It’s with great pleasure that we officially welcome Marc Jones to the Shift Technology executive management team where he joins us as our new Chief Technology Officer. In this leadership role, Marc will be instrumental in driving the company’s technology organisation and its strategy going forward.
Marc joins us from Alkami Technology, a publicly traded SaaS company serving the Fintech sector. Prior to Alkami, Marc held key technology leadership roles at SoftLayer, an IBM Company and then IBM. He’s a proven technology executive who displays the rare combination of both people and technology skills that make the best CTOs stand out.
We sat down with Marc to get his take on why Shift was the right place for him and what key trends he sees shaping the insurance industry we serve.
Shift: Let’s get right into it! Why did you choose to join Shift?
Marc: There were really quite a few reasons that drove my decision, but I think the first is the company’s industry and product focus. This singular focus on the insurance industry, to me, is a big part of the reason we’re really making a difference to insurers. We’re having an impact. And one of the things that I like about this is the difference we’re making is not only affecting the insurance companies, but ultimately the end users, the policyholders. That’s huge to me.
I was also drawn to Shift’s client-first focus. I believe this is critically important. For me, it's important when you put your clients first. It’s exciting when you don't simply deliver a product but rather, you deliver a solution that meets the customer’s needs. This clearly demonstrates that you understand their pain points. Doing so allows you to have a profound impact. When paired with the spirit of innovation found within Shift, that desire to solve the hard challenges our customers face, you have a truly special place.
The final point I’d like to make here is about the team. Every Shifter I’ve met is unique, genuine, open, and highly collaborative. Ultimately, they want to solve problems. And the problems they want to solve are our clients’ problems. It makes it exciting to come to work every day and to be able to work with all these great Shifters who truly want to make change happen.
Shift: We’ve just talked a lot about solving problems. Along those lines, what do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing insurers?
Marc Jones: I’ll start with the opportunity. From my perspective, the biggest opportunity out there for the insurance industry is the ever-growing pool of data that, when harnessed, allows you to make more timely and more informed decisions. And that data is not stagnant. Both the volume of, and the type of data available continues to grow.
At the same time, I think the challenge that's inherent is that if you're not able to understand and/or leverage that data then you're missing the opportunity. And ultimately, missed opportunities can translate directly into cost increases for the insurance companies and their policyholders.
Shift: Why do you believe Shift is so well positioned to help insurers take advantage of the opportunity while avoiding the challenges?
Marc Jones: The most simple answer is that solving that challenge is exactly what the company was built to do. We’re leveraging advances in Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to derive insights from data that wasn't possible even a few years ago. But to do that, you have to understand the data. You have to be able to aggregate and make connections within the data. And then you need to be able to apply, not only a technology solution, but also an industry solution. You need to understand the industry you’re serving. You need to understand your clients. And in the case of fraud detection, underwriting risk detection, and financial crime detection, you need to understand bad actors. And so when you can pull all of that together to create a solution you have something amazing.
And this level of understanding, at Shift, is pervasive. It's not just the founders and executive team that have that deep understanding, it’s really part of the company. We have people, quite honestly, in every part of the company that really understands what we're doing and why we're doing it. It’s allowing us to target the most demanding and challenging issues facing insurers today.
Shift: What does Decisions Made Better mean to you, and why is it important?
Marc Jones: To me, Decisions Made Better is really about leveraging, every day, every available data point that you have at your disposal to make informed decisions. And really what that means is you're going beyond what you have today, or what you had yesterday, and you are continually adding data and analysis to yield deeper insights. It’s all about connecting disparate data sets, applying ML and AI to not only connect the data but to drive new and innovative insights that are highly relevant and positively impactful to your business.