- By Karen Cone, general manager of Worldwide Financial Services at Microsoft

Over the past several years, there have been major changes to the financial services landscape.  I like to think of it as a trifecta of mega-trends, driving change at a pace that has been unmatched for fifty years.  No one will be surprised by the first trend… because we are all experiencing truly game-changing technologies (Facebook! Twitter! Yammer!).  We are excited to take advantage of the power and reach of social media, and to enable financial institutions to be present in the lives of their customers anytime, anywhere.  At the same time, there is incredible power that exists in back office computing solutions. The industry is moving toward modern, flexible core banking and payment systems to achieve lower costs and greater product flexibility.

At Sibos, we are sharing news of two different deployments that are enabling our customers to transform and modernize their organizations.  Bank SinoPac, who has adopted Windows Server and SQL Server to run the next-generation Temenos T24 core banking system, is expecting to save up to 50 percent on future annual maintenance costs over five years and provide a higher computation throughput for future business expansion. And Oesterreichische Kontrollbank selected BizTalk Server and SQL Server to support its mission critical financial messaging operations, which they expect will improve the performance, transparency and reliability of its core processes and reduce costs by up to 90 percent.

The next mega-trend centers on changing demographics.  We see emerging markets that are bypassing traditional forms of banking and going directly to mobile and electronic interactions with financial institutions. There is also a new generation entering the workforce where technology is part of their DNA – an extension of everything they do.  These customers expect financial institutions to know who they are regardless of how and where they choose to interact with their banks. There are some exciting announcements happening at Sibos that should be very interesting to emerging markets and banks looking to win and retain a new generation of customers. One example is Fiserv’s new tablet application built for Windows 8 and Windows RT. The application, Digital Banking Preview from Fiserv, gives financial institutions a working visualization of the online and mobile banking and payment services they can bring to market using Fiserv and Microsoft technology. And, SunGard has launched tablet versions of IntelliMatch Operational Control for Windows 8 that helps business and IT users access their reconciliation environment anytime, anywhere.

Rounding out the trifecta is, of course, the financial crisis. This probably had the most widespread impact on the industry, resulting in a loss of customer trust that placed a new level of control and power in the hands of the customer – which is being reinforced by regulators.  Financial institutions must comply with changing regulations while also being increasingly transparent.  These institutions are also demanding platforms that deliver insight into business performance and risk.  In Osaka, you’ll hear more from our partner Numerix about their Cross Asset XL and Portfolio solution, built on the cloud platform,  Windows Azure.  This solution improves business agility, reduces capital expenditure, and quickly scales to meet the most compute intensive pricing and calculation demands.

Understanding these trends, and enabling our industry to take advantages of opportunities afforded by new market dynamics and a new generation of customers, is at the heart of what we are doing.  If you see me at Sibos, come say hello!  I’d love to hear your perspective on these opportunities and what your company is doing to take advantage of them.