Georgia Fintech Academy

S2-Episode 8: Suneel Tummala, LEAN IT - FIS Global and Dennis Williams, Georgia State

April 01, 2021 Georgia Fintech Academy Season 2 Episode 8
Georgia Fintech Academy
S2-Episode 8: Suneel Tummala, LEAN IT - FIS Global and Dennis Williams, Georgia State
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Georgia Fintech Academy
S2-Episode 8: Suneel Tummala, LEAN IT - FIS Global and Dennis Williams, Georgia State
Apr 01, 2021 Season 2 Episode 8
Georgia Fintech Academy

Suneel Tummala leads LEAN IT efforts for FIS Global. Dennis Williams is student at Georgia State focused on creative media while also starting a financial literacy fintech company. This discussion explores LEAN and how this approach helps FIS creating better customer and employee experiences.

Show Notes Transcript

Suneel Tummala leads LEAN IT efforts for FIS Global. Dennis Williams is student at Georgia State focused on creative media while also starting a financial literacy fintech company. This discussion explores LEAN and how this approach helps FIS creating better customer and employee experiences.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Georgia FinTech Academy podcast. The Georgia FinTech Academy is a collaboration between Georgia's FinTech industry and the university system of Georgia. This talent development initiative addresses a massive demand for FinTech professionals and give learners the specialized education experiences needed to enter the FinTech sector.

Speaker 2:

Hi everybody. This is Tommy Marshall , the executive director of the Georgia FinTech Academy. This is season two episode eight of our Georgia FinTech Academy podcast. And today I have Suneel Tamala of FIS and Dennis Williams from Georgia state. Joining me for a discussion on FinTech technologies. Lean it, send you land and more. Welcome Suneel and Dennis, it's great to have you here with us today. Thank you. Thank you, sir. Good to be here. Uh, Cineo , let's start intros with you. If you don't mind, tell us about you , um, your career journey. I know you've got some connections to Georgia. Um, give us that story.

Speaker 3:

All right. Well, well thank you very much for , uh, for having me on the program today. Uh, certainly start off with , uh , you know, a really early age , um, you know, love computers, technology, and , uh, you know, my father worked for IBM, bring home computers , uh, really got computers in our household , uh, at an early age , uh, ended up dissecting them, you know, taking them apart, building software for them, putting them back together. Sometimes they'd work . Sometimes they wouldn't , uh, realize that loved computers and , uh, also realized I wasn't very happy with the Colt . I grew up in upstate New York and , uh, Georgia tech was , uh , was calling. So George Tech's , my Alma mater give a shout out to those folks that are listening. I , uh , graduated with a computer engineering degree , um, back in 1997 , um, live and love Atlanta for the few , the , the food, the vibe , um, great food and , uh , certainly the ability to travel almost anywhere direct , uh, give a shout out there for , uh, for Delta making , uh , Atlanta they're a hometown hub and , uh, allowing us to get anywhere in the world , uh, from Georgetown , uh, graduated and ultimately found myself trying to figure out what I wanted to do. Uh, figuring out where I wanted to go was, was a little bit more difficult than I thought, you know, there was certainly a lot of technology companies at the time. Um, I understood that I really wanted to actually take my next steps and learning and understanding the business side. So I ultimately joined a consulting firm, one of the big four at the time. Um, and from there I moved around literally just absorbing information at the speed of light , uh, working through the organization , uh, working from, from client to client , um, and got the opportunity to work internationally , uh, realize of course that , uh, you know, it was a little difficult , uh, to maintain where I wanted to be friends, family , um, and came back to the States , uh, that was basically right around the, the tech startup , uh, uh, timeframe , uh, worked on a technical startup , uh , voiceover IP technology for commercial real estate. Um, the good news is, is that , uh, they had really pushed hard , um, doing so many things, wearing so many different hats , uh , learning about how business actually works working with , uh , the technology parts of it. Uh, and after that was successfully sold off , uh, went and joined some friends , uh, working at a company called web tone technologies. Uh, from there I was doing technical management and project management , uh, and right along that way , uh, surprisingly enough when Tony got acquired by FIS, so little knowing of, of Fs at the time , uh , big financial services company , um, and ultimately goes through a very large number of acquisitions year after year , uh , picking up their ancillaries, filling out their portfolio to , uh, to help , uh, deliver payments and , um, and banking solutions to their customers. Uh, and then , uh, kept growing from project management on to , uh, to delivering, you know, multi-million dollar , uh, initiatives , uh, managing hundreds of resources , uh, working , working both domestically within the United States. Uh, and I had some opportunities to work internationally as well. Uh, from there , uh, realized I can want to get on the road working so much internationally, certainly wears on me and my family. Uh, and then I shifted over to work on what we call lean it , uh, and , uh, I direct also the, the automation intake. Uh, so with all those acquisitions, we have carried on a lot of baggage , um, and it really needed to optimize our processes and get us ready for the digital revolution or transformation and , uh, in building automation to get our stride. So a little bit of a background on myself, where I am, how I got to where I am today , uh, and look forward to our conversation. Great. Thanks Neil . And what I want to come back to lean Ikea in a second. Uh , but Dennis want to hear from you, tell us, tell us about you.

