Q&A- Startups

7 Questions with Mark van Rijmenam, author of “The Organisation of Tomorrow”

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, both at work and leisure.

I am Dr Mark van Rijmenam and hold a Bachelor’s in hospitality management, a Master of Science in marketing management and a PhD in management from the University of Technology Sydney. My research was on how organizations should deal with big data analytics, Blockchain and AI.

I am an entrepreneur with a drive for innovation and to make a difference and inspire others. My objective is to be a catalyst for global innovation and to enable organisations and societies to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. 

I believe in sustainable, social and economic responsibility when doing business or creating companies. 


2. How did you get your idea of your book „The Organisation of Tomorrow“?

Earlier this year, I completed my PhD at the University of Technology Sydney. My research focused on how do emerging information technologies change the interaction of organisations and technologies. The title of my research was: Sociomateriality in the age of Emerging Information Technologies: How big data analytics, blockchain and artificial intelligence affect organisations.

Undertaking a PhD was a great experience and an intellectual challenge. However, academic dissertations are dry and difficult to read. Therefore, I decided to turn my thesis into an easy-to-read-and-digest management book, which turned out to be a journey in itself!

The objective of this book is to help organisations prepare for the exponential times we live in. Organisations that want to remain competitive in a changing environment, need to anticipate shifting behaviours of stakeholders and technologies. This book offers organisations a blueprint for how to adapt to these rapidly changing times by introducing a new model, the D2 + A2 Model.


3. What is wrong with today’s financial service organizations

Many organisations today are still too much driven by their shareholders and not by their customers. As a result, organisations are short-term focused instead of long-term focused. I believe that if you take care of your customer, your customers will take care of your shareholders. In other words, a truly data-driven and customer-focused organisation will have long-term success for their shareholders. Many financial organisations are too much focused on money-making instead of helping their customers, that is a shame. 


4. What is the essence of a data organization?

The essence of a data organisation is an organisation that has datafied their processes and customer touchpoints. This will provide them with the required data to understand their environment and take actions when required. They have distributed the data, either through the cloud (when the data is only used internally) or using blockchain (to enable trustless collaboration with industry partners). This allows them to actually use the data and provide the best products and services for their customers. The third step is that these organisations analyse the data using descriptive, predictive or prescriptive analytics. This will offer organisations the right insights and prepare the business for upcoming unknown unknowns. It will also empower your employees and improve decision-making, resulting in superior customer service. The final step is to automate your processes with artificial intelligence and smart contracts to prepare your organisation for the data-driven future. The objective is to use data to deliver an optimal customer experience. After all, if you take care of your customers, your customers will take care of your shareholders.

However, collecting data as this scale also requires ethical behaviour. Organisations should be transparent, so that consumers know what will be done with the data that is collected, today and in the future. They should keep their communication simple and understandable, so that everyone, including digital immigrants, understands what’s being done with the data. All data should be well-secured and encrypted, although distributed ledger technology will enable highly secure data, non-decentralised data remains receptible for hackers. Where data is collected, hackers will be active, and any organisation should assume that they can and will be hacked. Finally, privacy should be part of the DNA, so that all employees understand the importance of it. A true data-driven organisation is customer-centric and has an ethical relationship with its customers.


5. What areas within FinTech do you personally find most interesting and why?

There are two areas that I find very interesting. First of all is the mobile-first FinTech companies. These organisations, such as Revolut, N26 or Change take a different approach to banking and have brought banking to the 21st century. Most of the existing banks are still very outdated in their processes and how they serve their customers. These new companies use data to offer a great service to their customers, which is great to see.

The second area is the area of crypto. Traditional banks fear crypto and often refuse their clients to offer crypto products. However, cryptocurrencies are a great invention that allows us to transfer value instantly across borders for minimal to no fees. This is something that banks have never been able to achieve, so to so this being developed now by new FinTech companies excites me very much. Eventually, banks will have no other option than to either collaborate with these companies or start developing their own crypto offerings.


6. What opportunities do you see for FinTech startups in Europe? 

There are still ample opportunities for FinTech startups to bring financial services into the 21st century. As mentioned, many banks are still very outdated and mobile-first FinTech companies could make financial services a lot more customer-friendly, resulting in easier access to financial services for (new) startups, resulting in more innovation. An innovative Europe requires an innovative financial services industry. This means, there is a lot of work to be done!


7. What tip would you like to give FinTech entrepreneurs?

Become a data-driven company that has the customer truly at the heart of the organisation. Your

sole reason of existence should be solving a problem for your customers and doing so the best you can in the most ethical way (this includes data protection, the highest security standards and complete privacy protection). As mentioned earlier, if you take care of your customers, they will take care of your shareholders.