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Barclays inks multi-year deal with Microsoft, starts rolling out Teams

Deployment plan includes unified data governance platform Purview

Barclays Bank has selected Microsoft Teams as its preferred collaboration platform, meaning that up to 120,000 of the company's employees and partners globally could be using the service soon.

The bank is not averse to the cloudy product lines from the tech giants: In 2019 Barclays set a course for AWS. Its services have also suffered from the occasional wobble over the years, meaning that Teams should be a perfect fit.

Other businesses in the sector to sign up to Microsoft's way of doing things include Lloyds Banking Group, which buddied up with the Windows giant at the beginning of 2020 to roll out the Microsoft Managed Desktop and Office 365 across the entire business.

As for Barclays, it is busy rolling out Teams globally and described the impact as "instant", with improved collaboration, communication and drop in email traffic.

"Microsoft Teams," said Craig Bright, global chief information officer, Barclays, "gives us an end-to-end collaboration platform that helps us connect our colleagues and enhance our business capabilities."

There are a few caveats. Teams is only a "preferred" collaboration platform, meaning others could be selected provided there is sufficient justification. There are also the regulatory challenges inherent in a financial institution. The deployment plan for Teams put together by Barclays and Microsoft "included enhancing the data retention, search and retrieval capabilities available within Microsoft Purview to meet Barclays' needs."

Teams is replacing "several point solutions previously in use across the company," said Barclays.

Other financial giants have turned to collaboration platforms in order to kick off a digital transformation. HSBC said in 2019 of its use with Slack, "We work in a highly regulated industry, but despite all that, it is possible to have Slack in a bank". Mettle, Natwest's digital business account, similarly uses Slack for collaboration across teams.

Barclays move is the latest demonstration that, like it or not, digital collaboration tools are very much here to stay following an acceleration in their adoption over the last couple of years as workers swapped offices for remote options. "Barclays," wrote Microsoft, "was intent on delivering a robust Teams experience."

Hopefully the more than 120,000 potential Teams users around the globe will agree. ®

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