The Next Chapter of Transformation & AI for Financial Services

In March, we had the opportunity to host a number of technology leaders from the Financial Services and Insurance sectors at our breakfast briefing at The Gherkin, where the London skyline served as a beautiful backdrop for a morning of insightful talks and engaging conversation.

To discuss what the future holds for digital transformation and artificial intelligence within the FSI space, we were joined by BankClarity’s Aidan McAvinue, and Yasser Toson and Nadya Aneva from Microsoft, who provided insights into the experiences they’ve had, what Microsoft technologies can help you achieve, and how Microsoft’s partner ecosystem can help you get there.

Key highlights

Henry Bird, our host for the morning, began the session by running us through the morning’s agenda, and explaining how we work hand-in-hand with Microsoft.

Over the last 20 years, Cloud Direct has developed its relationship with Microsoft, establishing itself as on of the fastest growing partners in the UK and positioning itself within the top 0.5 per cent of global partners. What does that mean? It means our customers benefit from exclusive perks like direct access to advanced Microsoft support, funding opportunities, and detailed solution assessments and analysis.

“We do one thing really well, and that is helping our customers innovate, leverage technology stacks and operate them effectively and efficiently.”

Aidan McAvinue, CEO of Bank Clarity

Following Henry’s introduction, BankClarity CEO Aidan McAvinue shared his personal approach to AI and the experience his business has had working with Cloud Direct and Microsoft. Aidan’s tractor-based analogy of how John Deere embraced AI and machine learning to set itself apart from competitor Massey Ferguson really resonated with the room.

“Too many businesses are sitting waiting for something to happen. Especially at C-Suite level, business leaders really need to step up and start to embrace these technologies and the infrastructure around them as quickly as possible.”

Aidan closed by throwing down the gauntlet to Microsoft and its partners – like Cloud Direct – by asking for greater clarity and accessibility to the Azure toolkits that might be relevant and useful to his business. BankClarity has dedicated teams of developers who are “always tinkering”, says Aidan, while the apps and tools are already hosted within Azure, and should be much more accessible.

Yasser Toson, Azure Core Specialist at Microsoft

Up next was Yasser Toson, Microsoft’s Azure Core Specialist for the FSI Space. Yasser has been with Microsoft for nearly a decade, having started off in technical and infrastructure roles before moving to technical sales. He used his speaking slot to run through the immense range of solutions that Microsoft offers, and will offer in the future, including the growing Copilot stack that includes:

  • Microsoft Copilot
  • Copilot for Dynamics 365 Finance
  • Microsoft Copilot for Service
  • Microsoft Copilot for Sales
  • Copilot in Microsoft Fabric
  • Copilot in Power BI
  • Microsoft Copilot for Security
  • Microsoft Copilot for Azure
  • GitHub Copilot
  • GitHub Copilot X
  • Build your own copilot with Azure AI Studio

FinOps was another hot topic in Yasser’s talk, as he stated that it’s not a management principle but rather a culture principle. It is a practice that provides visibility to as many stakeholders as possible around spending and enables distributed decision making so that everyone has the consciousness of the business’ technology spend.

Nadya Aneva, Solution Assessment Specialist at Microsoft

Nadya Aneva, Solution Assessment Specialist at Microsoft, followed on from her Microsoft colleague by presenting the solution assessments that Microsoft have to offer. She explained that when Covid-19 hit, a number of on-premise customers wanted to move to the cloud quickly to keep their business afloat, which meant questions and concerns needed to be addressed quickly and clearly. Microsoft’s Solution Assessments played a key role in this, providing clarity and evidence to CTOs, CIOs and Technology Leads that needed answers quickly.

“Moving to the Cloud is often seen to be expensive, but it’s only expensive if it’s not done properly and efficiently.”

There are a wide range of Microsoft Solution Assessments on offer, each suited to specific technology products and services to ensure you are extracting detailed information within the context of your specific business case. These include:

  • Rapid Migration Assessment
  • Application Modernisation Assessment
  • Advanced Migration Assessment
  • Cloud Security Assessment
  • AI Masterclass & Proof of Concept

Henry Bird, Senior Cloud Sales Executive at Cloud Direct

To close, Henry took attendees through the role of partners like Cloud Direct. We’ve got a whole host of options when it comes to assessments and workshops, many of which are discounted or free of charge to the customer. If you’re interested in finding out more about these, then you can visit our workshop page to get started.

Did you miss out? We’re sorry that we can’t put breakfast on, but the event is available to watch on-demand on The Learning Hub.