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IGNITE Innovation in Ireland

Emmet B. Keeffe III | April 22, 2018| 1 min. read

The Insight IGNITE Innovation Roundtable Series provides C-level IT leaders from large global companies the opportunity to learn, network with peers and engage with emerging software market leaders. For our March event, IGNTIE hosted an inspiring group of technologists to The K Club in Ireland.

Day 1



Accelerating Digital by Opening Up the Platform 

To start the event, we heard from Paul Walsh, SVP of of Platform and Strategy at Visa on how opening the platform has unlocked digital innovation for Visa.

Visa has opened its platform and API so “outsiders” can develop apps to work with Visa. For example, automaker Bentley has built a payment system into the car, allowing the car to essentially function as a payment device. No need to “pay at the pump,” since payment happens automatically. Opening and partnering is key, says Walsh. Visa now has thousands of apps in the pipeline. 

Visa is sponsoring Formula E event series and will be looking at ways to be eco-friendlier. Paul Walsh will be speaking at the Insight IGNITE Innovation Roundtable in Napa 10th – 12th June 2018 if you’d like to join us to learn more about how various industries can implement Visa’s strategy.

Rationalizing Today's Geopolitical Environment

Nick Allan, CEO, Europe and Africa at Control Risks led the next presentation by saying, “Digital Transformation comes with political consequences -- the very concept of government has been disrupted, because of platforms like Facebook." Governments around the world feel the threat of Digital Transformation and the result is instability. The same thing will happen to corporations that do not take digital transformation seriously.  Consider: Uber is banned in Frankfurt because of regulations and legislation in the taxi industry. Allan urged everyone at the event to reread “1984” and take note of all the predictions that have already come true, or soon will. 

Day 2


digitisation of ireland

The Digital Transformation of Ireland and Irish Unicorns

“A good strategy is what will navigate leaders through a crisis,” says Maeve Dineen, Chair of Ireland's Financial Services Ombudsman Council. Ireland has gone through a number of financial crises, and a strategy conceived of in the 1950s is what steered the country through the most recent banking crisis. A fundamental part of the strategy that was set up decades ago was to make Ireland a Tech Hub. The government established the National Management Asset Agency (NMAA) which was pivotal in the turnaround. There’s now a framework in place to lead the country through 2040. Ireland is the fastest-growing economy in the EU and the country has staked its claim as an innovation hub and a place to find tech talent.

How Fast Can You Move? Leveraging the Cloud to Accelerate Digital

The second presentation of the day was given by Thomas Curran, Innovation and Technology Advisor at Deutsche Börs who stated, “It takes enormous vision to survive digital disruption. If you want to attract partners like Amazon, you can’t walk or crawl – Amazon will yawn. But in order to be able to run, leaders must choose to work with people who have a big vision for cloud strategy."

If you’re working in an industry where digital is core, you have to work with people who understand the process: from conception to deployment. If leaders don’t understand that process, they should not be running the business. Creating a successful tech product is like panning for gold. You have to sift through a lot of dirt and silt in order to find the valuable nuggets.

Competing in the Jungle: The Future of Digital Retail

Ultimately digital is just one of many channels – don’t make the mistake of spinning it out as something separate. This was a driving point made by our third presenter, Paul Coby, former CIO at John Lewis. The way Coby’s team got behind the company’s digital transformation was by making it a mission.

Purpose beats technology and communities still matter, even in a digital world. Four insights for the omnichannel future: must be seamless and frictionless across all channels; “pretty” front-end online and mobile are useless without backend technology and supply chain excellence; you have to manage the whole business as a single entity, and digital-driven innovation matters in a world being changed by technology. Successful digita transformation requires leadership, discipline and execution.


Leveraging FinTech for Banking and Regulatory Compliance

In the absence of data, the machine can’t learn.  Spencer Lake, Vice Chairman of Fenergo and Board Director at nCino, led a discussion centered on this belief. 

We heard from three Insight portfolio companies doing AI: 

  • Recorded Future looks for threat intelligence.  Humans can’t do it. They look for threat chatter.
  • Cylance leverages AI to protect the end point. Now the machine can protect the end point.
  • Darktrace – leveraging AI inside the enterprise looking for what the bad guys can find.

These companies are using AI to pinpoint threats before they become catastrophic issues.


Board Members are Mentors, Not Tormentors

The final session of the event was a fireside chat between Insight Managing Director, Hilary Gosher, and Catherine Bradley, who has experience at Peugeot and FCA

During the conversation, they emphaized that board members are mentors, not tormentors. It’s important for board members to go into a business to understand how it works. The boards role is not to drive digital transformation but to set the agenda and make sure the right people are installed to lead and follow through. You can’t ask too much of the board: They are there to check methods, check governance. Ultimately, the board is responsible for assessing risk and providing top down support.  

What's Standing in the Way of Digital Transformation for Large Companies?

Digital transformation means something different for every industry, but there are two things standing in the way of successful transformation for large companies: legacy technology and legacy culture. Opening platforms accelerates digital transformation and establishing partnerships is key. At upcoming events there will be many more leadership discussions about legacy barriers and how they affect business.