision into a method of interacting with Microsoft, providing an easier way to source and consider solutions that get at these issues and improve customer retention, reduce risk, drive additional revenue and reduce the cost of operations.
The primary focus of Microsoft’s experience Capital Markets initiative is to enable us to change the “experiences” that our enterprise customers are trying achieve through the development and deployment of business-processing solutions. The initiative includes sales training, partner development programs, customer advisory councils, “experience Capital Markets” briefings and in-market and Web educational events that will enable customers to better determine which Microsoft technologies and partner solutions are best for them, by understanding specifically which areas of business improvement they are best suited for.
PressPass: What factors did you consider when you developed the ‘experience Capital Markets’ initiative?
McBride: We looked at the pain points facing the industry and we talked extensively to customers. What we found is that capital markets and securities companies want a flexible platform and lower cost of ownership, and they want to offer a customer experience that drives new business.
In an industry where time truly is money, technology has always played a vital role. Market volatility and earnings pressure continue to drive demand for better cost management and faster speed to market. Microsoft and its partners recognize that customer, employee, and operations experience must be central to any technology solution developed to meet the demands of today’s sophisticated investor. As the markets continue to consolidate and commoditize, legacy infrastructure has become a financial burden that hinders growth, constricts business agility and increases customer attrition. Knowing that technology deployed today may remain in operation for years, the industry is looking for adaptable architecture and better operations experience that will support future businesses whose structure is now unknown.
The current employee experience is confusing and not conducive to creating the optimum productive environment. Many institutions are still unable to provide integrated, accurate account information, and that hinders employee productivity and morale. The employee experience is devised to transform the worker’s environment by enhancing productivity, improving confidence in applications, streamlining interfaces and improving workflow in a way that requires fewer keystrokes to destinations.
Everyone talks about better customer service. Microsoft wants to help expand and dramatically enhance the customer experience. Nordstrom transformed the customer experience. Starbucks created a whole new category for coffee and we pay a premium for it! I think we can all learn something from these retail models — understanding how they manufacture new goods and services, increasing their choices for methods of interaction, products and services, improving accuracy and speed of delivery at a competitive and attractive price point. Microsoft wants to help capital markets companies differentiate their brand and transform the customer experience.
PressPass: What role do Microsoft’s industry partners play in experience Capital Markets?
McBride: Microsoft’s industry partners are the most important ingredient. Partners use Microsoft software technologies to create innovative applications that deliver enhanced, improved and innovated experiences to the customers, employees and operations personnel who use them. With first-mover advantage being a key ingredient to success, the industry is consuming more and more packaged Microsoft applications, while learning that they can be easily integrated with their existing systems.
PressPass: What do you think customers want from Microsoft and what do industry partners want from Microsoft?
McBride: The needs of our customers and partners are very similar. In fact, many leading firms have cast off the antiquated view of software technology as a cost of doing business and embraced software as a core competency. Microsoft’s commitment to research and development enables us to transform innovative computing discoveries into real-world software and application benefits that deliver in all of those areas. Customers and partners now look to Microsoft as a thought-leader in the application of software to the solving of personal and business computing challenges.
PressPass: What are you doing to help industry partners understand and better align with Microsoft’s vision?
McBride: Microsoft’s “experience” initiative is the cohesive element that unifies the vast amount of client and partner Microsoft .NET development that has occurred over the past four years. Our partners and clients have helped shape it, through their own innovation, using our tools and platforms. We try to deliver on three fronts regarding communications to both partners and industry. The first is traditional communications vehicles for branding and communications outreach, so advertising, editorial content and public speaking are the first tier of industry engagement. Following that is the use of our partner family to learn and then support our vision and messaging to customers.
Last, we work individually with these partners and their customers, on their architectural developments — sharing our platform evolution early and often, so that they can leverage these technologies to change customer, employee and operations experiences
PressPass: Is Microsoft seen as credible in the capital markets and securities industry now?
McBride: Absolutely! Over the past several years we have worked diligently to improve performance in the areas of scalability, reliability and availability of our operating systems, application servers and development tools. Today, Microsoft delivers performance metrics that exceed those of our competitors — at price points that continue to be more and more attractive for capital markets and securities companies.
Customer and partner satisfaction combined with solution evidence that has grown year over year is our only measure of success. As more and more firms look to rationalize their infrastructures, the adoption of the Microsoft .NET Framework, Microsoft products and partner applications continues to grow. Integrated innovation has been the hallmark of Microsoft’s expansion into the vertical enterprise, and will continue to be central to our efforts in capital markets especially as we develop our Trading Floor of the Future vision. This vision relies heavily on collaboration from all industry participants and will be central to how we evolve the experience campaign going forward.
Microsoft’s technology is also receiving endorsement from key industry trade publications. Most recently, Microsoft .NET was named the best program development platform in the financial industry by the editors of Waters magazine. Waters magazine provides in-depth coverage of financial market data and technology. In recognizing Microsoft, Waters noted that Microsoft .NET balances the competing issues of openness, time to market, security and long-term support. In fact, this is the second consecutive year that Microsoft .NET has been recognized by the magazine.
PressPass: How committed is Microsoft to the capital markets and securities industry?
McBride: The financial markets are the bellwether for technology. The eagerness to adopt and deploy new technologies will always differentiate the capital markets from other sectors. This reliance on software technology requires firms to continue to embrace software as a core competency that can be used to differentiate their offerings and improve brand recognition in a market that continues to commoditize.
Microsoft understands this, and over the years, we have increased the number of people, partners and investments made for the capital markets industry in order to secure a successful future for our business relationships and customers. Recently the company created an internal group focused on defining the long-term vision of how companywide R&D efforts apply to vertical industries, such as capital markets. The group is playing a key role in demonstrating how innovations based on Microsoft’s current and future technologies can come together to meet evolving business needs.
Just last month, Microsoft announced that it will restructure its U.S. Enterprise Sales and Solutions organization to become more industry centric, make further investments and add 10 to 20 percent more resources to that organization, and would elevate the role of our industry leadership higher up into the Microsoft organization.
If customers and partners are interested in experience Capital Markets, what should they do?
The experience campaign is an evolving initiative that will grow to reflect the needs of the market place, by focusing on the key issues within the industry. Buy side, sell side, broker dealers, custodians, exchanges – should they wish to learn more or participate, they should contact their Microsoft account executive who can provide more details or learn more from our dedicated Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/experiencecapmarkets.