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Global Fintech Interview with Mogens Helmuth Pedersen, CTO at Basware

Global Fintech Interview with Mogens Helmuth Pedersen, CTO at Basware

Mogens, we’d love to hear more about your journey and role as CTO at Basware? How has the platform evolved over the recent past to serve user needs in a more optimized manner, what immediate future applications/features are being planned for the platform?

I have always had a passion for putting best-in-class software and services into the hands of customers, leveraging technology as a means to an end, so my journey to CTO happened very organically. I joined Basware and the Executive Team in September 2020 from SimCorp, a provider of integrated investment management solutions, where I worked in multiple senior leadership roles, primarily within R&D and Architecture, for more than 25 years. My latest role was Head of the Cloud Centre of Excellence at SimCorp HQ in Denmark. Now as Chief Technology Officer at Basware, I oversee the Basware R&D and production departments where I have the pleasure of working with hundreds of highly skilled professionals around the world.

At Basware we strive to bring our customers solutions that enable an efficient and highly automated handling of purchase-related activities. We are continuously exploring ways to leverage technology to streamline the workflows in our offerings and provide enhanced transparency and new data-based insights, allowing the AP users to work more efficiently. This efficiency frees up time for the end user to optimize the business – as opposed to just run it.

Recent examples of improvements are creating a new working environment for our AP professional users; the introduction and continuous expansion of our Data Platform and associated Analytics; as well as our SmartPDF AI solution that allows us to fully automate the handling of unstructured PDF documents, which are still very much in use in many locations around the world.

Similarly, we strive for automation and operational efficiency in our own operations where we constantly improve by treating all deployments, infrastructure, configuration, etc. as code. This allows for the needed technical agility, a prerequisite for implementing changes from customer needs/requirements, regulatory changes, etc.

Can you share a few thoughts on how e-invoicing and procure to pay solutions still need to evolve further to meet lags in the industry (based on the current challenges that business users still face)?

Digitalization in the networked AP automation space is developing. The industry has moved from basic handling capabilities into applying rule-based automation whereafter you only need to deal with the exceptions.

The next step is certainly applying technology to the exceptions as well. The overall idea is to enable AI-based technology to investigate patterns and anomalies that would automatically suggest changes to configurations or flag for the appropriate manual intervention. Our goal is to have technology in place that minimizes the time spent on AP work while also allowing for the best possible decisions.

Furthermore, we should in the industry expect more legislation pointing towards e-invoice adoption. Systems need to be ready for this trend and be agile when it comes to the changes in need of functional, configurational or operational character. Needless to say, those changes must be introduced while an organization is still fully in control of the stability and integrity of services already running.

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From the global fintech / invoicing software marketplace: which are some of the top platforms you’ve come across in this space?

Instead of naming specific platforms, I’d like to describe the characteristics of global fintech/invoicing platforms that I predict will have long term success in this space:

– Systems need to become increasingly adaptive. In other words, less use of rule-based configurations and more focus on self-learning, guiding the user based on ML and AI models. Systems should suggest amendments — if need be — to incoming data to secure continued processing and recover seamlessly from operational hiccups.

– Systems should enable the AP professional user to shift focus way from daily processing and allow them, based on data and analytic capabilities, to help increase efficiency in the business. Analyzing and understanding characteristics of suppliers and invoice flows will lead to significant opportunities to streamline and optimize the business.

– Systems must be changeable and provide needed business agility – still at the right quality though.

As payments solutions and point-of-sales solutions further evolve to streamline various facets of business use, how are you seeing leading teams innovate these processes more effectively, a few learnings that our readers can benefit from?

Leading teams will secure proper collaboration with all relevant stakeholders to stay on top of innovation. They will actively seek input from customers, prospects, regulators, standardization bodies, etc. They will establish processes for working around prioritization to ensure that the best and most valuable ideas are implemented.

Innovation really does come from anywhere, so teams need a firm structure. From a technical point of view, leading teams will work to secure and optimize the underlying platform – the engine that brings the services to the end user. The engine needs to perform, scale and create a consistent experience. It needs to protect data in the best possible way, and it needs to be 100% digitalized.

Teams should increasingly apply the use of monitoring, logging, AI/ML models, etc. to allow for maximum uptimes and continued hardening activities.

Ultimately, leading teams will be guided by a shared vision: operate business processes fully hands-off.

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As global fintech trends change and the market shifts due to business environments (and also Covid-19), what are your comments on the state of fintech in 2021 and beyond?

The global pandemic has certainly accelerated the trend towards business process automation (BPA). It has become quite clear that some companies will come through the pandemic better than others; the level of digitalization, automation and focus on business continuity requirements are certainly key to how well a company has performed during Covid-19.

Many companies during 2020 decided to make large investments into BPA as the need became evident, and some companies have, achieved ‘5 years of digitalization in just 5 months,’ which has become a popular phrase.

Certainly, fintech is part of the solution towards more resilience and robustness going forward – we all see that even more clearly now.

Before we wrap up, a few top thoughts you’d share as a tech innovator in the industry, in terms of what creators need to keep in mind when revamping products and features?

Of course, any solution needs to fulfill the requirements of the customers and users.

If you are changing underlying technologies, you have a great opportunity to also rethink the functionality and the UX. Make sure that you have the needed ability to integrate with other enterprise cloud solutions that your customers use. Very few solutions and services can be successful in isolation.

Make sure you think about the non-functional requirements. How can you improve the availability, (self)-serviceability and/or monitoring/analytics capabilities to allow the users with the insights to gain more knowledge about their business?

Likely, you will also need to rethink your feedback approach all the way from ideation to end user adoption. Consider the use of microservices, where possible, to allow for proper isolation and separation of concerns. Ensure that any change across functionality, quality assurance, release deployment, infrastructure provisioning and scaling, service provisioning and related configuration is done by software changes. Any manual steps in this layer will not bring the needed agility to your business.

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Thank you, Mogens ! That was fun and we hope to see you back on globalfintechseries.com soon.

Mogens has a passion for putting best-in-class software and services into the hands of customers, leveraging technology as a mean to an end. As Chief Technology Officer, he oversees the Basware R&D and production departments where he inspires hundreds of highly skilled professionals around the world.

He joined Basware and the Executive Team in September 2020 from SimCorp, a provider of integrated investment management solutions, where he worked in multiple senior leadership roles, primarily within R&D and Architecture, for more than 25 years. His latest role was Head of the Cloud Centre of Excellence at SimCorp HQ in Denmark.

BASWARE

Basware is the only procure-to-pay and e-invoicing solution provider that empowers businesses with 100% spend visibility through 100% supplier connectivity and 100% data capture. Our cloud-based technology enables organizations to fully manage their spend, mitigate financial risk and reduce the cost of operations via automation. With the world’s largest open business network and an open technology ecosystem, we are uniquely positioned to deliver the solution required for Visible Commerce, which provides customers with complete transparency into all the flows of money, goods, and services around the world. A global company, Basware has offices in 14 countries and is traded on the Helsinki exchange.

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