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At our recent Microsoft Build 2020 conference, we celebrated the critical role of developers and their tireless efforts to rally during this time of crisis. We also unveiled a range of new tools and services to meet their needs to provide immediate impact and value, and help them achieve more in the future through AI and other technology advancements.

Here are the top eight things developers in the financial services industry won’t want to miss from this year’s all-virtual event.

1. Deliver enhanced remote customer service and productivity

For those of you working with customers remotely or working from home, we’ve released a number of great new features for Microsoft Teams. One of the key features for financial service institutions is the ability to build and integrate apps directly into Teams, helping simplify business processes. As an example, we now have a new Booking App for organizations to schedule and hold virtual visits with customers. Check out the Booking Apps demo to see how a wealth advisor can work with clients remotely.

In the next few months, we’ll also have customizable templates to choose from to create new teams, including for industry-specific scenarios like branch banking. So, make sure to check out all the things that are new and coming soon to Microsoft 365.

2. More easily manage hybrid environments

As a result of COVID-19, many banks and financial institutions have accelerated their transition to digital ways of working including migrating core services to the cloud. At Build, we shared new containerization models that will work more smoothly between on-premises, cloud, and multi-cloud environments. This gives financial services organizations more flexibility and portability as they begin their move to the cloud.

Learn more about the benefits of Microsoft Azure Arc for Kubernetes including helping financial institutions manage Kubernetes instances in many different deployment environments, including geographic regions with data sovereignty requirements.

3. Gain immediate business insights without operational burden

The global pandemic has also shown us just how critical it is to be able to change course quickly and continuously. At the core of being agile is the ability to gain fresh, continuous insights from data. That’s why we’re happy to share Microsoft Azure Synapse Link with our financial services community.

Azure Synapse Link is a cloud-native implementation of HTAP (hybrid transactional analytical processing)—an architecture for enabling analytics on live operational data. For financial institutions, and banks in particular, it eliminates the historic need to separate transaction data in core banking systems from its analysis. This avoids the traditional choice of either slowing down critical functions like processing loans or instead maintaining complex data warehouses that are not up to date with the latest data.

Now, financial services organizations can run analytics against real-time transaction databases without placing any burden on their operational systems. They can also combine this real-time data with their existing analytical stores to gain a holistic view of their business with ease.

4. New innovations for building trust in AI

As financial services firms look to adopt AI, they face significant challenges in developing and using AI responsibly, particularly in a highly regulated industry. Models need to be transparent to ensure fairness and also need to be properly managed to avoid bias. To help overcome these challenges, Microsoft has announced several new responsible ML innovations in Microsoft Azure Machine Learning that help our customers understand, protect, and control their data and models.

EY’s leadership and early pilot showcases how Azure Machine Learning, together with explainable AI, can help financial services organizations evaluate and improve the trustworthiness of their AI systems, better manage and mitigate risk, and make fairer loan decisions faster, all while building confidence with customers and regulators.

5. Enhanced security capabilities to keep your systems and data safe

Ongoing security is one of our top priorities. This is also top of mind for financial institutions given the visibility of data breaches across the industry.

New capabilities in our Microsoft Azure Security Center, including Secure Score, give financial services organizations a more understandable and effective way to assess risk on their environment and prioritize actions to reduce it. They can also help simplify threat findings, reduce alerts fatigue for safe activities, and focus on the most relevant threats.

Additionally, developers building enterprise and mission-critical apps with Microsoft Azure Cosmos DB can tap new capabilities enabling them to bring their own keys for enhanced end-to-end encryption of their data.

Through GitHub Advanced Security, part of the Microsoft family, free code scanning and secret scanning capabilities can also help financial services institutions keep code more secure by searching for new potential security vulnerabilities and preventing unauthorized access to cloud service accounts through authentication credentials, including Azure secrets within source code.

6. More easily build and deliver consistent digital experiences

Microsoft’s new .NET multi-platform app UI (.NET MAUI) will enable developers to build apps for any device from a single codebase and project system, including desktop and mobile devices across operating systems.

For banks who need to support the same functionality across online, mobile, and ATM banking, MAUI provides one consistent piece of code that can run on all of these environments and drastically simplify the process of adding new features, functions, and capabilities.

7. Increase accuracy and streamline your deployment process

Many financial services organizations are looking to move more quickly to deploy new capabilities, but this can be difficult in the complex IT environment they operate in. Our Azure Resource Manager templates can now simplify this.

The Resource Manager templates enable organizations to deliver infrastructure as code using a simple configuration language, and “what-if” analysis and deployment scripts, now in preview, will increase accuracy and further streamline the deployment process.

With “what-if” analysis, banks and insurers can assess the impact of a deployment to an environment before submitting any changes to the deployed resources. This enables them to predetermine what resources will be created, updated or deleted, including any resource property changes. And with the deployment script, our customers can now complete an end-to-end environment setup in a single Resource Manager template.

8. Experience the impact of next generation processing power

Microsoft is dedicated to democratizing technologies like AI and quantum to make them more accessible and valuable to anyone and ultimately enabling new ways to solve some of society’s toughest challenges. Microsoft has built one of the top five publicly disclosed supercomputers in the world and the first that leverages the power of the cloud. Microsoft Azure Quantum has also moved to limited preview for our customers and partners to begin to build their own quantum programs and skillset.

For companies with the most demanding AI workloads, a supercomputer hosted in a public infrastructure will help accelerate deployment. Both quantum computing and having access to a supercomputer on-demand have enormous potential to transform the way financial institutions conduct risk modeling and improve risk management.

Building the future of financial services

These are just a few of the highlights to help developers build the future of the industry. You can learn about these opportunities and more by watching the virtual event’s keynote videos and news. We look forward to hearing what you think!