Team Spotlight - Financial Services
ADI Financial Services Team

Team Spotlight - Financial Services

Read how the unstoppable Commercial & Financial Services Team constitutes ADI’s excellence. Guy Sheppard's leadership insights await!

5 min read

At the deepest root of our company's success reveals a passion for problem-solving as our ultimate catalyst. This is the vision painted by Guy Sheppard, our Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). Shedding light on the team's journey, he shared the pivotal role of data science, the dynamics within his teams, and the outcome-driven strategies shaping ADI’s growth. Craving for more insights? Read on!

1. As the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) overseeing the Financial Services, Power, and Smart Cities pillars, can you provide a comprehensive overview of how these three industry pillars collaborate within our company? How does this approach contribute to our overall success?

Guy: We've gone through an evolution - transitioned from mirroring our conglomerate parent to becoming problem-centric, addressing challenges independently across sectors. Our journey involved refining hundreds of use cases, identifying unique capabilities and establishing the unique selling point (USP), the secret source of ADI. 

For instance, we've developed smart collection models to categorize delinquent customers and determine the best optimal communication method and timing. This approach, initially successful in the land business, which went across the banks, has now garnered interest from the power sector. Additionally, our pioneering work in alternative scoring has driven financial inclusion while managing risk, impacting the entire group. The scoring method is not only applicable to banks but also guides wholesale businesses in making decisions like payment terms, cash on delivery, cash on collection, etc. 

The secret to our success lies in our world's largest Petri dish of data, offering unparalleled access to data science innovation. It's not necessarily about having the best data scientists but leveraging our unique data access to create solutions previously unimaginable. We're now super focused on utilizing diverse data sets to solve problems creatively, such as scoring delinquent power utility bill payers. This enables us to provide scored leads to external lenders, addressing the issue of unpaid bills and extending financial support through bridging loans. This opens new demographic opportunities for lenders, showcasing the exciting potential of ADI in solving problems through data science.

2. Could you describe the team dynamics? How does each role contribute to successful project execution, and what strategies do you employ to ensure effective collaboration between these teams on complex initiatives?

Guy: The Sales Team functions as the engine room, requiring synchronized efforts for success. Our commercial cadence involves identifying winnable opportunities with a shared understanding and visibility in a unified pipeline. We celebrate successes, fostering awareness among colleagues about achievements and strategies. Recruiting individuals with a natural curiosity and problem-solving mindset is crucial.

Our focus is on problem-solving, addressing challenges common across industries, such as risk and fraud. We aim to be well-versed ambassadors, sharing the extensive capabilities of ADI tailored to diverse customer needs. The emphasis is on direct interactions with customers to comprehend their challenges and offer solutions, going beyond what a PowerPoint deck can convey. The goal is to help clients achieve their objectives more cost-effectively and enhance productivity, aligning with the shared belief that people are the most valuable resources, and their talents should be directed towards higher-value tasks. Effective collaboration ensures that we bring ADI's capabilities to the forefront and contribute to successful project execution.

3. What key initiatives have your commercial and financial teams undertaken recently? Additionally, can you share insights into the challenges both teams have faced and how they have successfully navigated through them, demonstrating adaptability and resilience?

Guy: Internally, a significant initiative involves managing a critical capability at the proof of concept stage. This initiative includes planning the product evolution, engaging potential partners, and proactively managing lending partnerships. The complexity arises from considerations like data protection, commercial success shares, and collaborative workflows across multiple organizations. This initiative is poised to be a game-changer in the Philippines, transforming how lenders identify new segments and enabling large corporations to meaningfully monetize their data, offering accelerated access to finance.

Externally, a challenging but progressing initiative involves collaborating with a multilateral development bank to establish a generative AI lab. This partnership, extending over three years, aims to release eight GenAI products annually. The significance lies in industrializing productivity-saving tools on an unprecedented scale, automating processes, facilitating knowledge retrieval across vast data sets, and transforming interactions with external stakeholders. This project is acknowledged as the most ambitious in the bank's Innovation Division, setting a new standard for knowledge-intensive businesses.

4. As a leader overseeing both the commercial and Financial Services teams, how do you envision the teams contributing to the advancement of creating a more financially inclusive, sustainable, and better world leveraging the capabilities of data services and AI?  What specific achievements or contributions from these teams make you particularly proud in terms of advancing our position in the AI and data services industry?

Guy: The Philippines faces challenges in financial exclusion and underbanked percentages, particularly among retail and micro to small mid-sized enterprise businesses. Our focus on financial inclusion and literacy aligns with making economies more resilient and stable. Through technology, we've facilitated financial education and inclusion for those without a banking history, supporting the entrepreneurial spirit of the Philippines. I am particularly proud of the alternative scoring models our team is developing. These models provide lenders with the confidence to extend financial products to underserved populations, managing risk while addressing the needs of retail and small to mid-sized enterprises.

An inspiring project involves partnering with Bixie, a women-focused financial literacy app, as part of the ADB Fintech Innovation Challenge. This initiative aims to provide scoring technology to women entrepreneurs in Nepal, showcasing our commitment to global financial inclusion.

On top of that, our research team is working on a project related to OSEC, addressing human trafficking and sexual exploitation in the Philippines. By developing a model to detect such activities through payment data interpretation, we plan to make this model open-source and freely available to Filipino banks. This endeavor reflects our commitment and aligns with our guiding principles toward social responsibility.

5. In building a high-performing Financial Services team and broader commercial team, what specific skills and talents are you currently prioritizing? How do these align with the unique demands of the financial services sector and our company's overarching goals?

Guy: We prioritize individuals with high levels of mental agility and adaptability, emphasizing problem-solving rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Our team members need to be highly intelligent, creative, and adaptable, understanding the diverse challenges customers face. Data science complexities differ across customers due to varied data sets, governance constraints, and perspectives on challenges.

The team includes creative salespersons who interpret problems, domain experts with specific knowledge in areas like credit, finance, and lending, and solution architects who piece together the puzzle. They analyze customer environments, propose solutions, and determine the resources needed for deployment.

Lastly, we have marketers who champion our initiatives and simplify complex messages for customers. Our focus is on proven outcomes, not just theoretical possibilities. We are outcome-driven, seeking individuals who obsess about achieving tangible results, whether they come from highly technical or relationship-focused backgrounds. This collaborative approach is what defines our winning team.

6. What advice would you offer to individuals entering the workplace or embarking on early careers with aspirations in Financial Services or commercial roles? How can they best position themselves for success in these dynamic and evolving sectors?

Guy: First off, congratulations on a great potential career choice. Second, call us. Third, when you get to the interview, be honest about what you can and cannot do. This is fascinating as an area for high growth. The industry is dynamic, the future is simply not written yet. If you have a desire to have a high degree of ownership, accountability, and are willing to push yourself, this could be the right company, potentially the right industry for you.

Closing the spotlight on the Commercial and FS team's impactful journey, we invite you to explore more of our insightful content. Visit ADI’s website to explore a wealth of blogs and articles that showcase how we make AI work for positive, customer-centric outcomes through a human-centric approach. Stay connected by following our social media channels (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram) and podcast (Spotify, Apple Podcasts). Let us bring you the experience of innovation in creating positive change!