Blue dot CTO David Guedalia Discusses Overcoming the Challenge of Employee-driven Spend

Blue dot CTO David Guedalia Discusses Overcoming the Challenge of Employee-driven Spend

Blue dot CTO David Guedalia sat down for an exciting discussion on emerging financial technologies with J.J. Abadom, producer of CTO News Thursday VLog. Below are excerpts from the VLog.


David: “There is an entire shift in the way people do their purchasing. In the old days, in large companies, before you bought anything, you needed to open a purchase order. If you wanted a pen, you went to finance and found out that you could only buy it from the following approved vendors that were in the system. 


We lived in a world where all the data was pre authorised and pre validated. So the quality of the data was very high. It made the user experience lousy, but the data quality was high. 


Employee Driven Spend Drives Noisy Data

What happened over the past few years is, when an employee has an upcoming business trip, they go to and book a flight. The financial departments don’t have control over that. The data that the employee enters may be very noisy, and often it is. The data is partial. 


The entire consumer purchasing experience has transitioned in enterprise, and this has created a situation whereby the data is very noisy.


When Blue dot solved the VAT problem, we were forced to solve the data problem. That became the pivot point. Blue dot shifted from just looking at VAT to looking at all of those little dots that compose a story of your report, your employee transaction. We then compose that picture and with that, we have created multiple products that service the financial industry.”


J.J.: “Why is technology crucial to your organisation?”


David: “That’s a fun question. My knee-jerk reaction to that question is how could it not be. Technology is not a thing that is external to you anymore. In the past, people used technologies as tools to achieve their goals. Your tools and goals were two separate entities. Today, technology is a part of our lives. It is not an external tool. 


Thanks to technology, we have access to many, many vendors. The ability to purchase things technologically enabled created a problem for finance departments. Then, the ability to analyse that must be technologically enabled as well.”


J.J.: “That leads me to my next question. How do you view machine learning and artificial intelligence at Blue dot, and what benefits are they providing your customers?”


Four Pillar Tax Technologies

David: “First, there is automation. Automation is a process where you have a human mechanical process and you automate it. That means a robot performs exactly what the human did. 


Next, there is digitisation, where the process is digitised so instead of a person or robot performing the automation, it is done digitally. 


Third, there is what we call modelling. In modelling and statistical analysis, you’ve gone beyond just repeating a task that the human did, you’ve created an abstraction. You understand some aspect of what the task is and you provide a model that not only can solve that particular problem, but it can expand and solve problems that are similar to it as well.


Fourth is AI. It is a series of models and statistics that expand beyond just being able to provide a solution to this problem, they create tools that can help us solve many problems as well. 


At Blue dot, we have cutting edge technology – including all of the 4 mentioned – that enables us to reconstruct entire transactions. We’re looking at many, many reports, many vendors, behaviour in countries and cities. We leverage all of these and more to help our customers connect the dots.”


J.J.: “How do you learn something quickly, particularly when paying attention to the structure of information?”


Watch the video to hear David’s interesting answer!


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