Speaker 4:

Um, well I'm a student at GSU. I'm a junior currently studying media entrepreneurship with the goal of using data science and process innovation to , um, drive my businesses forward in terms of process innovation for financial technology at heart, I'm a creative , um, I do music production, I do animation. That's a way of expression. Um, I have a company in called dynamo Desperado where I do commercials for , um, companies at large, and currently I'm working on another platform called simulation where it's designed to teach Caribbean children, how to grow a stock portfolio, how to allocate and diversify it for different , um , companies and entities. And it's going to be a fun game where you can basically learn how to grow it with a simulation game with virtual reality and augmented reality. Awesome.

Speaker 2:

Well , it's , uh , I, I'm so excited to have you , uh, engaging with the FinTech Academy because we , as I mentioned to , as in , in the prep, we've been , um, then evolving our relationship as the Georgia FitDeck Academy with the creative media industries Institute at Georgia state, which I know you're heavily involved with. Um, and that, that , uh, that, that, that Institute it's right across the street from the FinTech Academy. And then , um, you know, I have a colleague in the university system called Jeff [inaudible] . Jeff is the executive director of the Georgia film Academy. Um, and so he and I have been having several conversations where we get super excited about these intersections, which you are approved point of , uh, between FinTech and media. Uh, and there's , uh , I think you're proving that we just need to be Mo Jeff and I need to be moving faster. We are getting a programmatic , uh, uh, efforts underway to help support you as an entrepreneur, as , uh , someone who's helping drive , uh, ideas and innovation , uh, at this intersection between financial services and , um, and creative media. Um , the, the thing that , um, I, I, I want to talk with you more about , um, is this the piece because I've been really focused on is around gaming , uh , cause it's been just for me , uh, I get into these environments, whether it's Fortnite or Minecraft, et cetera, and they're very, you know, rich , um, you can, I can just start, begin to see different financial services opportunities. There's of course financial services going on inside these apps, if any of you are , uh, getting your XP points or you're wanting to buy XP points or whatever the different , uh, capabilities are, there's , uh, you know, digital currency being exchanged , uh , or bought , um, in very real ways today immediately. But , um, you know, it's trying to find these other intersection points. Um, so great to have you thanks so much for being part of this today, did this discussion, they Dennis , um, so , so Neil , maybe we , um, kind of start with , uh , lean it at FIS and, you know, T tell us more about what that, that means , um, for, for the organization and, and how you're helping , um, so many different , uh, products and service capabilities , um, really unlock greater levels

Speaker 3:

