The Connector.

The Connector Podcast - DFS 2023 - Fintech Belgium - ServiceNow

November 12, 2023 Koen Vanderhoydonk (The Connector) Season 1 Episode 29
The Connector.
The Connector Podcast - DFS 2023 - Fintech Belgium - ServiceNow
Show Notes Transcript

Ready to challenge your perception of the finance world and how it intersects with technology? You're in the right place. We sit down with Noelia, the head of financial services go-to-market at ServiceNow, a company catapulting growth rates of 25%-30% annually with its powerful workflow automation tools. Noelia gives a behind-the-scenes look at how ServiceNow has pivoted through the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerating automation and sparking connectivity, becoming a significant player in the landscape of financial technology.

Don't miss exploring the complex dance between tech and regulation in the financial sector. Although ServiceNow isn't regulated, it's deeply aware of its customer base's regulated nature, shaping its offerings accordingly. Noelia also pulls back the curtain on ServiceNow's inspiring collaborations with NVIDIA and Accenture, leveraging Generative AI to revolutionize the operation of financial institutions. Be prepared to be blown away by the future of FinTech as we traverse this exciting journey with Noelia. The ultimate revelations await you!

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Koen Vanderhoydonk
koen.vanderhoydonk@jointheconnector.com

#FinTech #RegTech #Scaleup #WealthTech

Introduction:

Welcome to the Connector podcast, an ongoing conversation connecting FinTechs, banks and regulators worldwide. Join CEO and founder Koen van der Hoijdon as you learn more about the latest available trends and solutions in the markets.

Koen Vanderhoydonk:

Welcome to another podcast, and today it's a special one because it's the first out of a series, together with Belgium FinTech and I have with me Noelia all the way from Spain, and she works for ServiceNow Can you tell us a little bit more? What are you guys doing? And also introduce yourself.

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

Yes, of course. Good morning, koen. For me it's a great pleasure to be here today in your podcast and to be talking about what's going on and who I am. Let's start with who am I, even if it's a little bit kind of an egoist maybe.

Koen Vanderhoydonk:

Not at all.

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

I am the head of financial services go-to-market at ServiceNow, focused on regions like South EMEA, uk and I. I'm also supporting the North region and I've been with the company for quite some time already, looking to help customers that are in the FinTech space or financial space to get the best outcome for our solutions. I work for ServiceNow. Servicenow is a company that is quite young, but not so much. We have like 20 years in the market and we basically that's not so young.

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

It's not so young, but if you compare us to other in the industry, the dinosaurs. The dinosaurs, then we're pretty young and well we've been. What we're trying to do is basically help our customers to work their work better. We are a company quite sizeable. At the minute, we are 20,000 employees 20,000 employees across the globe and we have very I think we have a very successful trajectory. We've been growing like fast. We are now a 7 billion company with an aspiration of becoming 16 billion company by 2026. Wow, Amazing.

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

And aggressive growth rate between the 25% 30% year and year. So yeah, kind of we are not challenging, we are not, we are not, we are not on a roll.

Koen Vanderhoydonk:

You make me feel very small when you give all these numbers.

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

Well, I think it's the outcome of work and it's the outcome of a trajectory, basically of helping customers to understand where are their alternatives and how technology can help them. So it's just one step up to the other.

Koen Vanderhoydonk:

ServiceNow has been, or is, a workflow automation tool. Did you see any changes after the corona crisis? So post COVID.

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

Well, quite a lot. I think that with COVID and post coronavirus, what we learned is that we couldn't depend on the things that we were doing before. I think that as a workflow company, we're yeah, or an enterprise software company. Better said, I think that what we have realized is that companies around ourselves, and particularly in financial services, cannot be dependent on manual work, manual tasks and silos. So what we've seen is a deliberate intention to move and to automate more so that people can be more connected and that the information is flowing better from one part of the business to another one. Just imagine what has happened with the insurance offshore. We have, for example, banks working with us that had a lot of operation that was offshore in.

