Interview

AITech Interview with Dan Higgins, Chief Product Officer of Quantexa

Learn how businesses can unlock hidden patterns, optimize processes, and detect financial crime with Quantexa’s game-changing products.

In today’s data-driven landscape, organizations face the challenge of effectively harnessing and interpreting vast and intricate datasets. Quantexa, a leading technology company, addresses this critical problem head-on by offering innovative solutions that empower businesses to extract meaningful insights, mitigate risks, and make informed decisions.

Leading the charge is Dan Higgins, the esteemed Chief Product Officer at Quantexa. With his visionary leadership and deep expertise, Dan spearheads the development and implementation of cutting-edge solutions that help organizations navigate the complexities of their data. Under his guidance, Quantexa has emerged as a trusted provider of game-changing products, leveraging advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

Through Dan Higgins’ strategic vision, Quantexa enables businesses to unlock hidden patterns and connections within their data. 

Scroll through to learn more.

Dan, please tell our audience a bit about yourself and how did you start out in the industry?

I always knew I wanted to work in the technology space. This is why I chose to study Technology Management at the Stevens Institute of Technology. While the major was not previously offered and it was brand new to the curriculum, the intersection of technology and computer science with business management principles still drew my attention. The ability to augment human creativity and the opportunity to solve some of the world’s most complex problems are among the factors that most fascinate me about our industry, and I wanted to be able to apply this to my career. After graduation, I began to build my career by growing my portfolio of experience across a range of technology and management consulting organizations including Arthur Andersen, Prudential Financial, Technology Solutions Company, and Oxford Solutions.    

I spent a huge chunk of my career at EY. It was here that I really learned what it takes to be a leader, serving across a range of leadership roles including Global Consulting Executive, Global Client Service Partner, Alliances Ecosystems leader, and various roles championing Diversity Equity, and Inclusivity.  

In my role as EY’s Global Technology Consulting leader, I was responsible for setting global strategy for the $5 billion business and helping secure strategic client relationships and wins. It was a pleasure to lead more than 40,000 client-serving technology, data, and cyber practitioners focused on helping deliver business transformation outcomes for EY’s clients. As a previous member of the Global Consulting Investment Committee, I also helped shape the firm’s platform, product, and asset strategy. Technology presents you with the space to be truly purpose-driven and empower people with the tools to make a meaningful impact beyond your core business.

I joined Quantexa because I realized there was a significant opportunity to drive long-term growth for some of the world’s leading organizations, working with some of the most talented minds in the industry. Quantexa’s commitment to its people is something that I am extremely proud of and it’s inspiring to be part of a culture that champions team-fueled innovation and leaves no room for egos at the table. It’s this ethos that enables us to challenge ourselves and empower our customers with the tools they need to continue to scale their businesses and make confident decisions at every level. 

Tell us about Quantexa and its distinct platform and solutions. How is it driving transformation for its clients?

At Quantexa, we work with organizations that have large data sets to ensure they can trust their data and make quicker and more informed decisions to protect, optimize, and grow. We have built a Decision Intelligence platform – powered by advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and contextual data analytics – to give our customers the ability to understand their data by connecting siloed systems and visualizing complex relationships. The result is a single view of data that becomes their most trusted and reusable resource across the organization.  

What sets Quantexa apart is our platform’s ability to continuously assess customer and counterparty activities in real-time – analyzing internal and external data at scale with 99% accuracy. Using advanced analytics, we’re able to automatically compile the most relevant and hidden connections, risks, and opportunities, providing a continual stream of relevant insights that maximize the value of data. In fact, our decision intelligence platform has matched one-trillion data records for customers worldwide across a range of industries including banking, insurance, and the public sector, helping them reduce false positives in detecting risk, identifying previously undiscovered growth opportunities, and making more informed and accurate decisions at every level. 

We’re on a mission to help our customers establish a culture of confident decision-making at strategic, operational, and tactical levels to mitigate risk and seize opportunities on their path to building efficient and resilient organizations.  

For example, we work with HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks. Each month, the organization screens more than 689 million transactions across 236 million accounts for signs of financial crime, culminating in a system with around 50 billion data points. Without Decision Intelligence technology, banks simply could not analyze records at the scale needed, or with the required context, to keep pace with fraudsters and inaccurate records.   

What are the major industries that Quantexa caters to? 