Of value. And let me break that down into kind of two components, right? What is lean , um, and then how , uh , how do we apply here at FIS , uh, you know, lean started with , uh, the manufacturing , uh, and trying to figure out how you can manufacture , uh , items cheaper, faster , um, ultimately the lean principles of, you know , eliminating waste , uh, um, going ahead and figuring out how you can , um, take on an item as late as possible. So you don't have inventory , uh , that's not being used , uh, delivering those as fast as possible , um, and , uh, ultimately optimizing the whole cycle. And then we have the other component that goes right along with lean is actually utilizing six Sigma. So we both have the lean techniques and the six Sigma methodology where we define the problem. We measure the problem, we analyze it and we figure out how do we improve it? And then we go ahead and , and ultimately repeat that cycle and put the controls in place for us to measure the success. So that's the fundamentals of lean it in , in six Sigma. Uh , we ultimately also apply, you know, business process modeling and mapping , um, as part of our processes. Um, and I'll define later on how we, how we feed that in from an agile cycle so that we , uh, deliver in minimum viable products . So Mbps , uh, in order to realize the benefits as soon as possible. So a process may have 10 steps in it. We break down those 10 steps and if we find out step three can be automated all by itself. We go ahead and automate step three. And before you realize the benefit of the full end to end, we can take off the components now lean, it works across our organization. So we're structured . That goes across all of the components, even though it's now called lean it, or ultimately a team that works across the , uh, uh, the organization in many different stakeholders. So not just within the CIO organization anymore , um, but we help our stakeholders identify, eliminate their waste. And we do that through value streams , uh , understanding the , the point at which a client or our internal customers request something and one of the steps in order for it to get delivered. And in order to do that, we really have to transform the organization first standardized. We have to streamline the process. Yeah , you've got to use an agile approach to go ahead and deliver automation on top of that. So taking those lean fundamentals, applying six Sigma form, a, a metrics and a validation standpoint, and then we can go ahead and contribute back to the organization, improving quality for our delivery , um, speeding up our organization and its ability to execute. Uh, we can also provide a much better employee experience. I mean, how important is it that when you go ahead and put in a request five minutes later, you can go ahead and get a response that it's already been processed versus a paper process, or an email being sent to someone, and then they pick up the email and then they go take the action. And maybe it's a day, maybe it's a two to get it back. So the, and the digitalization of the process let alone the introduction of automation has taken us light years forward, so, so quickly. And all of that efficiency comes back to how do we utilize our human capital better? How can we provide them a lever for them to go ahead and grow the platform and grow their capacity and stay with the amount of growth that we need to accelerate and keep ourselves at the top of the pack of the financial technology industry?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And as a , I guess, as a reminder to the listeners , um , some of you are familiar with FIS, but if you're not, you know, FIS is , is really touching most, every part of the financial services industry value chain. And I think , uh, they're , they're major areas, banking solutions, payment solutions, capital market solutions. Uh, and then in each one of those, there are a myriad of very complex business processes that I guess in my view, are kind of, it's unending the opportunities to make them , um, more efficient and , uh, remove waste and improve. Um, and so I'm hearing you , uh, Cindy L saying your, your, your work that you do is really about enhancing those processes and every single one of those areas of , uh, of the business.

Speaker 3:

Absolutely. And further to that point, I mean, lean isn't a do once and you're done it is a continual process. So once you've gone ahead and optimize it, you can then go back and measure your success. You'll often find that you create new bottlenecks somewhere else in the process that you didn't realize that was going to become a bottleneck. I mean , if you think about the manufacturing line, you may find out that you're , you know , getting your tires on the car was, was what was taking you the longest amount. You put the tires on the car faster and sure enough, after it goes , uh, goes to the next step in the process, and maybe that's to go run a test on it, to make sure it's road worthy . Now you've got a bottleneck on how fast you can get it roadworthy and tested before it can get rolled out to a customer. So the bottlenecks continue to move as you optimize the process. And you try to go ahead and , and understand where the new bottleneck is and how you can optimize it and how you can go ahead. And in our cases , you know, apply , uh , you know , software automation to help smooth

