How Tech Leaders Turn Industry Trends Into Business Tailwinds

Making sure you’re leading the pack.

Written by Quinten Dol
Published on Nov. 09, 2021
How Tech Leaders Turn Industry Trends Into Business Tailwinds

In 2020, the pandemic unleashed or accelerated a complex mix of trends within the technology industry. In 2021, the industry at large regained its footing and began to harness those trends. Blockchain companies are successfully bringing cryptocurrency into the financial mainstream. Property tech businesses are assessing how to bring long-term value through technology implemented under the necessity of social distancing. The labor-intensive elements of accounting and bookkeeping are rapidly being automated into obscurity. Big data is allowing businesses to react to the market in near real time. 

As tech leaders study their product roadmaps heading into 2022 and beyond, technology leaders at five tech companies from around the country filled us in on the macro trends they see affecting their industries and how they’re adjusting their own technology in response.

 

Joe McCormick
Director of Engineering • SplitSpot

Industry: Real estate tech

Company: SplitSpot seeks to remove complexity from the rental property market — along with annoyances like broker fees — with a platform that acts as an intermediary between tenants and landlords. SplitSpot lists available properties, supports virtual tours, completes background checks, introduces new roommates and facilitates lease signing — technology that earned the company a $2 million investment earlier this year. 

 

What are the most disruptive technology trends shaping your industry heading into 2022?

Looking into 2022 for the proptech industry, I anticipate a multitude of new companies and services continuing to crop up to improve the experience of one or more aspects of the real estate industry. In addition, I anticipate the continued push of virtual apartment showings, which really took off during the pandemic. I expect there to be new tech in this space utilizing VR and AR to make these feel even more like an in-person showing. Heading into 2022, SplitSpot is going to look to integrate new tech that makes sense for our tenants' needs but not jump to the latest “disruptor” that may just be a flash in the pan.

 

It feels like we’re still in the proptech renaissance.”

 

What advice would you give to fellow technology leaders in your industry?

It feels like we’re still in the proptech renaissance, and it’s important to ensure we are integrating with and relying on software that is going to be here for the long haul and not just a one-off fad. I think the continued push that started during Covid for flexible housing arrangements is going to continue post-pandemic, and we need to embrace ideas that support that mission.

 

Felix Todd
Chief Technology Officer • Quontic Bank

Industry: Fintech

Company: Quontic is an adaptive digital bank with a suite of banking products that includes a cryptocurrency rewards program — the first of its kind in the U.S. The bank predominantly works with people in low-income communities and, to that end, recently added a U.S. Department of the Treasury grant to its $13 million funding war chest. 

 

What are the most disruptive technology trends shaping your industry heading into 2022?

Digital currency and the blockchain will continue to disrupt the ways value is stored and transferred and, so, represents a challenge within the financial space. Quontic has brought the Bitcoin rewards product to market and continues to look at the approaches of possible partners to this space. Remote work has disrupted IT as companies have accelerated their support of remote work during the pandemic. I will continue to ensure we provide a great culture and work experience for our employees.

 

“Look to improve your approaches through the power of sharing ideas.”

 

What advice would you give to fellow technology leaders in your industry?

Find your peers and look to improve your approaches through the power of sharing ideas and experiences.

 

Justin DoBosh
Technical Co-Founder & VP of Engineering • Botkeeper

Industry: Accounting

Company: Botkeeper’s AI-enabled smart accounting software helps businesses automate their bookkeeping processes. The company just announced a $42 million Series C from Paychex founder Tom Golisano, which Botkeeper says will help it double the size of its engineering team.

 

What are the most disruptive technology trends shaping your industry heading into 2022?

Without reliable access to machine-readable data, it’s difficult to automate any process. This is why open banking and intelligent document processing are the two trends we see that will unlock the next frontier in account tech innovation. Allowing users to connect their financial accounts to your application is nothing new, but maintaining that connection can quickly become more effort than it’s worth. This is where we see the biggest opportunity for open banking: increasing the reliability of a connection. Through our membership in the Financial Data Exchange and continued improvements to our platform, we are actively taking advantage of these new opportunities created by open banking.

A majority of the information our clients send us is contained in documents. This is why we leverage optical character recognition to help us extract that content. But OCR has its limitations, and maintaining a large library of templates can be costly for a business. IDP builds on the recent advances in OCR and combines AI, ML and deep learning to bring context to content and process semi-structured, unstructured and complex documents. We are exploring our existing automation efficiencies and working to identify areas in which we can take automation to the next level by using IDP.

 

There is always a non-zero level of effort required to maintain what you build.”

 

What advice would you give to fellow technology leaders in your industry?

Nothing is ever “done.” There is always a non-zero level of effort required to maintain what you build, so be deliberate about what you choose to build versus buy. Don’t rebuild solved problems, but instead focus on building and maintaining what makes your solutions unique.

 

William Mansfield
CTO • Suzy

Industry: Marketing tech

Company: Suzy stakes its success on delivering consumer insights — information about what makes customers tick — to businesses with unparalleled speed and scale. The company leverages advanced analytics software and existing networks of consumers to deliver insights to its clients within minutes.

 

What are the most disruptive technology trends shaping your industry heading into 2022?

While the interest in microservices is on the rise and the creation of monolithic technology systems is on the decline, my team at Suzy is balancing the best of both worlds with what we’re calling a “polylithic” solution. Our goal is to design a platform that keeps the benefits of the monolith while leveraging the value of microservices by creating swappable components that can be iterated and deployed in isolation. This allows us to capitalize on the flexibility of microservice concepts without relying on a management plane.

 

I would encourage technologists to take innovation into their own hands and drive the progress forward.”

 

What advice would you give to fellow technology leaders in your industry?

I’d advise technology leaders to not wait for corporations, conglomerates and other larger entities to push new agendas and ideas that the rest of us follow. Instead, I would encourage technologists to take innovation into their own hands and drive the progress forward, trying out new approaches and sharing what works with the technology at hand.

 

Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

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