The Record - Issue 9: Summer 2018

82 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om I NT E R V I EW What led you to Microsoft and what have you found to be most exciting about the role so far? I’m excited to work for Microsoft at this pivotal time in the industry. No other vendor today has what Microsoft has. We have the most complete offering in the market, from infrastructure to applications, and an established ecosystem of ISVs and fintechs that can utilise our technology to create game-changing solutions for financial services. Our ability to support regulatory com- pliance – which is critical in financial services – is unrivalled. Even more exciting is to be part of this cultural transformation, learning from outstand- ing leaders like Satya Nadella and Amy Hood. It’s a great time to be at Microsoft. What are the main drivers for transformation in the financial services industry? The financial services industry today is subject to the kind of change no one has seen for over 200 years. The confluence of a dynamic regulatory environment, non-traditional players entering the marketplace, and evolving customer expectations has led to a tipping point. Institutions recognise the importance of digitally transforming their business processes to address these challenges; many are weighed down by legacy systems that hinder agility. What are your key focus areas for the coming year? We see opportunity in financial services in several key areas: customer experience; financial crime and compliance; risk management; and core sys- tems and payments modernisation. Customer experience is critical in a ‘switch- ing economy’ where younger generations of financial customers lack loyalty to financial brands. Accordingly, financial institutions need to up their game, and they need technology to make the customer experience smarter and more personalised. Financial crime and compliance is also key. Banks have paid over $280 billion in regulatory fines since 2009. The ability to track and ensure compliance is critical for financial institutions. Successful management of risk is central to a financial institution’s business. Incumbents are vulnerable to competitive pressure where, as McKinsey notes in ‘The future of risk manage- ment in the digital era’: “aggressive fintechs, some prominent non-bank lenders, and early-adopting incumbents have enhanced their customer offerings, largely automated their processes, and made their risk models more precise. As a result, they can undercut traditional banks on price.” McKinsey’s research found that digital attackers’ cost/income ratio is 33%, compared with 55% at incumbent banks. Core systems and payments modernisation is another priority area. According to a September 2017 Forbes report, only 25% of firms have ade- quate levels of operational flexibility. Financial services institutions must establish modern infra- structures to enable business agility, as well as lowering IT cost ratios. How do you see the industry evolving in terms of regulation, compliance and overall culture? Financial services is in the midst of a major trans- formation, and we will begin to see major trans- formation in the next 18-24 months. Financial services are fundamentally built with technology, and a raft of innovation will continue to be applied Having settled into her new role at Microsoft, Janet Lewis, vice president of Global Financial Services, tells us how she is realising her vision to empower financial firms to transform Accelerating digital transformation BY J ACQU I GR I F F I THS