Speaker 2:

The point you made around employee experience resonates for me as well. Cause I think, I guess when I think about if I asked , yes, there's very meaningful, powerful technologies that that FIS offers to the marketplace, but there's also the case with FIS where FIS people are running business processes on behalf of clients. So either, you know , they're doing customer service related, they're doing middle office back office , um , processes on behalf of clients. And so , um, if I'm, you know, an FIS poet employee trying to help run my client's process better , um, you I'm imagining that your team is , uh , is helping, is helping make that possible.

Speaker 3:

It is. So I always think of ourselves as a B2B and we're actually really a B to B to C. So we're a business to business, right? When you think of FIS, in fact, most folks don't actually know who FIS is, but the banks and the financial technology industry knows exactly who we are because we sell to the banks that want to go ahead and introduce their products. And they then expose our software to their customers . So that B to B to C , um , has many different interactions across the way where both our internal customers, our customers, we actually sell to let alone our clients have different experience along the way. And so we try to go ahead and improve them both on the employee experience, as well as our client , as well as their customers experience as

Speaker 4:

Well.

Speaker 2:

Uh, Dennis, I want to get you in here. Um, any kind of just reactions. Do you have any familiarity with lean , um, or just as you're listening to Smeal , are you like, wait a minute. I can understand what I'm talking about here. There's some of this , uh , is involved in your, like how you do your , um, your design and creative work.

Speaker 4:

Um, I can understand what he's saying. Um, he's basically saying that he's focusing on innovating the processes of business to business interactions. And would you also like consider yourself on more of a business to consumers side as well? Like, like if you, if someone were to say, buy a share from a website that user interface experience, would you collect the data of how they would be, how they would like the site or what they didn't like about the site and how it can make it better? Like the point of sale transaction process? I would say

Speaker 3:

I have a, an arm of our organization , uh , our merchant solutions , uh, essentially we call it FIS powered by Worldpay. Uh, and so Worldpay will do the transactions , uh, depending on the type of customer we'll work with, as you mentioned, you know , commercial services , uh, we will do business process operations for them. Uh, there's many , uh, you know , many processes that actually happened behind the scenes, but from a website perspective, a lot of our customers like to rebrand it, right? They want their , their logos, their look, their feel , uh, to be on the front end of their website. Uh, in many times they end up customizing it , uh, in many other cases for the , um, the community banks they'll they like to use our software, right. In order for them to, to go ahead and go quickly to market, continue to get updates from us, push to market that can be cutting edge in the financial services technology areas. They go ahead and simply just do a rebrand of, but it's our look in our fields. So when a customer says, I'm having a difficulty doing this on their site, that will get fed back into our cycle and we'll understand how to optimize or change the product , uh , in order to make it a better customer and user experience.

Speaker 2:

I guess I'd add to Dennis to your question. Um, you know, the, particularly these financial services providers, they're , you know, they're not selling t-shirts, but they're selling checking accounts or they're offering loans. And those are the products, right ? I mean, this , you know , I think about it and that, that, you know, if you look back over like the last 10 years of open it , just the opening account, opening an account, or even just the most simplest account, which can be like a checking account. Um, that is generally been not the most straightforward process. And I would say, there's been on a , you check me on this and you know , but there's like that area of account opening. If you can make that easier, shorten that time, remove friction, then the likelihood of having a very happy customer for your institution out of the gate with this new account goes up kind of exponentially. Uh, and you get the opportunity to sell them another account. Uh , but that's like, I know for me, snail, when I'm thinking of like, where I've been like big rock areas to , uh, improve and really delight customers, that account opening is one I'll always come back to it .