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

India or other parts of the world and all of a sudden you have to repatriate all that to continue to provide services and critical services. Like, for example, you have a problem with your credit card, you have a problem with the payment and you want that to be fixed. Before the pandemic probably there were some means to do that. After the pandemic, I think that we realize is that all these business needs more agility, more flexibility and more speed to be able to resolve all of that. And as a consequence of that, connectivity, automation, work flow in and bringing people in shore has been kind of key so that the operation could continue. Now that we're back to normal, because of the rhythm, because of the attitude, because of the experience, we've now continued to do so. So we're not going backwards, I think that we're going forward when it means when it comes to automation and speed of communication and flow of the information between different departments.

Koen Vanderhoydonk:

Well, talking about going forward, we hear in a podcast because of Vintek Belgium and the DFS. Obviously, the topic of the day of the event will be about regulations. I don't think that service now is regulated. But how do you look at regulations? Is that for you a blessing or is it cumbersome?

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

Thanks a lot. For us, regulation is part of our DNA. It's part of the life, particularly when you're looking at the business in, like financial services, that is heavy, heavy regulated. We're not a regulated company, but we understand that our customers are heavy regulated and it is important for us to be able to support them where they need.

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

So we take regulation really seriously. For us, I think it's an advantage the way that the solution is built, particularly in the particular space for financial services, and how we embed controls for risk and for compliance in every single process, whether that's an IT process or it's a business process. I think it's part of why we think that we cannot be away from it and, at the same time, we have to embrace it to the benefit of our customers. So we took it really seriously. I think there is advantage in looking at regulation and what regulation is trying to do from a framework perspective, from the conversation on a cross-station perspective, and how technology can leverage and can help a financial service institution whether you're a fintech or a bank or an insurance company to fulfill your obligations.

Koen Vanderhoydonk:

So then you become a REC tech.

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

Kind of Kind of yeah.

Koen Vanderhoydonk:

That's my cup of tea. Actually, on the website, I noticed that there is an interesting update around collaboration between NVIDIA and Accenture. Can you tell us a little bit more? Because workflow and AI that's like a perfect mix.

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

Oh yeah, so that's one of the many collaborations that we're establishing. I think that for us, the way that we look at Generative AI, it is one of those things that we believe is going to change the conversations for a financial institution in the way they are doing their job. So the NVIDIA collaboration, particularly, it is meant to be so that we can bring even more computing power to what we are doing. At the end of the day, Generative AI is a lot about data, how you connect the data and how you create the data. So the more data you have, obviously the capacity that you need to be able to manipulate that and to make some sort of outcome with profit. It is exponential. So that's one of the ideas. One of the investments that we're doing is this collaboration with NVIDIA, so that they are giving us the power to compute and we are providing our customers the capacity to workflow around all of that so that when you have the data and you have the capacity, you can decide.

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

You could be exploring areas, for example, around code to text. So the system is going to be able to provide our developers suggestions on the applications they are building for them to correct, publish or maybe change completely. We are looking at the capacity of this technology to summarize the conversations that we're having with customers so that it is easier for them to bring up all the information they need at any point given. We are looking at the capacity of these kind of technologies to even suggest what kind of workflow you should be building. I want to create a workflow that helps me with payment operations for example.

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

So the system to suggest, based on best practices and based on the learning, what should be the necessary steps and the necessary tasks between each of those steps. That's what we are looking at and that's why, for us, it's so important. This collaboration with NVIDIA it's not the only one. We've also signed up with Cognizant and other partners.

Koen Vanderhoydonk:

Also about AI.

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

Everything AI and Generative AI. We are calling it the AI Lighthouse Project, where we are looking at companies and we are looking at financial institutions that also want to be part of the initiative, whereby, well, we are all bringing to the table what we do best. We have these partners. They can be a full computation capacity, but we also want our customers to be in the journey with us to collaborate to create new use cases, to see where we are going with this technology.

