Is it still difficult today to assert a technology company being a woman? Are there still any doubts about women’s performance in these domains and areas of technology?
[SBS] Fortunately, the presence of women in all sectors of activity is increasing and technology is no exception. Companies in this area generally favor meritocracy, regardless of gender, which tends to attenuate any prejudices of any kind. Of course, the existence of a culture of inclusion, as well as evaluation systems and well-defined careers, are critical success factors for this reality. These are the contexts that we have at AskBlue from day one and that guarantee transparency and equity in the management of people.
Is it vital that we continue to strive for gender equality and opportunities?
[SBS] It’s still important, of course, but it will certainly require different approaches and priorities, comparing to 50-60 years ago. Fortunately, the legacy we leave to our daughters, in this context, is very different from the one our mothers left us. But in a society where domestic violence is a problem and women are the main victims, it is a society where there is still a lot of work to be done, in a much broader landscape than just the professional context or restricted to it.
What are the characteristics that allow a company, although young, to be able to implement itself so effectively?
[AR] Founded in 2013, AskBlue excels in the field of information technology. AskBlue’s main differentiating feature is the commitment to build up an excellence team, since the inception of the company, able to understand and integrate technology knowledge of technology knowledge with business knowledge. The team is made up of recognized professionals in the market, with diverse professional experience in national and international environments and in complex organizational contexts. To these elements we have been adding a group of people from different scientific areas, from the best universities in Portugal, that have been trained in the various technologies and molded in our company culture. These features enable AskBlue, along with its customers, to develop new businesses, enhancing the value chain, optimizing and transforming operational performance, step by step, in each project delivered, ensuring AskBlue’s success and recognition in the marketplace.
Is market knowledge and specialized human resources a factor of differentiation?
[SBS] As already mentioned, AskBlue is committed to the excellence and seniority of the team, bonded to the ability to innovate and look for the best solutions for our customer’s needs. Resources skills and experience combined with transparency in the internal management processes, allow for a good working place and for talent development. These factors are the foundantions of AskBlue’s excellence and recognition in the market.
With a turnover of about five million euros in 2017, has the company been betting on new markets and sectors?
[AR] AskBlue began with a strong focus on the financial market, that is the genesis of the company. However, we have been increasingly developing business, increasingly, in other activity areas, such as Health and Retail. The skills and abilities of AskBlue’s team are transversal and can be applied in several industries.
What, in fact, are the services that are available to customers?
[SBS] AskBlue services focus on consulting, technology, operations and outsourcing.
AskBlue is a company that likes challenges. Are national companies already capable of launching challenges and analyzing value propositions?
[AR] There is a wide range of companies in Portugal with high levels of sophistication, from traditional sectors to the most differentiated. The number of new companies and startups is an example of this, especially with innovative digital offerings, to realize that there is a great potential of professionals and companies capable of competing globally. AskBlue itself started in 2018 an internationalization process towards Northern Europe and the Middle East, with notable results and already with ongoing projects.
Looking at the future, what are AskBlue’s main goals for 2019?
[SBS] We want to continue to grow in a sustained and balanced way. We recently launched the technology center – askblue tehcnology center – which is an important step forward to expand our capacity to deliver software development and maintenance services, strongly expected to grow throughout 2019. We are focused and committed to continue to affirm ourselves in the market along this year .
In your opinion, what new brings the feminine vision for the management and reach-out for success of AskBlue?
[AR] The success of AskBlue is entirely due to the effort and commitment of the team. It is a very diverse team, profiles more senior and junior people professionals, with a balanced mix of technical, analytical and business oriented profiles. The mix of profiles enables the achievement of complementary visions of the same problem. Complementarity and difference produce good outcomes and solutions. Therefore it is not a masculine and feminine “way of doing” or a distinctive professional vision capability, but rather more the integrated work of a multidisciplinary high performance team, team, mobilized around an objective and with an enormous spirit of mission: to deliver with quality.
CHALLENGES OF THE CURRENT WORLD
Today’s WORLD CHALLANGES arise new and diverse challenges for businesses. AskBlue’s offer was designed to help customers respond to these challenges by keeping up with what you do best?
[AR] Clearly. AskBlue’s offer was designed aligned to the value chain that customers are looking for and need. The challanges of digital transformation are not entirely exhausted in technology. Business and process knowledge is an important part of this value chain. We work with this component in consulting and technology offerings. In this last one we obviously have the technical knowledge of the most present technologies in these processes of digital transformation, in order to deliver a final product of quality. The offerings of operations and outsourcing complete the value chain, allowing customers to focus their teams’ attention on what is strategic at all times, and complement their capacity, with more or less intervention on their part, in day-to-day management , using our offerings of operations and outsourcing. Both are good alternatives, particularly as regards the management of the application space that must be maintained, at a time of business life, where the latter is growing as a result of the coexistence of assets that are still being discontinued and are still alive. Others, which are produced at high speed in the context of ongoing digital transformation processes.
TECHNOLOGY IN THE FINANCIAL SECTOR
As Fintech begin to gain more and more prominence in Portugal, can AskBlue be the right partner to transform an organization and equip it with what it takes to compete in this industry?
[AR] The Fintech are inherently to the requirements of the technological development a capital intensive business, which has gained its market position very much based on a strong differentiation of the price when compared to banks. An example of this is the business generated in the field of internal and cross-border payments area. Managing an equation of capital requirement and price competitiveness is a challenge of scale, valuation of the asset for a future sale or of imminent need of differentiation of the business, where the opportunity space is increasingly difficult. AskBlue distinguishes itself by its in-depth knowledge of the financial sector business and specific operations. This knowledge capital is an important strength of AskBlue, either for a bank that decides to acquire and integrate the business and platform of a Fintech, either for a Fintech that needs to differentiate its business. Currently, Fintech’s are not an AskBlue’s focus area.
Consumer paradigms in terms of financial institutions are also changing. Does the need sharpen the ingenuity to create solutions that respond in advance to the needs that customers may have?
[SBS] The financial sector organizations, like other industries, face challenges in managing interactions with their clients, providing them with a positive experience and following them through their personal and professional development. On the other hand, the challenges of regulation also create pressures for the management of organizations. Understanding how to better serve customers, responding to their behavioral needs in the context of increasingly demanding regulation is surely one of the main challenges of any institution in the industry. AskBlue’s teams have been involved in digital transformation initiatives, working for key players in the financial industry, as well as in the implementation of legal and regulatory initiatives, such as the RGPD (General Data Protection Regulation).