Speaker 3:

It continues to be, and I'd say a lot of that is actually outside of our control. I mean, there are a lot of regulations that need to take place. And so what you end up trying to do is how quickly can you get them to the inside of your application to look and feel like you've gotten your checking account, but you actually haven't gotten your checking account because all the background checks that KYC type checks the regulation that actually need to take place behind the scenes haven't cleared. And until those can clear through the federal government, then you can't actually have your checking account or your banking accounts, all the fully set up on the system. But what we can do is get you in, right, and get you in the door, know that you're set up, show you all of the knowledge materials that are available when you are enabled. This is what you will be able to do. And you can start all of the components that you would like to, you know , start that fund transfer in parallel with your account actually being cleared. Uh , so there's many things that have, and , and already are still being done in order to make that process more streamlined and easy for customers.

Speaker 2:

Two , did the regulatory aspects drive you crazy

Speaker 3:

Because some of the reporting is, is , uh , does make it more difficult. But I understand, you know, in , in the interesting world that we live in today and how fast you can move money around the world, there does need to be the right checks and balances put in place that need to be there around the process to verify that the people that are moving the large amounts of money around the, around the globe are who they say they are.

Speaker 4:

Yeah . Obviously ,

Speaker 2:

Dennis, any, any other, that was great question. Any, any other questions kind of coming to mind as you think, as you learn about this area of lean it

Speaker 4:

More so on the development side, what systems do you use? Do you use , um, something like value stream mapping to automate the processes or pull the system? What areas do you use focus ?

Speaker 3:

That's a great question. We have a large number of tools at our disposal. Um, you know , starting off with problem solving tools, you know, even, you know, things that don't require fancy tools, you know, fishbone diagrams, affinity diagrams, you know, continuing to ask the question why, why, why, and getting to the actual true source of where the bottleneck is in the, in the system, you know, taking a look at , uh, at the maps , um, then once we've understood the process, we can then overlay , um, the actual data into the process. So you can understand from a data flow perspective and you use , uh , you know , tools like mini tab or our power BI , um, our suite and Python help you turn over large sets of data and really spit out the information that's valuable for you to understand where the, where that bottleneck is in the system and what you need to address it. And then we'll use Microsoft tools, you know, business process modeling , uh , Vizio mapping out the flow, and then tying that into that value stream map that you mentioned. Um, and then we will go ahead and work with many different automation tools , uh, in order to go ahead and realize the benefits . So once you've streamlined the process and you , you figured it out and you understood what you , you are going to be able to realize from a better system perspective, we often work with, you know, the RPA tools or the intelligent automation tools, or simply just writing scripts that can go ahead and take data from point a to point B , um, faster, quicker, and the form that it needs to , uh, once it's been standardized,

Speaker 4:

It's basically just getting back to the why it's just using a different tool for different , um , scenarios,

Speaker 3:

Lots of my questions,

Speaker 2:

The wee , you'll be glad to hear any of that. Um, our suite and Python are heavily used in our FinTech , um, data analytics course that we offer through the, through the FinTech Academy. And we've been , um, you know, the students that engage with that course , um, just love getting to experience, get experience on those , um, those capabilities and start to figure out where they're they can be at how they can be applied.

Speaker 3:

I think one of the biggest things that , uh, that I'll, I'll say out here to our audience here is that it really quantifying and qualifying the opportunities makes it powerful, makes that data powerful and puts it in a form that your executive team can understand. Here's how much value I can receive at a part of removing that bottleneck, removing that waste from the system. And this is why we do what we do and how we're able to then take those learnings and constantly learn each and every new function and reapply what we've learned from the last team in saying, Hey, by the way, did you know, we went ahead and implementing something like this and another part of the organization, here's how we can apply that. So we ultimately build ourselves a very powerful toolkit or catalog along the way with the knowledge base, worth the ways to speed up delivery , um , and produce those minimum viable products that I mentioned earlier to our organization.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And I know that even, you know, half a minute order minute saves in a process when you're dealing with huge scale can be massive billions and millions and millions of dollars of , um , uh , save time are greater efficiency. Um, it's really remarkable.

