Banks adopt Microsoft services to aid 'digital transformation'

With the rise of blockchain and AI, financial institutions see the need to adapt to the ever-changing financial landscape. As such, a few major facilities of this kind have opted to adopt a series of Microsoft-offered services to aid what's being called the 'digital transformation'.

To foster better collaboration at work, the State Bank of India (SBI), as well as Emirates NBD have adopted Office 365, with the latter choosing to also introduce the Surface Hub in their institution. While SBI has about 263,000 employees, the majority of which will probably be migrated to the Office 365 if it is currently not in use, numbers for the Middle Eastern bank have not been released.

Crédito Agricola, TD Bank, and UBS are all using Microsoft's Azure platform, as well as related services to do anything from power the in-house risk management solutions, to getting more general analytics results. Société Générale also makes use of the Redmond giant's cloud, however, for more computationally-intensive actions such as CVA (credit valuation adjustment) intraday calculation. CVA represents the difference between the so-called "risk-free portfolio" and the true value of said portfolio. In other words, the CVA takes into account the possibility of the counterparty - an entity which may have financial risk associated with it - defaulting. If not familiar, defaulting is the failure to make a payment (usually for a loan) at a certain deadline, and shouldn't be confused with bankruptcy.

On the other hand, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) is focused more on the customer-facing side of things, thus introducting a so-called "interactive automatic response system for customer service" via the use of the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit and related AI services.

Last but not least, Microsoft has struck a partnership with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), as well as the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) in order to help out with the second - and final - phase of Project Ubin, an effort which seeks to settle the cross-border transactions of global banks in real time, via the use of blockchain. MAS and ABS will use Azure for the "clearing and settlement of payments and securities", a step which aims to take Singapore closer to its goal of becoming a "smart financial center".

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