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

At the end of the day, what we are really looking to is how we can best serve the kind of ecosystem and universe it's one of many. We've been very serious about the AI and what we're doing. We have our own models. We're also exploring how we can build new models with the help of our customers in co-creation type of mode and with these providers that are obviously helping us to expand the capacity of the platform.

Koen Vanderhoydonk:

Taking it back a little bit. Then back to the regulation part and AI. That has a lot to do about it. Ai for good, for example. How does your company look at that?

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

Well, obviously we take very seriously anything that has to do with regulation and the perception of AI is good or bad for a business. I think that there is also a big conversation about particularly in this space with banks and so on and so forth what's going to happen with my data right, if I am giving data to the bank and the bank is using these type of technologies? Is my data going to be safe? Is it going to be used for a good use, and so on and so forth. I think one of the things that we've done is to publish our responsibility AI Act on how we go about it with transparency, how we use the data when we are looking at AI, and also the other thing that we do, as we have done with other regulations, is what's happening in the different markets and how we can abide to the regulation.

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

So we are quite close to the AI Act here in the EU and what it means for us, and I think it's just a learning journey for many of us when it comes to regulation in AI. Because I think that there's three things that we have to look at when we are looking at regulation in AI. The first one is speed. Ai seems to be faster than regulation is coming, so how can we collaborate with these institutions, regulation authorities and supervisory authorities to gain flexibility and speed on?

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

what we are trying to do. Second thing is what do you want to regulate? Because it's not the same to regulate, for example, for the video game that you should be regulating for a chat, but there is providing you help with your bank account.

Koen Vanderhoydonk:

Completely different ballgame.

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

Exactly. And the third one is who is going to regulate the lab? It is going to be just a supervisor authority. It should be some sort of high responsibility between software companies working on AI together with the governments, together with the supervisors authorities.

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

I think there's a combo there that is not yet solved. We're all in a journey, but I think it's quite interesting how we are looking at it from a GU perspective. There's kind of a framework, and based on that framework and the risk that it should expose you to when using AI, I think it's very clear how the framework will ask us to act and to put the remediation or to give the explanations behind the kind of technology we're using.

Koen Vanderhoydonk:

We're almost to the end, so I was wondering DFS is coming in December, a large event here in Belgium. What are you expecting from the event?

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

I think we're expecting a lot. We're expecting a lot of collaboration, we are expecting a lot of inspiration and see where the fintech business is going. I think that we're all talking a lot about open banking, open finance. We're also talking about embedded finance, the world of payments. So I think that we are looking to connect, to collaborate, to embrace new ideas and to support as well, because, at the end of the day, we are a ecosystem and I think that is benefiting in partnering with companies like ServiceNow to explore and expand what we can do with those kinds of capacities. We're all about integration and bringing in new technologies like blockchain or anything that is new around payments or embedded finance, and how we can leverage that new innovation that is coming to the market. So high expectations about all of that.

Koen Vanderhoydonk:

That's good, we all have. But that leads me nicely into my last question. You talk about ecosystems, but ecosystems only exist if there's more people. So how can people actually enter the ecosystem? How can people contact ServiceNow?

Noelia Romanillos Arribas:

Well, one thing is quite easy. They can come to our website, wwwservicenowcom. They can contact our colleagues here in Belgium my colleague Geroz and Swilans at servicenowcom. We'll be very happy to support our customers, and I think we are there. We're in many forums. There's lots of information out there. There's lots of nice videos and podcasts like this. So I think that if people hear that we're just asking them to approach us and to have a conversation about how we can help them with more seamless conversations with their customers, Nualia, thank you so much for joining me in this podcast.

Koen Vanderhoydonk:

Thank you also to the listeners and wish you a very good day and stay tuned for more news and more updates around DFS in December 2023. Thank you very much.