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Q&A with Richie Santosdiaz

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Richie Santosdiaz, Managing Partner and Founder

How could you describe your career path in a few words ?

My career has been interesting but how I would summarize it so far is I was always willing to take a risk and people around me were always supportive and gave me opportunities despite my inexperience at the time. For instance, I had the opportunity to work with PA Consulting, one of the world’s oldest management consulting houses based in London, whereby I gained exposure (and even until this day) work mainly with the public sector and indirectly the wider

private sector.

Also, while I’m originally from the USA (Chicago), I actually built my career overseas, mostly in Europe and now the Middle East where I currently have been based mainly since 2019, after spending 8 years in London and prior in Spain and France. Despite not being in my home country, opportunities were presented to me and I had to work twice as hard to not only succeed in my field but also in an environment that wasn’t my home country.

What are the highlights of the key digital innovation trends for 2022? Can you give us some major examples ?

In my opinion one of the clearest trends has been been further implementation of government backed efforts to promote this. Many have been talking digital and innovation

for quite some time and this has been reflected both organically and even with national strategies that have been prioritizing digital transformation amongst its future economic growth plans (for instance in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region this has been prominent with the likes of Saudi Vision 2030 or Egypt Vision 2030). Also in countries like Spain in 2020 launching Spain Digital 2025. While different in their own ways, the strategies mentioned, when discussing the “digital” and innovative parts – tend to focus on wider economic development benefits – further fostering talent in the digital space, encouraging entrepreneurship, digital infrastructure – to name a few.

Based on your experiences, what are the impactful trends in digital innovation that are becoming more important in the context of 2023 ?

I think that, especially during the pandemic when most people were forced to go virtual and digital overnight, the reliance of technology and, despite reassimilating back to a pre-covid life, many have kept their covid habits (i.e. the further popularization and penetration of ecommerce). This presents a challenge, especially with the increasing problems of cybercrime. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the cost of cybercrime is predicted to hit $8 trillion in 2023 and will grow to $10.5 trillion by 2025.

A positive trend has been the further proliferation of the likes of financial technologies (or fintech) especially with regards to emerging and developing economies. It has further brought financial inclusion to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to traditional financial services – both individuals and businesses. For instance, in the African continentn it is estimated at around 57 per cent of the population do not have access to a bank account and with services like a credit card the figure is estimated to be only 3 per cent.

In your opinion, how can they create high value for organizations ?

Pertaining to my comments about cybercrime, organizations should obviously prioritize this as a way to protect its day-to-day operations and importantly its intellectual property. We often get busy but when challenges occur suddenly it becomes such as hassle. Especially in sectors that seem to get targeted the most such as financial services this becomes a challenge. The problem gets even more extreme in developing economies and regions. For instance in Africa, it is estimated that 90 per cent of businesses operate without

cybersecurity protocols.

With regards to the growth and morphing of fintech, organizations can further play on the integration of fintech within other sectors – this has played out across the likes of ecommerce to traditional brick and mortar retailers to name a few. But despite the obvious it has even panned out in innovative ways such as in agriculture in places like the African continent where farmers are paying even with cryptocurrencies. Organizations can further help bring financial inclusion especially for those that traditionally haven’t had access it them.

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