The most common use cases that we’ve been tackling to date include data management, know-your-customer KYC, fraud, risk, customer intelligence, and complex financial crime and regulatory compliance. This is one of the reasons why the demand for our platform is on the rise, as traditional approaches fall short and businesses find themselves increasingly in need of a reliable single source of truth within the organization.  

But the true beauty of our technology is that it can be used to solve a huge range of challenges that organizations face across all industries. We are often brought in to solve one specific problem using a dataset, however, it becomes clear we can solve many others once the single trusted data source is created. Oftentimes, these problems occur across multiple sectors. Our platform helps these varying organizations unify their data and transform decision-making. 

It’s not just about being able to integrate any source at scale and build a trusted data foundation, it’s also about being able to activate your data, reveal relationships and insights, and create stronger models. At Quantexa, we believe that Decision Intelligence can only be achieved when insights are transformed into impact which generates tangible business value. That’s why it is imperative to let users augment and automate decision-making for actionable insights to avoid these challenges.  

What are the vision, mission, and values of the company? 

When it comes to making the right decisions for your organization, more is possible with the right data, especially when we have narrowed in on the right context. The world today is complex and unpredictable, but at Quantexa we are committed to ensuring that we have a positive impact on the people we serve and the planet we inhabit. That’s why organizations turn to Quantexa to ensure that they can trust their data and make quicker and more informed decisions to protect, optimize, and grow. 

Our vision at Quantexa is for all organizations to have the ability to harness their data to uncover hidden risks and discover new opportunities. To use data for good across real-world problems. We do this by putting our DATA (determination, ambition, teamwork, accountability) to work – helping organizations big and small get stuff done, drive success, and do the right thing. 

The technology platform we’ve built is sustainable and scalable as part of an industry ecosystem: it evolves with the market. We work with Tier 1 organizations worldwide, like HSBC, and Vodafone, helping these businesses handle tens of billions of records. 

We commit to maintaining the highest standards of moral and ethical conduct as we work to drive sustainable, long-term value both within the organization and beyond it. The culture we have fostered here at Quantexa is something that we are all extremely proud of. And it is this, together with a shared vision, that will guide us on the path to reaching our goals. 

What’s the most exciting aspect of working in the data management sector? What does a typical day at work look like for you?

The most exciting part of the job for me is helping companies realize real business value – we do this by enabling them to establish a strong and accurate data foundation that is trusted and reusable across the organization. 

Because the truth is, organizations today are facing a data trust deficit. It’s not only undermining IT leaders’ best efforts to be data-led but also wreaking havoc for the organization by driving up costs, increasing risk, and causing indecision. At Quantexa, we actually put this theory to the test by asking 350+ Data and IT leaders across banking, insurance, and the public sector about whether their organization trusts its data. 

Remarkably, less than half of IT decision-makers believe that their entire organization has trust in their data’s accuracy. Solving this problem has never been more critical, as challenges around Know Your Customer, counter-fraud, risk, financial crime, and customer intelligence are multiplying at breakneck speeds, which is unsurprising when you consider that one in four decision makers (27%) do not think their organization is maximizing value from their data for varying reasons. It’s evident that there’s a very high ceiling for innovation across industries and a present need to combine high tech with clear insights for these companies to drive efficiency and scale. 

That said, there is no such thing as a typical workday for me, that’s one of the main things I love about my job. Of course, the role of Chief Product Officer involves setting strategies, goals, and expectations for our platform, and driving its execution to market. However, much like Quantexa helps connect siloed data points across the business, my role also interconnects across many areas, including acquisitions, alliances, professional services, delivery, and much more. It allows me to seamlessly integrate with my teams while maintaining a clear line of sight into the business, and honestly, it keeps things interesting. 

How are modern technologies continuously disrupting data management, customer intelligence, and risk and compliance sectors? How is Quantexa contributing to this disruption and aligning its offerings with the current trends?

The technology that will have one of the longest-lasting impacts is artificial intelligence. We’ve found over the past two decades that AI requires ‘context’ to make strong and reliable predictions and decisions. AI alone isn’t able to instantly automate all your decisions, but utilizing the right data, in the right context, with the resulting connections can make decision-making easier, quicker, and more informed.  

