Editor’s note: Dan Cobley, a former managing director of Google in the UK and Ireland and current managing partner at FinTech, will deliver the opening keynote address at ISACA’s EuroCACS 2017 conference, which will take place 29-31 May in Munich, Germany. Cobley visited with ISACA Now about the fintech industry, lessons learned from his time at Google and how to translate a science background into business success. The following is an edited transcript:
ISACA Now: From working with financial tech start-ups, what are some emerging technologies you see as having the most potential to take off in the next 3-5 years?
One, smart biometrics in place of passwords. Fingerprints, eye scans and voice biometrics are all being widely used.
Two, chatbots to deliver engaging customer service and user dialogs. The coaching chatbot used by the UK’s ClearScore is a great example.
Less visible but more powerful is the use of machine learning and AI to optimise everything from product recommendation to automated service query response to credit underwriting. And very promising, but not yet mainstream, is the use of blockchain technology to improve the efficiency and security of many financial processes.
ISACA Now: What are some takeaways that stand out from your time as managing director of Google in the UK and Ireland?
The big organisations Google was working with find it really, really hard to move with the pace that digital transformation requires. That's why I now enjoy working with smaller start-ups so much. We always overestimate the pace and impact of new technology in the short term but underestimate it in the long term.
ISACA Now: You have a strong background in physics but went on to have great success in marketing. What advice might you give people with strong scientific or technical backgrounds who would like to make an entrepreneurial leap but lack confidence in their ability to communicate their ideas to business leaders?
A scientific background should give you three great advantages:
- You get numbers and the value of data.
- You have a curious, enquiring mind that seeks the truth.
- You understand the importance of experimentation and using testing to learn.
These three attributes are increasingly important to marketers and to business leaders more generally in this increasingly technology-driven world. By using these tools, scientists will be able to hold their own with any MBA!