Speaker 3:

Yeah . I think , uh , just pulling up here last year's numbers , um , processed over 40 billion transactions for 1.7 trillion in payment volume. So you're absolutely right. The faster we can handle those, those transactions, the faster that we can help , uh, through the payment process, as an example, the faster we can go ahead and realize the benefits ourselves as well as for our customers.

Speaker 2:

Um , yeah, it's, it's remarkable. It's critical. It's mission critical to , um , the ongoing growth of the, of the capability of the company. Um, DNS , um, tell us a little bit about, you know, is financial literacy simulation company you're , you're building, like how , how, how did this process come about? How did you get involved, interested in this area? Um ,

Speaker 4:

Well , um, I grew up in The Bahamas and I've always watched my grandmother worked very hard for, to sustain a lifestyle for us, for us. They'll go to me and my little brother to go to school. And when I came to the United States in 2015 , um, I met one of my now mentors, who's big on financial literacy. He taught me how to grow a stock portfolio and how to diversify and allocate funds to make a diverse portfolio. And every time I go back to The Bahamas, I realized that there's a gap in financial literacy. Where do you go over there? And I know , um, Jonathan Pender, he was on here a couple of times, and he was talking about how he wanted to start ocean pay, to make money transactions easier from The Bahamas to here. And me and him talked about it before about it being, you know, just a big gap in financial literacy, not being as big in The Bahamas. And I wanted to kind of create a game that's easy for. That's so easy that even a child can learn how to build a portfolio. And it's basically a simulated learning game that I'm developing to , um, let children understand what to look for in a company if they want to invest in it and what they want, sorry, and how to allocate their money towards a fund and to know which fund, whether it be a mutual fund , uh, they want to invest in a stock option and just to give financial knowledge to children.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, that's fantastic. And then the , uh , where do you stand with the creative process? Like have you built , uh , you know, Cynthia was mentioning in VPs earlier, like, have you gotten to that stage?

Speaker 4:

No, I'm working with a developer now on creating the actual app. I've been doing the artwork for it when designing the characters for it. Um , really designing the layout of it because I wanted to be In the realm of virtual reality, but still in the realm of an end game app that you can use on your phone or a tablet or a device that you don't necessarily need a headset, but I'm still working out those kinks with him.

Speaker 2:

Um, awesome. That's interesting. And , and I mean, I know you're on to something there, this, this question of , um, how to improve financial literacy comes up and it seems so many populations, of course, young people. Uh, but I guess it's part of, it seems to be a part of a broader , uh , really global conversation around financial inclusion of, you know, how, how to improve through educational techniques, like what you're building the , um, uh, financial literacy, knowing that if we can prove financial literacy, then we can get more people that aren't currently into the system, into the banking system bank . Uh , and then that of course begins to op unlock , um, greater social prosperity opportunities for individuals then is an uplift for, for all economies. Um, it's been exciting to see just an ever greater focus on that topic by , um, by all sorts of , um, of , uh, providers in the financial services space.

Speaker 4:

Yes, it's a , it's a really big , um, ask that we're trying to do, but it's kind of necessary. So even feel the markets in the Caribbean, because there's so much potential there that ball FIAR and our main like industries that are tourism , there's a lot of businesses over there with a lot of potential that they don't really know how to scale up. They don't really know how to make the money work for them. And I just want to give them a means to help them out any way, shape or form.

Speaker 2:

Mm mm . Yeah, no, it makes sense. And I, I know it's a different kind of scale and of thinking, but there's , uh , it sounds like there's some nuggets of like a lean process in there as you're, as you're beginning to work towards your , um, design development and creation of your design,

Speaker 4:

There's going to be, it needs to be a lot of , um, lean it involved because I'm still learning development myself. So,

Speaker 2:

No, that's great. Thank you. Um, scenario one kind of just other areas I wanted to explore was this, this, you mentioned it that a bit, but that intersection point between the Lena key process and automation , um, that, that handshake , I guess I think of it as sort of an handshake , um, you , you have a good example there of like you see the 0.3 of the template process and like, Oh, we can immediately automate that, automate it . Um, and, but can you say some more about , um, how that inner inner lock works , um, with , uh, with your teammates at FIS and yeah.

