Laurel Farrer is an internationally-renowned thought leader of remote work. She has been unlocking the power of distributed workforces for over 15 years.
The future of work will be defined by the technologies we implement
At Finboot, it is not just technology, it is technology with a purpose.
We interview Juan Miguel Pérez Rosas, CEO and co-founder of Finboot, an enterprise software company leader in digital sustainability solutions.
Can you briefly describe your company, mission and values?
Finboot is a technology company that is looking to accelerate digital transformation, realise value, and build trust through blockchain technology. Our journey started back in 2016 when blockchain was starting to emerge as a relevant technology for the digitalisation of enterprises. Our mission to deliver world-class blockchain-powered technology has been materialised through our product MARCO. MARCO is an ecosystem bringing digital technologies together under one roof, with solutions that provide traceability, transparency, and compliance. We are already accelerating the digital journey of many world class companies including Repsol, Thales, and Stahl.
You are an international and diverse team. Can you describe any challenges you may have faced during the pandemic as a team and how you have adapted to new ways of working?
We are headquartered in Cardiff and have a hub in Barcelona. We have an international and diverse team which means we are globally minded and benefit from a variety of perspectives. As a company focused on digital transformation, we have always been well-positioned for remote working from a technical perspective. As we come out of the pandemic, this has more or less become the standard for most companies.
Today, I think most organisations are well equipped from a technical standpoint. However, the biggest challenge is creating and maintaining a company culture. Staying connected is not the same as being connected and making sure everyone in the company is aligned with our mission. That’s not only a challenge when we talk about our Spain and UK offices, but also when we look across departments and roles, such as business development and technology; or how we communicate with our Board and our shareholders.
To achieve that connectivity and that cultural fit we focus on the principles built into our organisation:
- Openness, jumping barriers through the free exchange of ideas;
- Meritocracy, recognising ideas by their value, not by where they come from; and, perhaps more importantly:
- A strong commitment to our mission.
Do you have any learnings and best practices that you can share?
Communication is key! And this is an area in which we are continuously improving. It’s all too easy for us all to get caught up in the day to day things, which increases the risk of everyone running in different directions, losing focus on the mission and ultimately damaging company culture. To avoid this, we at Finboot have made it standard practice to hold quarterly team-wide meetings where we review our progress and clearly set our next goal.
What are your views re technology as an enabler of the future of work and of new ways of working?
I think they are intrinsically linked; there’s not one without the other. The future of work will be defined by the technologies we implement to change how organisations operate. That said, we, as a community, have a dangerous challenge ahead. The technology is there, along with all of its potential but it is up to us to choose how we use these tools to create more efficient and more sustainable business practices. At Finboot, we help our customers accelerate their digital strategies, but always in alignment with their ESG commitments.
What opportunities and challenges do you foresee and what support is required from governments and other stakeholders to make it a reality in a balanced and equitable way?
Historically, when it comes to technology, the regulator is the last one to show up; more so when we talk about digital innovations. So, we often find ourselves trying to regulate technology trends that are already widely adopted. A clear example of this is the problem with fake news and social media. To me, the biggest challenge is finding ways in which governments can move faster to go alongside the evolution of technology. That in itself represents an opportunity, as the best way to achieve this is by becoming a driver and an enabler for the adoption of technology. We are already starting to see some evidence of that in China, the US, and Europe, with technologies like 5G, AI, and Blockchain.
Sustainability features high in your company values and mission. How would you describe the potential of technology to accelerate the sustainable transformation in the aftermath of COVID-19?
Sustainability strategies are now critical for any market decision by investors, regulators, and consumers. Motivations around these strategies vary; but the use of technology will mark the difference between those organisations who are simply getting onboard the latest marketing trend, and those who truly see this as a legitimate, futureproof and sustainable business strategy. Companies must recognise that the adoption of emerging technology will not only help them as they move to achieve their targets, but also as they measure and report their progress transparently.
Blockchain is a technology you know well and you often discuss its potential to raise standards in ESG reporting along the value chain. What is your vision in this regard?
There are countless areas where Blockchain will help to measure the environmental and social impact of value chains as, ultimately blockchain can be used to measure, trace and validate evidence of achieving ESG objectives. There are numerous other opportunities when it comes to Blockchain and ESG; in areas like sustainable fashion, renewable energy, and food provenance, just to name a few. By using Blockchain to verify transparency in a way that no other digital technology can, businesses will dramatically improve their sustainability credentials and reporting procedures.
What challenges and opportunities do you foresee to scale this application?
One of the biggest challenges is aligning organisations around business values. Sustainability and ESG strategies are great, but they must come with an incentive for the business, because after all they will continue to be under pressure to return a profit. That is why, when it comes to adopting emerging technology, we need to focus on the identification and measurement of business value drivers, just as much as we focus on the technical implementation.
Do you have any good examples for us on how blockchain has enhanced the sustainability credentials and created triple impact value for your clients?
Over the past few years, we have been helping companies accelerate their digital strategies, aligned with their ESG commitments. Global energy giant Repsol, is leading the charge on this and is already using blockchain to digitise some of its downstream supply chain. Stahl, in the specialty chemicals space, is creating digital product passports for their renewable products powered by Blockchain. And Omya, a leading global producer of industrial minerals, is also using blockchain to trace their products from the quarries to the final applications in industries like food and pharma.
We are only at the beginning and blockchain does hold a huge amount of promise. What do you think are the roadblocks ahead for this technology to reach its full potential and how are you dealing with those challenges as a company?
Removing the barriers for adoption is certainly one of the biggest challenges. At its core, Blockchain is still a very complex technology; one that is largely trying to be implemented in ecosystems that generally have a low level of digitalisation. That is why, as an industry, we must focus on building simple and easy to use services and solutions. Our product MARCO is just that, a simple and easy to use vehicle to deliver Blockchain powered technology to our world class customers.
Do you have any final thoughts to inspire other entrepreneurs and start-ups to join the sustainability journey enabled by new ways of working and supported by high-impact technologies?
I can only tell you what we at Finboot find to be most gratifying. We all love working with emerging technology, and helping companies adopt our technology is certainly a great motivator. But doing so in a way that has a positive impact on our environment and our society, I think that is what gives it that extra value. To us, the most inspiring part of our journey is that it is not just technology, it is technology with a purpose.
Geilan Malet-Bates is the Chair of the P27 Green FinTech Forum and a regular contributor to green finance debates and consultations.