The future of financial services: AI and Microsoft Copilot

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Companies in the financial services industry (FSI) are adopting AI to transform operations and boost employee productivity. AI represents an exciting next step for FSI companies, but fostering innovation requires a foundation of trust and robust governance.  

FSI firms handle sensitive financial data and personal information, facing unique security and regulatory challenges. Business leaders must prepare for the future by empowering employees with AI in a responsible and secure manner that protects customer data. 

Empowering employee productivity with AI

The AI revolution is underway; the 2024 Work Trend Index Annual Report shows that 75% of knowledge workers are already using AI. And the trend is accelerating—nearly half of those who adopted AI did so in the last six months. Employees who implement AI report time savings, improved focus, and enhanced creativity. Within one month, the top 5% of teams using Copilot for Microsoft 365 to summarize meetings saved eight hours—a full workday that they could dedicate to other tasks. 

But with unique security and regulatory needs, FSI organizations need to carefully consider how they implement AI. “Without the right guardrails, processes, and policies, unmanaged AI use can present inherent risks and challenges that cannot be overlooked, especially in an area like financial services, where regulatory compliance and corporate governance are paramount,” says Dan Nadir, Chief Product Officer of Theta Lake. 

Theta Lake, a Microsoft partner, is a compliance and security company that provides tools for organizations to boost employee productivity with AI securely. It actively monitors any content created, including Copilot creations, to help identify potential compliance risks across all content. With Theta Lake’s AI-powered financial services solutions, companies are detecting sensitive data more accurately and efficiently than doing it manually. 

While providing access to AI can pay dividends for employee productivity, it can also drive talent retention. Professionals aren’t motivated to stay at jobs if they are not satisfied with the tools they’re given or the pace of innovation. However, fast-moving technology can pose challenges for FSI companies that depend on stable, secure solutions.  

FSI business leaders need new technology to shrink the skills gap, retain talented staff, and enhance human connections. They also need an innovative mindset that thinks beyond simply optimizing processes or filling positions. 

Microsoft partner HSO, a business transformation consultant, offers its customers access to Microsoft Copilot Studio to enhance analytics and decision-making. Through its Copilot Studio proof-of-concept program, HSO uses a prescriptive data governance methodology to demonstrate safe, secure Copilot deployments. With HSO’s built-in guardrails, customers can use Copilot without worrying about creating their own security infrastructure. 

“Microsoft Copilot Studio offers unprecedented potential, but navigating security concerns is paramount. By partnering with HSO’s experts and following best practices, organizations can harness the full power of AI while safeguarding their data and ensuring regulatory compliance,” says Tom Berger, Vice President & Industry Director, Financial Services at HSO. 

Implementing responsible AI to unlock the future of work

The productivity, analytics, and employee experience benefits of AI are clear for FSI firms, but any change can meet resistance. FSI companies need a culture that’s conducive to change and confidence in the security of their AI deployment. 

EY, a professional services company, together with alliance partner Microsoft, helps FSI leaders implement AI for their use cases using Copilot. “EY is addressing people’s concerns by focusing on governance, risk, and compliance. In collaboration with Microsoft, we have developed a comprehensive framework for responsible AI, drawing on Microsoft’s extensive experience and know-how in advanced machine learning and automation,” says Rani Bhuva, EY Americas Financial Services Responsible AI Leader. “As rapid adoption takes place across more organizations, it is crucial to take time to make sure governance practices are in place – this framework will help set up our clients for success.” 

EY provides its customers with a framework for responsible AI using the Microsoft five-point blueprint and delivers rapid risk assessment for a secure AI deployment. In one example, a bank uses Copilot to convert unstructured call-center data into actionable insights. The bank uses AI to automate manual tasks, generate reports quickly, and enhance customer satisfaction—all while keeping customer data secure. 

Innovating in financial services and beyond

FSI companies that adopt AI must consider the security implications. But adopting solutions supported by built-in security and a network of trustworthy partners can help accelerate innovation while reducing risk. By balancing innovation with robust governance, FSI organizations can become AI leaders that harness its benefits while retaining customer trust. 

Along with partners like Theta Lake, HSO, and EY, Microsoft provides robust and secure AI capabilities at scale for FSI companies as well as in those in other industries. Learn more about the security and compliance features of Copilot for Microsoft 365. 


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