Speaker 3:

Uh , I'll drive it back to kind of the , the bigger part of the description of what we do , uh, when you define the process and you've laid out each one of the steps , um, I'll use an example where you may be sending an email to go ahead and have someone take action on it. You know, if that email can come in a standardized form, even if it is still an email, or if I can drive that to a self-service portal where I capture the information in the format, I need it to be, I can then go ahead and streamline that all the way through whatever the fulfillment process behind the scenes . So , uh, absolutely gathering the information upfront , uh , optimizing the process, standardizing streamlining the processes is where we want it is. I use the term , uh, more, mostly over here in the UK, you know, rubbish in rubbish, out or Dharma and garbage out. You have to clean up the front end of the process first. And you also have to understand the big picture because you may be just saying, well, why is that customer, you know, asking for it? You ask the why's and said, well, I'm asking for it because actually the system way upstream is actually broken. And if that system had gone ahead and taken care of it for me, then I wouldn't be actually putting in this request. So there may be complete process avoidance, if you can go ahead and fix maybe the system upfront. So a lot of those ended up being where does the automation needed to be applied? What steps in the process can we apply it to, and then go ahead and break that down into components that , uh, you know, we'll use that same term again, MVPs , you know, we're , can I go ahead and get instant value? And where are those bigger, longer term projects , um , that are going to go ahead and take some time for them to be able to realize a , so I get immediate benefit with quick wins. And then I also start taking a look at the bigger picture and how I connect these pieces end to end. And so, because we work across the organization, I'm not just in maybe one team doing the fulfillment. I can work with the development organization, or I can work with other parts of the, of the company to go ahead and solve the problem upstream. Um, and then, you know, maybe completely avoid the process in the first place or when it does come out of process one, it may go into process two in the format we need it to, and so automation can be applied much easier, but bigger than that, I'll take us a little bit of a different direction. Is, is that where this comes in is it's change. And you've got to have both a cultural transformation, as well as an actual change management plan around these in order to help the teams understand that we're , we're really there to upskill them, show them what all the new tools and automation can do, show them how they can grow with our organization, how we can foster the next set of innovation so that they understand what's available in their toolkit. So they can look at other processes and say, Hey, by the way, I can see something else that could is broken over here. And we will find more times than not teams themselves will identify for us opportunities and they'll continue to fill our pipeline. Uh, and in fact, we've got quite a, quite a bit of backlog because they're able to find those next set of opportunities and we can then work that through the process. So hopefully answering your question and also helping you realize how big it important it is, not just on the, you know, the FinTech part of it, but on the people side of it. And it really comes into play the cultural and the, the change management portion. Yeah ,

Speaker 2:

No, that makes total sense to me. And how important it is that the, you employees, other actors in the process are embracing the , the, the improvement changes. Um, because if that, if that's not happening, it just makes the job 10 X harder. Um, or you can , I guess in worst case scenarios, if people are fearful of the change, they be resisting the, the kind of opportunities for improvement and you want to of course , um, find ways to engage people and to change like we were mentioning. Uh, so that continuous , um , and ongoing, and then you ma I know , uh, we've had to the audience you'll remember , um, David Berglund was with us , uh, just a few podcasts episodes ago , um, uh, in early fab of this year 2021. And , uh , baby is the global head of artificial intelligence for FIS. And so as engaged in , um, helping execute on some of these automation approaches , um, that , uh, that's Neal's team it's , it's , it's generating , uh , awesome. Well, I want to pivot towards , um, industry news. That's caught our attention in the past week, so let's see. So, Neil , I think I'm going to let you start, what's caught what's, what's, what's grabbed your , uh, grabbed your attention , um, out there in the world last week from a FinTech standpoint,

