CATCH THEM AS THEY COME

Portugal 2019 | TELECOMS, IT & MEDIA | INTERVIEW

As the first banking software firm in the country, Asseco PST is at the forefront of Portugal's digital revolution.

Daniel Araújo
BIOGRAPHY
As CEO of Asseco PST, an IT company specialized in the development of banking software and a benchmark in the creation of technological and knowledge solutions, Daniel Araújo has been leading the company since 2013, when it was still called EXICTOS. Born in Luanda, Angola, he holds a bachelor’s in computer and telecommunications engineering, a master’s in network and telecommunications engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from IESE Business School at the University of Navarra.

What are some key achievements and milestones for the company in Portugal?

Our first key milestone was that we were the first and only core banking software firm ever founded in Portugal. Another key achievement is that two years after our inception in 1988, we became an international firm. From the beginning, we have been focused on pursuing an active international expansion.

What are the main directions and areas of focus for the group's R&D efforts?

There are a variety of focuses, including the Internet of Things, digitalization, AI, cybersecurity, and many other areas. Our aim is to continue working actively in these areas and continue our investment in order to capture the opportunities that arise as these technologies become more widely implemented.

How would you assess the company's financial performance?

In Portugal, we have been doing extremely well for the past several years, and this is also true globally. If we were to dissect our latest turnover levels, we have to remember that even though Asseco PST is based in Portugal, more than 50% of its revenues come from overseas. Besides Portugal, we also have operations in Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Namibia, Malta, and East Timor.

Which line of banking IT services generate the most revenue?

If you look at our entire portfolio, you see that we are an end-to-end provider for banks. Some of these banks have been with us for a long time, and we provide products and services that range from core banking systems to internet banking and mobile apps. Establishing and running the core banking systems is naturally an area of heavy investment, particularly because regulation has a large impact on this area, and there are constant changes occurring. Digital transformation projects have also become a very important part of our offer and a significant source of our company revenue.

What opportunities do you see in the IT sector in Portugal?

We have witnessed several changes in the Portuguese tech sector over the last five years. Big players have all moved into the country, which puts a huge demand on talent. The fact that the Portuguese economy is not producing as many software engineers as the market demands only increases this pressure. We were originally founded in Funchal, Madeira, and we still keep our main software development center there. We have around 150 employees in Funchal and approximately 200 in Lisbon. As far as opportunities are concerned, in Portugal, like in many other western European countries, there are many opportunities related to digital transformation projects. GDPR has also been a great opportunity this year. In the financial sector in particular, there will be opportunities in fields related to open banking and PSD2.

How would you evaluate the talent evolving through Asseco Academy?

You have to remember why we created the academy in the first place. This was focused more on the Portuguese-speaking markets we operate in rather than Portugal itself. While there is a shortage of qualified talent in Portugal, there is an ever-greater shortage in some of the other markets where we also operate. We decided to create the academy in order to engage with the sector as best we could in order to promote the available talent. This enabled us to help more people qualify so more opportunities could be developed. Overall, we consider this program to be an excellent success.