Vincenzo Fiore, founder, and CEO at Auriga tells us about evolution in the banking industry.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Auriga.
Vincenzo Fiore: I graduated from the University of Bari, Faculty of Information Sciences. I took on my studies with loads of enthusiasm and intent, convinced that I could be part of a world that was changing, and in which technology would play a key role. These were the early days of ICT, and being a student at the Faculty of Information Sciences was a source of pride because it meant looking into the future and shaping it.
In fact, my study experience at the University of Bari was so positive that my initial thought was to stay there; even if I had a brief teaching experience, I soon realized that my path was different. I was keen on putting my newly acquired skills to practice, so I joined a group of software consultants from a company specializing in the development and maintenance of banking information systems. It was only after a year that I decided to take the big step and establish, with a few partners, Auriga Informatica, an ICT consulting company for the financial sector, which was to become Auriga in the following years; the company I lead as Chief Executive Officer.
In which sector do you operate, and what is your added value?
Vincenzo Fiore: For over 25 years, we have been designing and building innovative software solutions that have become de facto standards for the banking world. Our core business is the development of integrated platforms that have helped to define the standards of the new omnichannel banking models. We have created a web-based architecture capable of guaranteeing the perfect synergy between self-service, internet banking, and mobile banking at the service of an outstanding “seamless bank experience”.
Our mission is to guide banks towards a digital transformation that redefines the role of the branch. I believe that our added value is the ability to offer quick and modular responses to meet the temporary or ongoing needs of banks.
How does Auriga innovate?
Vincenzo Fiore: Since Auriga was born, I immediately realized that the key to growth and establishing ourselves as a cutting-edge company was – and still is – to keep our continuous improvement in mind at all times: from the services offered to the continuous training of resources, from technology to internal processes. Every year, we invest a substantial portion of our turnover in research and development in continuing to bring innovation to every business area. Still, achieving excellence and applying our knowledge and skills to our projects calls for open collaboration with others. In this respect, we have always developed partnerships with some of the most authoritative academic organizations, and we belong to the main international associations in the industry. We also develop strategic agreements aimed at supporting our international growth plans and boosting the promotion and distribution of the WWS software suite and modules by leveraging the in-depth knowledge of the markets of our partners.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Vincenzo Fiore: 2020 was a very special year, which certainly had an impact on the way we work. Teamwork has always been one of the strengths underlying our achievements. This year, we were challenged with replacing traditional meeting and collaboration methods, where the physical relationship played an important role, with new tools to work remotely as a team. During these months, we have gladly confirmed that our work model, built over the years, remains effective when applied to smart working. I am proud of the way the company has handled this year’s difficulties and the way we have all responded to something unexpected and anomalous.
Did you make important decisions during 2020? And what are the lessons learned?
Vincenzo Fiore: 2020 brought major news for Auriga. In April, we expanded our offering by acquiring Lookwise Device Manager, the modular cybersecurity platform whereby banks manage their own device security (such as ATMs, POS terminals, or critical infrastructure control systems). We concluded several strategic partnerships – including SprintQuip, Tr-Sys, Indra Minsait, Dilaco, and ACI Worldwide – so that they could accompany us on our globalization path, helping us to identify new business opportunities in other markets. In particular, the ACI Worldwide partnership aims at launching a next-generation ATM and self-service banking platform focused on improving the omnichannel banking experience for consumers globally.
Your final thoughts?
Vincenzo Fiore: The banking sector, like all others, has been affected by the pandemic: social distancing, for example, has changed many habits and introduced new ones. There is, nonetheless, a silver lining in the digital acceleration that has taken place in recent months because it has drastically changed bank-customer relationships – opening up new scenarios and opportunities for both parties. But the issue is not just about reducing the use of cash in favor of a steady increase in card transactions and greater use of electronic tools. The challenge is indeed much broader, and the transformation is taking place much deeper: the ways in which users interact with their banks are radically changing, as are the expectations that customers have towards their banks. Once again, it will be necessary to cope with up and coming changes, to anticipate the needs of users, and allow banks to offer them the most immediate and effective solutions possible.