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Reducing costs, removing complexity and unlocking efficiencies: How financial services organisations in ANZ are doing more with less

Like most businesses in Australia and New Zealand, financial services organisations have been through major digital transformation and innovation over the past three years.

Rapid changes in customer and employee behaviours, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, have created a need for new and more personalised experiences. The shift to hybrid work in particular has required the adoption of new technologies that enable employees to collaborate from any location.

Modern solutions that break down data silos and increase scalability and resilience are replacing legacy technology infrastructure and disparate systems. In fact, new research by the International Data Corporation shows that financial services organisations have been the largest adopters of public cloud in Australia and New Zealand, spending A$3.2 billion and NZ$700 million respectively in 2022.

But with both economies set for another challenging year in 2023, financial services organisations are carefully weighing up their strategies and investment decisions. They’re up against a high level of regulatory scrutiny and the ever-growing threat of cybercrime, meaning innovation needs to be achieved in a secure and compliant fashion.

As I wrote in a recent blog post, doing more with less should be a key priority for financial services organisations to address these challenges and respond to other sources of volatility. It’s about focusing on ways to reduce costs and risks, increase productivity and operational resilience, and amplify the ability to innovate and gain a competitive advantage.

At Microsoft, we believe cloud technology, data and AI can play significant roles in helping financial services organisations to achieve this goal of doing more with less. This is already evident among many of our customers in Australia and New Zealand.

One of those is National Australia Bank (NAB), which used Microsoft’s Azure Cognitive Services and Bot Framework to create a unique chatbot to handle tech support requests from its 40,000-plus workforce. The chatbot saved NAB A$1.2 million in support team costs within seven months of use. It also significantly improved employee productivity and customer experiences.

Meanwhile, one of NAB’s subsidiaries, Bank of New Zealand (BNZ), is gearing up for the biggest technical migrations in its history. BNZ will shift many of its applications to Microsoft’s Azure cloud to help the organisation meet compliance requirements and create better products and services.

Australia’s largest superannuation fund, AustralianSuper, has streamlined the onboarding of financial advisors using the Microsoft Power Platform’s low-code capabilities. As a result, the fund has reduced manual effort by 90 per cent, which has led to a 95 per cent reduction in turnaround time and a four-out-of-five colleague satisfaction rating.

Another great example is Bank of Queensland Group (BOQ Group). The organisation will progressively transition its technology infrastructure and applications to Microsoft Azure by 2025, as well as maximising its existing investments using our Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services platform. This is helping BOG Group simplify its digital landscape, minimise operating costs, provide more modern and personalised banking services for customers, and fuel further innovation.

Suncorp Group is accelerating its migration to the Azure cloud, to reduce costs and boost its security and risk management capabilities. The move will also enable the organisation to more quickly develop and deploy digital solutions to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

Westpac New Zealand has transitioned its on-premises customer relationship management environment to Microsoft Dynamics 365 and automate its back-office processes. This saved the bank’s employees as many as 3,850 hours per week, and improved data quality across the organisation.

These are just some of the many financial services organisations in Australia and New Zealand that Microsoft is empowering to do more with less.

By taking an industry-specific approach with our Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services – together with our robust partner ecosystem – we’re able to meet their unique needs and ensure they have the capability to succeed now and in the future.