The role of the CTO in the identity verification industry

The CTO, or chief technology officer. The requirements of this position differ depending on industry, but there are some common characteristics that permeate the role.

Similar to others, in his role of CTO at Mitek, Steve Ritter is required to listen to the voice of the customer, and set the technical strategy for his organisation’s products, based on customers’ current and future needs.

“Every day I work to stretch the boundaries of how our technology can be used by customers, and to align our product strategy to business objectives,” Ritter explains.

Steve Ritter believes that listening to the customer is crucial in succeeding as a CTO.
Steve Ritter believes that listening to the customer is crucial in succeeding as a CTO.

To succeed it the role of the CTO it is important, necessary even, to think outside the box thinking and collaborate across teams. Ritter, and other CTOs, know this is what it takes to succeed.

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Again, CTOs of all types are expected to manage teams, which may consist of data scientists, engineers and developers; who work in an agile environment.

However, depending on the industry, the fruits of this collective effort — lead by the CTO — will be different.

In Ritter (and Mitek’s) case, they use advanced AI and machine learning to build an identity verification platform that continuously learns.

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Identity verification

The identity verification market is extremely competitive. And Mitek’s goal is to help customers verify identities by verifying the validity and authenticity of hundreds of documents globally.

To succeed in this industry, Mitek “needs to use the latest computer vision, AI and machine learning techniques to capture and analyse images of these documents taken with a mobile device,” says Ritter.

AI and machine learning techniques are required in the identity verification industry.
AI and machine learning techniques are required in the identity verification industry.

“To succeed as a CTO in this space, I have to stay on top of the technology and the teams working on this technology 24/7. Our system must learn to detect forgeries and other anomalies on these documents, and be able to quickly and accurately return relevant, actionable results to customers in real-time. This takes teams of scientist and engineers with clear goals and objectives, who have the ability to make course corrections as new information is uncovered. So, agility and a readiness to keep learning and improving is the key to success as a CTO – and to succeed in identity verification.”

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“Regulation is another key focus area in my role as CTO. In identity verification, we are dealing with PII. Therefore, the data acquisition and curation processes are front and centre: we must always keep data privacy and information security top of mind. We have and will continue to have a SOC2 and ISO certification, so we can assure our customers that their consumer data is protected at all times.”

AI and data

A clear notion has been established during Information Age’s Artificial Intelligence Month: the success of AI depends on the quality of data.

AI works best when large amounts of rich, big data are available. The more facets the data covers, the faster the algorithms can learn and fine-tune their predictive analyses. According to industry predictions, in 2018, AI’s greatest limitation — high quality data — will become more evident.

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The biggest challenge for CTOs, such as Ritter, is finding large enough data sets. This is the most common challenge in AI and deep learning, and overcoming this is one of Ritter’s main objectives.

It’s all about the customer

CTOs today need to be as close as possible to the customers – only then can they truly understand how they are using the technology. This is the case for all CTOs, regardless of industry.

“As digital transformation in business continues to grow exponentially, strong customer relationships is the only way CTOs can supply tools that deliver a good digital customer experience and customer value,” confirms Ritter.

“The most successful CTOs are those who know what their customers eat for breakfast – and how they’re using cutting-edge technology to improve their business, of course.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...