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Sarah Lane, Owlin’s CCO, Talks About Commercial Focus and the Use of AI

At Owlin, we couldn’t do what we are doing without the great work of everyone working with us. In this interview series, The people of Owlin, we ask them about their daily work, background, and where they see Owlin going in the future. This month: Sarah Lane, our Chief Commercial Officer, tells us about her experiences with working at Owlin so far and shares her perspective on the company’s commercial focus on TPRM, and its use of generative AI in product development.

When did you join Owlin?

 “I joined nine months ago: in June last year.”

How have the first nine months been? 

“It’s been very busy and a lot of fun. Although it’s been a relatively short time since I joined, I have witnessed Owlin making significant progress in operating more efficiently and delivering increasing value to our customers. I feel that we are laser focused with very close alignment between the commercial and product teams with everyone having a clear view on what we are delivering, how we deliver and why.”

How does this focus translate into daily routines? 

“With a very clear product roadmap, we can easily determine where our focus has to be as a company. To facilitate this, we have company wide stand-ups three times a week which are aligned with the development sprints. In these meetings, we discuss our priorities for the current sprint, how we are progressing and any blockers to delivery. This promotes a feeling of shared ownership and investment in delivering against our goals.

The commercial team highlights the features and enhancements that are of high priority to our customers and prospects, which ensures that what our clients are asking for is being built. Also, these meetings allow the commercial team to have visibility on the delivery timeline which can then be effectively communicated to our external stakeholders, making the end to end process very seamless.”

What did you do before joining Owlin? 

“I have worked within Financial Services for the majority of my career, spending time in London, Hong Kong and Singapore before moving to Amsterdam four years ago. Most recently I have held commercial roles with some of the largest financial market data providers, which ignited my entrepreneurial spirit and ultimately lead me to the conclusion that I wanted to work for a growth company where the impact I could have on strategy and growth could be far greater” 

What do you like about commercial roles?

 “I enjoy the element of problem solving when it comes to finding a solution that solves the client’s requirements, is commercially viable and meets both parties’ strategic objectives. My approach has never really been straight selling, I enjoy the consultative aspect of understanding the problem my client is trying to solve and then finding the best solution for that. It feels a bit like solving a puzzle, where it is not immediately evident what the solution is – and often there are missing pieces to the puzzle – but it is extremely satisfying when you get there. “

What made you decide to start working for Owlin?

“I have mainly worked for very large companies, which of course offer fantastic benefits and exposure, however I always felt like the impact I could have would be limited. Earlier in my career I had worked with a company that was in scale up mode, which I really loved and was offered some great opportunities to grow and learn. I feel like this is a more natural home for me, and while it’s not for everyone, I really enjoy juggling multiple roles where I find myself switching from commercial and legal discussions to inputting into development decisions. My background is technology, having studied computer science back in the day, and merging the worlds of technology and entrepreneurship ticks a lot of boxes for me.

I decided to join Owlin because I really believe in Sjoerd, the founder of Owlin, and the product that he and the team have created. Nine months later, I believe in the future of Owlin even more. We are having some very exciting conversations and the product is moving in a direction that opens up many new opportunities for us.” 

On which market segments is Owlin’s commercial strategy focused?

“Owlin is considered market leading by our clients for the purpose of managing risk and identifying new business opportunities within their third party portfolios, which may be composed of their clients, merchants, projects or suppliers. They use Owlin’s AI powered platform to detect leading signals from over 3 million sources and translated from 17 languages to ensure they are always notified of relevant events as, and even before, they are happening.

One sector in the market where I see a lot of potential for growth is within the payments sector, where we already serve some of the biggest names. They really like our product and the new products we are developing and we are seeing increasing demand for robust risk management for Payment Service Providers’ merchant portfolios.”

And from a product perspective?

“Generative AI, for example ChatGPT, is very logical for us to incorporate into our product and it is something we are asked about daily. Owlin stores and processes massive volumes of information from which we detect risk and insights. By creating smart summaries of those risks and insights with Generative AI, this creates considerable value in arriving at the conclusion of what these signals might mean for your business..”

Are there additional examples of how Owlin could integrate Generative AI into its product?

“There are so many potential uses of Generative AI, the challenge for us is to actually decide which applications of Generative AI makes sense for us to pursue. We are exploring using it for true sentiment analysis, accurately detecting whether the news on a particular company or group of companies is trending positive or negative or somewhere in between. We are also looking at using Generative AI for intelligent red flag detection, allowing us to detect risks much earlier than is currently possible”

Thank you Sarah!

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