Vivek Agrawal, executive vice president of technology solutions provider Skava, joined PYMNTS for the latest segment of the Commander in Chief series to speak to why innovation isn’t just about creating new, exciting products. Here’s why Agrawal says the real focal point of innovation is to address (and solve) real and present challenges across industries.
An excerpt from that discussion is provided below…
PYMNTS: How would you define your company’s approach to innovation?
VA: Our innovation goals are very well bound by our vision and strategy. We have a budget set aside for innovation that is meant to be largely spent on trends we believe are ready for adoption by industry at large. That said, there is always a small number of activities that are centered around the new shiny thing (like Google glass and smartwatches a couple of years ago) so we can have a POV. The idea is to solve real enterprise-grade challenges using our technology.
PYMNTS: Where do you look for innovative ideas, and why?
VA: The world is going through a major transformation right now, and innovation is everywhere. Most important innovative ideas come from our own people — they understand what we do, what our capabilities are and when they see some concept, they are able to apply it the best. They make the idea very relevant. In addition, we talk to our clients as well as closely monitor industry innovative brands like Amazon, Walmart, Apple, Visa (etc.) do. The basic focus is always on new ideas that make the shopping experience for a customer easier.
PYMNTS: What do you think that most people underestimate about innovating in payments?
VA: Payments is a very critical and sensitive matter for all parties involved. It is the basis of existence for most entities and the most sensitive element for every customer. Elements that are key to innovation in payments are ease of use for customers (just one-step payment, one-click payment, focus on convenience) along with security, flexibility and the latest technology. The solution has to be scalable, one that can be considered as an industry standard and is a win-win for the consumer, merchant and banks.
PYMNTS: What keeps you up at night? What concerns you most in the payment solutions space?
VA: The payment space is evolving a lot, with many niche players entering the space. The keys that cannot be compromised are ease of use, compatibility with new secure technologies and its ability to scale across different points of interaction. The payment solution needs to support models that work for small and large enterprises at the same time.