SMBC partners Microsoft to integrate consumer and corporate businesses

SMBC partners Microsoft to integrate consumer and corporate businesses
Image Credit: SMBC

To provide "embedded" financing solutions.

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Japanese financial services institution, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Group (SMBC), is collaborating with Microsoft to develop new products and services for customers as part of its digital transformation journey.

SMBC’s chief digital innovation officer Katsunori Tanizaki said in a chat organised by Microsoft that their partnership has the key focus to drive "embedded finance" involving the integration of consumer and corporate businesses by establishing business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) platforms.      

This approach enables non-banking platforms to seamlessly integrate financial tools using customised "plug-in and play" stacks, Tanizaki said. 

“It helps to lower costs and deliver personalised customer experience,” he added. 

Through SMBC’s global network of 149 overseas sites, the company is working with Microsoft’s global cloud platform to enable the creation of diverse services for its customers.

For instance, SMBC has launched a cloud-based solution in Asia to tackle supply chain issues, that is efficient to process customers’ financial requests within minutes, Tanizaki said.

The recently adopted cloud-based AI engines also digitise the trade finance processing to help the firm cater to the increasing customer demand for cross-border trade, he added.

“Our corporate customers are accelerating their digitisation of supply chains to tackle the complexity of global supply chain operations. This drives the clear expectation to banks like us to provide paperless and real-time transactions by seamless connectivity with their systems,” Tanizaki said.

Moreover, SMBC helps customers to support their suppliers by arranging early payments, thus ensuring a robust supplier network intact.

The bank is providing non-financial digital tools to customers to drive financial operations.

This includes digitisation of the office of the chief financial officer (CFO), providing data analytics dashboards of KPIs (key performance indicators) such as cash conversion cycle and FX exposure using Power BI, and invoice processing and payment automation tools.

SMBC has designed its digital strategy with a focus to combine the transformation of financial solutions with the expansion into non-financial solutions for customers. It has established a global-scale partnership ecosystem, creating co-innovation facilities in Japan, Singapore, and the US. 

It has also announced a series of new intrapreneurial ventures to drive non-financial digital solutions. Tanizaki said he had personally approved more than 20 internal projects within SMBC over the last two years.

“We are trying various avenues, both online and offline, to accelerate mindset and cultural transformation,” he added.

The firm is also running an in-house Digital University to reskill and upskill its employees online. 

Further, Tanizaki said such "digital perseverance" is an ongoing journey for organisations and he recommends firms think from a customer-first point of view.

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