Since the 2008 financial crisis, the sector has looked to repair reputational damage, lock down compliance in the system and rapidly innovate to serve a new generation. During this period of change, banks must redefine the value they want to provide for their customers. For example, do they want to finance the future dreams a millennial may have or be their social media finance service provider, which may lead to a rethink of the banking services they deliver. While they're trying to figure that out, fintech start-ups are attracting customers with the likes of digital wallets, social media payment apps and social investment opportunities. Some banks are trying to keep up with these innovations by purchasing fintech technologies, creating a separate entity, and then putting it back in the main business again.
A holistic view of automation capabilities can help organize and galvanize a team to avoid the common robotics and cognitive automation pitfalls and ultimately achieve scale. Start by articulating the robotics and cognitive automation mission based on key value drivers and establish a clear and compelling business case. Create a broad vision and roadmap. Establish robust, right-sized governance, select an appropriate operating model, and collaborate across boundaries. You also want to gain access to the necessary specialized skills and talent.
To build an effective and scalable solution, developers need technology that can be deployed around the world and still provide results with high confidence. To that end, we've spent the last year investing in making our Cognitive Services enterprise-ready and bringing them to general availability, ready for production use. Cognitive Services are a set of intelligent APIs and services that are used by more than 1.2 million developers and thousands of businesses throughout 150 countries across every industry from retail to healthcare to public sector to manufacturing and non-profit organizations. We've deployed more services into the Azure data centers around the world, written more documentation in multiple developer languages, re-architected products to change the way we store and retain data in order to give controls to users over their data, adhering to the highest standards available. All while meeting strict SLA standards that we require for every Azure service.
It's never been more important for life insurers to offer their policyholders high-quality service. Digitisation and intensified competition with other financial service verticals have blunted prospects for growth and made customer acquisition and retention ever more challenging. Meanwhile, consumers' overall service expectations continue to rise as retailers in other industries set a higher bar. Insurers have struggled to keep up because of the inherent complexity of both their products and their systems' environments. Bringing cognitive computing to customer service will allow insurers to move past these challenges and deliver a level of digital service comparable to that of any other industry.
Microsoft Cognitive Service service APIs enable the fastest route for businesses to integrate AI into their new or existing applications and systems. If you want to learn how to get started using the Microsoft Cognitive Services API, Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) has put together a series that dives into many of the most commonly used services. Follow the links below to view course content for each of the sections.