On the lighter side of things, we ask Robin Smith, Regional VP North America, Mambu, what makes him tick.
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
Personally, it’s having raised three brilliant and successful children and having a very strong relationship with my family. Professionally, it’s having been part of a start-up core banking software company that we grew from zero to over 100 customers in five years and subsequently sold the company to Fiserv.
What first made you think of a career in technology?
In college, I worked full-time for a local family-owned business and the business owner and my mentor enabled me to engage directly with a local community bank to facilitate several special growth projects for the bank. This not only exposed me to the financial services industry in a meaningful way but to the technologies required to support the bank.
When an opportunity arose to join one of the pioneers in banking software development I jumped at the chance and never looked back. It was never really about the technology itself, but how the technology could be used to help a financial institution serve its customers better.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
My center point is across three dimensions – people first, being a student of the business and being a servant leader.
What do you think is the current hot technology talking point?
In financial services technology, it’s about all things digital as traditional financial institutions try and create customer experiences which are more like what we experience from the likes of Amazon, Netflix and Apple.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside of the office?
Not extremely well – but when I do it’s usually activities of any kind that involve family, being on the water in some way shape or form and golf.
If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be?
I would have stayed in the local, family-run business I started at while in college. It was a unique business which focused on service to others at a very difficult time in their lives and was some of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
As previously noted, digitization of traditional legacy processes to survive disintermediation and continue to grow.
What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in North America?
In the North American financial services arena, it all comes down to talent. Talent to keep legacy solutions operational and talent to build out next-generation offerings. Legacy solutions are generally built upon legacy technologies, such as Cobol, and schools do not turn out those kinds of folks anymore. The new talent coming into the market with advanced skills like Python is in high demand and there is a lot of competition for this labor pool. So, retaining talent and recruiting talent is the biggest driver.
What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?
The pandemic has completely changed our way of working. Face-to-face interaction is now the exception, not the norm. We’ve all had to adjust to this new realm of operating in a highly digital and remote workforce, adapting to new tools and new hours of working. The need for collaboration at all levels to operate profitably and efficiently is more important than ever.
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain a C-level position in your industry?
Regardless of your particular skill set, find a way to align yourself with the revenue and client-facing side of the business. For example, while you may be a technical savant of some type, find a way to align yourself with activities that drive revenue and growth for the business. This not only makes you valuable to your current employer but will always be valuable to future employers.Click below to share this article