Sibos 2018: SWIFT to enable payment transfers on Microsoft Azure

Sibos 2018: SWIFT to enable payment transfers on Microsoft Azure

Payments ecosystem players will benefit from faster, more efficient and secure operations

Richard Humphreys |

At this week’s Sibos event in Sydney, Australia, Microsoft and SWIFT have revealed that they are working together to facilitate the future deployment of SWIFT messaging solutions in the cloud, enabling faster, more efficient and secure operations for banks, corporates, service bureaus and other payments ecosystem players.

The two companies have already conducted a cloud-native proof of concept (POC) where Microsoft’s own treasury department served as the initial user. The Microsoft Treasury group manages over US$150 billion in assets and supports over US$400 billion per year in SWIFT based payments that support operations in over 190 countries and provide just-in-time cash management on a global basis.

“This is a big step forward in demonstrating the potential of the cloud in improving back-office operational efficiency,” said Arnaud Boulnois, head of customer platforms at SWIFT. “SWIFT continually seeks to reduce and remove friction and eliminate operational inefficiencies within the financial services payment ecosystem. Cloud adoption continues to increase within the financial services industry, and we are thrilled to partner with Microsoft to bring the benefits of the cloud to SWIFT customers and ecosystem partners via Microsoft Azure.”

The Microsoft and SWIFT teams are excited about what the future holds for this proof of concept. According to Guru, principal program manager at Microsoft, beyond the immediate operational and security benefits realised by moving the service to the cloud, there is significant potential to add additional business logic, advanced analytics, and AI capabilities to further improve how banks and corporates conduct transfers and identify trends and insights.

So how does it work? “Microsoft Treasury sends a wire instruction through SAP on Azure which gets validated using machine learning algorithms,” explains Kirthigavasan. “Once validated for authenticity, these wires are then sent to SWIFT via Microsoft’s SWIFT installation on the cloud. SWIFT validates the wire instructions and sends it off to the appropriate bank. Once the bank completes the wire instruction it sends confirmation over to Microsoft.”

“The joint deep engineering engagement between SWIFT and Microsoft has delivered a more secure and compliant cloud services that will benefit the industry as a whole,” said Ulrich Homann, distinguished architect at Microsoft. “In the future ecosystem of open banking and instant payments, we believe this partnership with SWIFT will enable our combined corporate customers to benefit from the agility, performance and high availability features only made possible by the Azure cloud.”

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