Speaker 3:

The , the barrier of , uh , you know, a year since we've been in the pandemic. Uh , and so we're really starting to get your over year , uh, data. Uh, and so I'll start off with just, you know, noting that we've seen an incredible shift during the pandemic accelerating a growth into online payments. Uh, you know, some of the quoting numbers here, 30% reduction in cash e-commerce is skyrocketing by about 20%. We've seen a 50% of our purchases are now being made in a digital wallet. So, you know , contactless payments as an example , uh , and then we'll leave Dennis here with a product thought that we're actually seeing, you know, Bitcoin reach the , uh , the 50,000 level , uh, in , uh , just recently here. And, and , uh, I can next see where, you know, distributed ledger technologies , uh , are coming into play.

Speaker 2:

Yes. What about you?

Speaker 4:

I thought, I recently thought that Bitcoin was hitting the 60,000. It's getting close

Speaker 2:

10% a day. It seems right now, but that's a ,

Speaker 4:

Um, well, I , I've been looking into the NFTs recently as a creative. I love the fact that you can have more control over how you make money over your art. Um, recently , um, I saw that a sold their album as an NFT for like $2 million and they still get a salon fee as it keeps getting sold. So that's , I think that's an amazing like market, if you're, if you're into , uh , digital art, even if you're not digital art, you can still upload it as a, an actual like PNG and just upload it and sell it and still get as percentage for you as you keep on going even another artist the weekend, he says he's about to release a digital single as an NFT with exclusive artwork. So it's definitely a trend that's getting more and more attention from popular artists. And I think that it's an amazing trend.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, these are , um, non fungible tokens in Ft. And , um, I guess the big, I feel like it broke into all of our consciousness last, whatever it was two or three weeks ago when this artist people , uh, sold an NFT of , uh , of , uh , a piece of work that people had created for $69 million. And I think people's reaction as I understand it, it could can't be even quoted in the public space , um, because it was pretty, pretty extreme as it would be for me to , uh, the , uh, but I mean, amazing. I think, I think people's previous work had sold for like single digit thousands, and then all of a sudden, boom, you know, 69 million, Holy cow. So , um , really, it it's been very exciting. It's been fun to follow. Um, I guess there's been these, and then you were mentioning Dennis that you you're , you have some non fungible tokens that you've put out there. How many , um ,

Speaker 4:

I have three, I'm going to upload more. I've been creating the actual, the actual PNGs Tableau. Um, I've created about, say 120 that I need to upload, but so far I only have three.

Speaker 2:

All right . So, all right, listeners there's opportunity to buy three right there from, from, from Dennis Williams. Um, last news story , uh , will come from me. Um, this was very exciting for us locally here in Atlanta , uh, Greenwood bank, which is a new Denovo digital bank. That's focused on black and Latin X communities , um, closed their series, a funding round for $40 million. Um, this bank is , uh , being created by killer Mike, the con faintness , uh, Atlanta rapper , uh, along with , um, several other leaders in the, in the Atlanta community. Uh, and so it's just been, it's super exciting to see them close that round. It's been great to see him getting so much attention. Um, some of our truest , uh, ventures truest is a sponsor of the FinTech Academy. Truce was involved with , um, that funding round, as well as TTD capital. Uh, Sean Banks from TGV has been , um, also very engaged with the FinTech Academy, so, and a variety of others , um, that, that got involved in that , uh, first series a round. So, you know, big congrats to that whole green wood bank team , um, and, you know, be sure to follow them. Cause I, I, you know, their , their launch , um, is, is imminent in terms of opening up , um, capability for accounts and whatnot. Well, good. Well, I want to thank Suneel Dennis , both of you for this time. It's , uh , it's been great to spend some time with you , um, hear about these important topics and , uh, you are welcomed back at the Georgia FinTech Academy any time and , um, really appreciate it.

Speaker 1:

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