UBS and Microsoft Corp. announced a landmark expansion of their partnership to accelerate UBS’s public cloud footprint over the next five years. Through this transformational initiative, UBS plans to have more than 50% of its applications, including critical workloads, running on Microsoft Azure, now UBS’s primary cloud platform. The partnership furthers UBS’s “cloud-first” strategy and the modernization of its global technology estate.
Through this partnership, UBS will have access to the most comprehensive cloud platform, trusted by more than 95% of Fortune 500 companies, with a rich set of productivity and collaboration tools, enabling the firm to increase the speed at which it can deliver and improve upon its digital experiences for clients and employees. At the same time, Azure will help advance UBS’s sustainability initiatives, drive operational efficiencies, and maintain its standards for compliance and security — providing strong foundations on which to scale UBS’s rate of cloud adoption.
“Our cloud strategy has fundamentally changed the way we operate, allowing us to reinvigorate our technology estate and reimagine how we build applications for our clients,” said Mike Dargan, UBS Group chief digital and information officer. “Closely partnering and collaborating with Microsoft has and will continue to create tremendous value for our clients, our employees, the firm and our shareholders. The developments and learnings that stem from this partnership will benefit the financial services industry and beyond.”
In 2018, when UBS announced its cloud strategy, leveraging its strategic partnership with Microsoft, it planned to move one-third of its applications to public cloud within four years, but accomplished this goal early in February 2021. Now, the partnership goes beyond just consuming cloud services to include the co-development of innovations and greater collaboration in areas like carbon reduction.
“UBS is a forward-thinking leader in the financial services industry, and Microsoft has been fortunate to co-develop innovative applications that meet complex, regulatory requirements with their engineering teams over the past several years,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Cloud + AI, Microsoft. “Our expanded partnership will continue to accelerate the organization’s ambitious digital transformation plans, applying the power of the Microsoft Cloud to equip UBS with the agility and reliability to deliver for their clients.”
Advancing digital sustainability
In line with the firm’s sustainability goals, UBS continues to move certain technology platform workloads from its on-premises and private cloud servers to Azure. In some use cases, this has resulted in the energy consumption of these workloads to be reduced by up to 30% to date.
Together, UBS and Microsoft also co-developed a Carbon Aware API, an open-source solution that provides recommendations on how to schedule workloads that require heavy compute power during times when clean, renewable or low-carbon sources of electricity are most available. They then provided their solution to the Green Software Foundation so it could be shared with large and small companies around the world.
Enhancing client and employee experiences with artificial intelligence
UBS and Microsoft are implementing and further exploring ways in which artificial intelligence and data can be used to enhance services for clients and employees. For example, in Switzerland, UBS is currently operating two applications that utilize conversational AI capabilities to respond to client e-mail inquiries.
Unleashing innovation and driving greater business insights on a trusted platform
To support UBS’s “cloud-first” strategy and further drive innovation, Microsoft actively brought its Azure confidential computing services to Switzerland. This provided UBS with a new functionality to protect and secure data sharing internally across all of UBS’s business divisions, while maintaining the bank’s compliance and security standards. As a result, UBS can now develop additional business insights and uncover new opportunities for innovation for its clients and employees.
In addition, UBS will leverage Microsoft Power Platform — including Power Apps and Power Automate — which will provide employees with the ability to quickly build professional-grade applications, create automated workflows and connect disparate data sources.