The key takeaways from Citi Demo Day
The Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting situation over the last seven months has significantly accelerated the need for enterprises to find and implement new, more intelligent solutions. Paweł Panczyj, Strategy & Business Development Director at ABSL, touched on this in his opening speech, which explained the value of such initiatives as ABSL tech lab and its aim of connecting companies facing business challenges and seeking new solutions with suppliers, developing technology companies capable of meeting these challenges. The first ABSL tech lab Citi Demo Day, entitled “The Digital Office: a marriage of technology and people”, gathered many experts and guests who discussed the challenges and obstacles related to the future of remote work and the digital office. To overcome these challenges in today’s constantly changing world and business environment may well also require legislative initiatives to support companies and keep them operating successfully. With this in mind, Mr Rafał Trzaskowski, the mayor of Warsaw, said a few words and outlined some major regulatory milestones – the reduction of local taxes and payments, designed to support companies through the times of Covid-19.
The subsequent discussion started with Kevin Murray, Head of Citibank Europe’s Polish Branch, who underlined that, even though many people are no longer in the office and are working from home, business must go on. The pandemic has created another reason to embrace innovation. The same position was shared by Dr Ruaraidh Mackenzie, Flight Dynamics Engineer, Earth Observation Mission Support Section at the European Space Agency, who explained that even rather conservative organizations like the ESA were able to switch from very strict rules into more flexible ones, allowing spacecraft operations to be performed at home. Then Janusz Dziurzyński, Vice-President Conferences & Events, ABSL, pointed out another aspect of remote working, namely that worrying signals are being observed in remote workers, whereby, over time they are feeling increasingly isolated and showing signs of a lack of engagement. Answering that challenge, Iwona Dudzińska, Managing Director, Head of EMEA AML HUB, Citi, drew attention to the need to enforce leadership skills to ensure that leaders can communicate with employees, bringing a personal touch in the new reality of virtual, remote work. Michał Podgórski, Global Head of Securities & Pricing Operations, Citi, added that leaders should connect with employees on more personal level, to better understand their situation while working from home. Focusing on trust and empathy was also underlined by Alejandro Paz, Senior IT Director Global Data & Analytics, Procter & Gamble. On the other hand, Agnieszka Sygitowicz, Vice-President, Łódź Special Economic Zone, stressed that the best recipe for the success in the new reality is a mix of soft skills and new technological solutions.
During the final part of the event, four tech companies participating at the ABSL tech lab program, presented their solutions, answering the challenges set by the host of the day – Citi. Hire Up (Finland), Random Forest (Poland), Smarp (Finland) and Take Task (Poland) each presented unique technologies for enhancing recruitment, automated document analytics, remote work and onboarding.
Each participant had just three minutes to pitch their solutions, and several minutes to answer questions from the jury, explaining what set them apart from the competition and the alternative products. After a short discussion, the jury decided that Random Forest and its offerings were most interesting and promising.