However, these areas of focus and application do vary by industry. For example, financial institutions are radically changing how they do business thanks to relentless competition from fintech startups that are threatening to siphon off customers and impact revenue. The insurance industry is under pressure to squeeze more value from its data to manage risk and offer more competitive products and services. When you look at public sector organizations, the focus turns to maintaining an ability to pivot in real-time to meet evolving challenges, such as effectively detecting and preventing fraudulent acts, securing borders, preventing terrorist threats, and other risks. All of these factors — coupled with the increasing pace of organizational decision-making, and the rapid availability and volume of data — are making it harder than ever to run efficiently and remain resilient.  

This essentially boils down to what Quantexa’s Decision Intelligence technology helps accomplish. By leveraging AI and ML-powered entity resolution and graph analytics, Quantexa is able to help organizations connect siloed data into a single reusable resource and automatically surface hidden and meaningful connections in the data. This lets us process relationships within the data – allowing decision-makers to see whether there is risk or opportunities.   

What has been your biggest challenge as a leader in the industry? How did you navigate it?

The rapidly changing nature of the tech industry can certainly create hurdles. As a leader, it’s my responsibility to help my teams keep pace by providing the support they need to level up into stronger, more dynamic professionals. In addition to building strong teams, the deployment of horizon-scanning and scenario-planning has proven essential. Not just for boosting organizational efficiency, but fostering ongoing innovation as well. Overall, I’ve found that planning with agility and adapting in the face of a rapidly changing environment will end up being your biggest competitive advantage. 

Being a leader, what do you picture the future of data management and security to look like?

The industry is undergoing a tremendous upswing. AI is poised to take off with the perfect confluence of digital channels to customers, high awareness of data, availability, and cheap computing power provided by hyper-scalers.  

Among the biggest causes of untrusted data, however, are duplicated records, which are often near-impossible to identify and can be spread across data lakes, warehouses, and databases. This is because different business units are working with siloed data in different systems and different iterations of a name, changes in address, or multiple phone numbers can all harmlessly create these replications. This becomes a costly waste of resources across data, IT, and business teams and it stops businesses from creating the necessary agility and resilience to being able to identify risk fast and serve customers at the highest levels.  

Quantexa’s Entity Resolution connects all of these data points at scale, which helps our customers untangle these data challenges, protect their businesses, improve operating efficiency, and ultimately, make better decisions. 

What piece of advice would you give to budding leaders who aspire to guide teams in the future? 

My top piece of advice for aspiring leaders is to continuously work on developing your self-awareness. Self-awareness involves understanding your own strengths and weaknesses, values, emotions, and tendencies – qualities that foster empathy and personal growth. Empathy is a vital component in building meaningful connections between leaders and stakeholders, which in turn helps drive business success. By being aware of these aspects of yourself, you can identify areas for improvement and develop strategies for self-improvement. 

Ultimately, however, the best decisions are those that are informed by both intuition and objective evidence. By integrating data and hard facts into decision-making processes, leaders will be better equipped to lead teams and make decisions that are aligned with the company’s values and goals.  

How do you plan to scale the growth of Quantexa in the future? Can you give us a sneak peek into the new projects currently in the pipeline of Quantexa?

Quantexa is growing at an exciting pace, despite the market uncertainty we’re operating with today. As it stands, we are currently helping a growing list of over 40 organizations in 70 countries turn their data into a trusted, renewable, reusable resource for better, more informed decision-making. These companies span a wide range of sectors, including banking, insurance, telecommunications, and the public sector.  

Our operations across the globe are expanding to support the increasing number of customers that are recognizing the value we are able to bring. And we’re excited to see new use cases for our technology being integrated into different industries to solve an array of data challenges.  

Whilst I can’t give away any company secrets on what’s coming down the line, I can share that a key area of our development roadmap includes prioritizing simplification and enhancing investigation capabilities. To achieve this, we are investing heavily in automation, which will improve the platform’s deployment, data fusion, and graph scripting capabilities. Additionally, we are developing new research capabilities that will enable us to provide better, more dynamic single-customer views.

Dan Higgins

Chief Product Officer of Quantexa

Prior to joining Quantexa, Dan spent over two decades at EY, holding multiple leadership roles including Global Consulting Executive, Global Client Service Partner, and championing Diversity Equity Inclusivity. As EY’s Global Technology Consulting leader, he set global strategy for the $5 billion business, led over 40,000 client-serving practitioners, and shaped the firm’s platform and asset strategy. Before EY, Dan held leadership positions at Arthur Andersen, Prudential Financial, Technology Solutions Company, and Oxford Solutions.

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