Marco Argenti, CIO of Goldman Sachs, and Managing Director George Mathew delve into how AI is transforming the world of finance. They discuss building effective developer culture in the context of AI, how to decide which AI initiatives to prioritize to drive ROI, and the challenges, benefits, and safeguards required for enterprise-level generative AI.
These insights came from our ScaleUp: AI event in October 2023, an industry-leading global conference that features topics across technologies and industries. Watch the full session below:
Every company is becoming a tech company
Argenti believes that mastering technology and software is crucial for companies to be competitive in the current market. He shared his journey into finance, having come from a background in technology. He emphasized the importance of companies having a strong grasp of technology, whether they are traditionally tech-focused or not. “There used to be technology companies, and there used to be consumers of technologies in a way, right, and so providers and consumers of technology…kind of doesn’t make sense today anymore,” he said. “It would be like saying there are companies that work with data and companies that don’t.”
“Like every other company, we need to be mastering software and technology as well and as good as any technology company.”
He also argued that financial institutions like Goldman Sachs, while not being software companies per se, need to be as adept in technology as any tech company. “Like every other company, we need to be mastering software and technology as well and as good as any technology company,” he said.
Building with purpose is central to Goldman Sachs’ approach to technology
Argenti explained the concept of “building with purpose” that Goldman Sachs uses, which involves bringing technology and business closer together. This approach ensures that every developer in the company should be able to connect their work to a business objective.
“We’re really living and breathing with developers.”
“We’re really living and breathing with developers, and practically, that translates into…applying a little bit of the Amazon method that we introduced, which is…working backward from the customer, from the client methodology,” Argenti said. “Every single developer in the company should actually be able to draw an OKR sort of a line towards a business objective and then get measured on that.”
AI is transforming startups, ScaleUps, and legacy companies alike
Argenti discussed the potential of AI to transform even the most process-driven organizations, like Goldman Sachs. He speculated on the idea of AI being able to rewire processes depending on external prompts and needs, thus giving companies an unprecedented level of agility.
“We thought, ‘What if you could somehow do…what was done for infrastructure, which was equally rigid, or for networking, which was even more rigid — which was to virtualize it into infrastructure as software,'” Argenti said.
Complementing strengths and understanding weaknesses
For founders seeking to make their ScaleUps enterprise-ready, Argenti advised understanding what Goldman Sachs does not do well and finding ways to fill those gaps. He also emphasized the importance of ensuring the security and compliance of their technologies.
“For every bank, security and compliance are such a big deal…you need to know it; otherwise, you would simply not work with companies that are in this kind of space.”
“For every bank, security and compliance are such a big deal…you need to know it; otherwise, you would simply not work with companies that are in this kind of space,” said Argenti.