More and more I hear our customers and partners around the world asking for a Microsoft view on how to best leverage technology to transform banking. Banks are faced with complex decisions to modernize core infrastructure, increase employee productivity and also provide innovation to customers. It is quite a challenge! Many banks of course use Microsoft technology extensively today, and so are looking to maximize the use of that investment as part of a cost saving strategy. Some banks haven't yet seen the potential of our platform and capabilities for mission critical workloads or branch modernization, for example. To this end we have developed Microsoft Industry Reference Architecture for Banking (MIRA-B). This is a framework, based on our involvement with the Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN), and aligned to Microsoft technology and product capabilities. Several of our key financial services partners have endorsed MIRA-B, including BIAN, Finarch, Fiserv, Misys, SunGard, Temenos, and Turaz.

The following article is a post by Joe Pagano, MD Worldwide Banking and Capital Markets at Microsoft. This explains more about the rationale and the potential benefits to be realized from MIRA-B. A link at the end of the article takes you to the downloadable document. I hope you enjoy it.

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Leading Banks Back into the Black

By Joe Pagano, MD Worldwide Banking and Capital Markets, Microsoft

Like many other industries, banking embraced online and mobile channels to enable customers to take control of when, where and how they interact with their banks. However, the proliferation of online and mobile channels has presented significant technology challenges. For decades, the industry has focused on lowering the cost per transaction –  but to be competitive in today’s economy, banks need to move from a transaction-centric business model to a customer-centric model.  This requires the examination of business processes, applications, and data silos across the institution to remove redundancy and improve time to market, and therefore time to business value. The real key to growth lies is in unlocking the power of data in a way that differentiates the customer experience. This can be accomplished by applying new business insights to the delivery of world-class customer service and to identifying the opportunity to deliver innovative products and services at scale, seamlessly across channels, tailored to the specific needs and wants of the target customer audiences.

Take a look at this example on how an integrated technology solution for the banking industry is supporting new customer experiences while optimizing back-end banking operations.

While there is a bright future for online and mobile sales, legacy IT systems and complex organizational barriers are preventing banks from maximizing the potential of these channels. Operational errors, lapses in internal controls, manual handoffs, continual workarounds and reprocessing efforts amount to billions of dollars in missed opportunity and operational overhead for the banking industry. These hefty operational expenses add to an already high cost of maintaining fragmented legacy IT systems.

The new Microsoft Industry Reference Architecture for Banking gives financial institutions the framework to ensure IT meets their strategic goals across channels and various customer needs.  It helps to provide a much needed bridge between the line-of-business objectives and central IT goals within a bank. Management of data and technology is the cornerstone of financial services, and of banking in particular. Financial institutions that can best manage data and systems, orchestrate business processes and transactions, and have the highest level of insight into business operations and customer desires can gain a competitive edge in the industry in terms of product innovation, operational efficiency, and risk management.

More information is available at www.microsoft.com/mira-b.