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Best Emerging Technology Solution Winner: Microsoft

Published: Aug 2023
Photo of Henry Byrne, Microsoft.

Photo of Henry Byrne, Microsoft.

Henry Byrne

Senior Treasury Manager
Microsoft logo
Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington.

Azure cloud services and SWIFT MT 798 Automation improves Microsoft’s guarantee issuance process

The challenge

The Global Treasury and Financial Services (GTFS) Global Credit Risk team supports Microsoft stakeholders globally with the issuance of bank and corporate securities to assist with sales and other business needs. Utilising a Power Platform solution on Azure cloud services, the risk team manages billions of dollars in securities in the form of bank guarantees and corporate guarantees.

“This Power Platform – Guarantee Issuance Platform (GIP) – using Azure cloud services was established three years ago as Phase 1 of our securities automation project to automate the application and approval process of securities on one integrated system,” explains Henry Byrne, Senior Treasury Manager.

While GIP has completed the first phase of implementation (request generation, submission and repository for treasury), the second phase relates to automating the MT file creation and guarantee transmission via SWIFT. Internally, this solution is referred to as SWIFT MT 798 Automation.

Previously, guarantee requests were submitted by Microsoft subsidiaries in GIP and reviewed and approved by the risk team before the system generated an automated mail to the back office team authorising them to submit the guarantee application on the relevant banking platform. Depending on the issuing bank chosen, the back office team must log on to the relevant bank’s portal using mobile tokens in order to create a guarantee application. Once created a risk approver would log onto the bank’s portal using mobile tokens to approve the application which is then submitted to the bank’s guarantee department for processing. The process was manual and time-consuming, often taking up to 48 hours to submit applications, whilst also prone to error from manual data entry in banks portals.

The solution

To address these pain points, Microsoft engaged its treasury engineering teams to seamlessly integrate the GIP Power

Platform with its enterprise bank connectivity platforms, which is powered by SWIFT, to achieve complete end-to-end automation and digitisation, which brings scale, security, cost savings and frees-up resources to focus on more value-added activities.

“Through automation, we can submit guarantee and amendment applications to our global banking partners by generating standard SWIFT MT 760, 761, 767 and 799 messages in real-time and securely via our SWIFT network. We can also track the status of each application in GIP, creating efficiencies, whilst allowing teams to scale and meet growing business needs,” says Byrne.

The metrics for success include:

  1. Automated approval and guarantee issuance on one integrated system ensuring secure and reliable connectivity between Microsoft and its banks.

  2. Time savings on issuing 700 guarantee applications to banks per annum and the bank application process has reduced by 99% from four hours to one minute.

  3. Cost savings associated with back office intervention no longer required and treasury no longer approving applications in bank portals, providing physical signatories and paper forms, freeing-up headcount.

  4. Straight through processing increases efficiency, allowing the team to scale and meet growing business needs and tight deadlines.

“To be recognised as a winner in the Treasury Today Adam Smith Awards, universally as the ultimate industry benchmark for corporate treasury achievement, reinforces our commitment to be at the forefront with innovation in the credit risk/guarantee issuance space. The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.”

Henry Byrne, Senior Treasury Manager

Best practice and innovation

Microsoft is continuously striving to implement best practices and be at the forefront with innovation in the credit risk/guarantee issuance space. Using Microsoft Power Platform for rapid development of the workflow combined with a secure message API and a secondary Azure authorisation solution, this innovative architecture not only delivers the deep level of security required but also provides maximum flexibility in improving and streamlining the guarantee application process while at the same time improving the user experience.

Best practice and innovation are being demonstrated by enabling GTFS and GIP users:

  • To identify real-time control and traceability of individual transactions, validities, total outstanding volumes compiled by region, business area and more.

  • To compile consolidated trade finance positions with increased visibility.

  • To support Microsoft engineering and technology partners submit/track/resolve incidents as they arise post-production.

  • Streamline integration and communications enabling processes to be standardised and automated. In addition to ensuring greater efficiency, this also improves accuracy by eliminating the need to manually input data on banks platforms.

  • Make independent decisions on platform technical enhancements and implementation.

Key benefits

  • Cost savings.

  • Headcount savings.

  • Process efficiencies.

  • Increased automation.

  • Risk mitigated.

  • Improved visibility.

  • Errors reduced.

  • Manual intervention reduced.

  • Increased system connectivity.

  • Exceptional implementation (budget/time).

“The project transformed our internal guarantee issuance process by leveraging a new and innovative power-platform solution leading to the issuance of guarantee applications via SWIFT messages,” says Byrne.

The Adam Smith Awards is the industry benchmark for best practice and innovation in corporate treasury. The 2023 awards attracted 320 nominations spanning 34 countries. To find out more please visit: treasurytoday.com/adam-smith-awards.

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