Artificial Intelligence

“Believe in yourself, dare to show big, and be confident” – CEO Q&A with Jackie Dunne of Dimply

By Business & Finance
15 May 2024

Jackie Dunne is CEO of Dimply, a fintech backed by a number of established Irish entrepreneurs. Dunne is a highly-skilled financial services expert, possessing 30+ years of industry experience. She has held numerous senior leadership and executive director positions within global financial organisations, accumulating a wealth of knowledge in strategy, governance, and tactical leadership.

What are your main priorities and goals in your role?

To position Dimply as a digital vanguard to enforce a unique market position and be an employer of choice while continuing to deliver superior client engagement. Our clients and people are at the heart of all we do, both from an internal and external client-focused perspective, as well as a customer and people-first approach. I firmly believe in partnering with our clients to harness their insights to develop winning strategies and actions and turn their data into dollars.

What are your biggest challenges as CEO?

As a scaleup, time and focus are two key challenges: growing, adapting, and transforming simultaneously are critical to our success, and balancing all these can be challenging.

How do you keep your team/staff motivated?

I live my leadership philosophy daily: empowerment, communication, accountability, team focus, inclusion, and development. We are fortunate to have an exceptionally talented team eager to embark on our growth journey with us. I firmly believe in motivating the team, and I share inspirational quotes daily and pay forward lessons learned to encourage discipline, innovation, and collaboration. Our company has multiple forums where all our team’s voices contribute and are heard. Most recently, we embarked on co-creating our culture handbook, which was collated with inputs and ideas from the entire company. We operate as a One Dimply; every voice counts and is valued.

What are the challenges facing the industry going forward?

There are many concerns, including Cybersecurity threats, Regulatory Compliance, Technological Integration, Customer Trust and Privacy, Economic uncertainty, changing consumer expectations, Financial Inclusion, Talent Acquisition and Retention, the Impact of Non-Traditional Competitors, and Sustainability concerns:

  • Cybersecurity Threats: As financial institutions increasingly rely on digital platforms, the risk of cyberattacks grows. These threats range from data breaches to advanced persistent threats (APTs), and managing them requires robust security protocols, continuous monitoring, and updated technology.
  • Regulatory Compliance: The global financial landscape is highly regulated, and these regulations are frequently updated to address emerging risks and technologies. Staying compliant can be costly and complex, especially for institutions operating across multiple jurisdictions.
  • Technological Integration: While adopting new technologies can dramatically improve efficiency and customer satisfaction, integrating these technologies with existing systems can be challenging. Legacy systems in particular are often complex to upgrade or replace, leading to potential issues with data silos and operational inefficiencies.
  • Customer Trust and Privacy: With the increased use of data analytics and personalised services, financial institutions must navigate the delicate balance between personalisation and privacy. Ensuring customer data is handled securely and transparently is crucial to maintaining trust.
  • Economic Uncertainty: Global economic volatility can impact financial institutions by changing consumer behaviour, affecting investments, and altering the credit environment. Preparing for and adapting to these shifts is a persistent challenge.
  • Changing Consumer Expectations: Today’s consumers expect seamless, fast, and highly personalised service across all platforms. Meeting these expectations requires ongoing innovation and adaptation, which can strain resources and require new strategies for customer
  • Financial Inclusion: Financial institutions are under increasing pressure to provide accessible services to all segments of the population, including underserved and unbanked communities. Developing cost-effective, accessible financial products that meet regulatory standards is a significant challenge.
  • Talent Acquisition and Retention: As technology plays a more significant role in financial services, there is a growing need for tech-savvy professionals who are also knowledgeable about finance. Attracting and retaining skilled talent is becoming increasingly competitive.
  • Impact of Non-Traditional Competitors: The rise of fintech companies and non-financial corporations offering financial services (like tech giants entering payment services) is intensifying competition. Traditional banks and institutions must continually innovate to keep pace with these agile competitors.
  • Sustainability Concerns: Companies are increasingly expected to adopt sustainable practices. Financial institutions are being called upon to support sustainable development goals through their lending, investment, and operational practices, which requires new strategies and can involve significant changes to business models.

What new trends are emerging in your industry?

There are many emerging trends, to name a few. Personalisation through AI and Machine Learning, Enhanced Mobile Experience, Digital Only Banking, Voice Technology and Chatbots, Biometric Security, Blockchain and decentralised Finance, Sustainable and Ethical Investing, Integration of Financial Services into Non-Financial Platforms, RegTech and Virtual and Augmented reality:

  • Personalisation through AI and Machine Learning: Financial institutions leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to offer highly personalised experiences. These technologies can predict and provide tailored financial advice, product recommendations, and proactive service.
    • Eg: personalised credit solutions continue to emerge in the market – eg BNPL (buy now pay later)
  • Enhanced Mobile Experience: The shift towards mobile-first or mobile-only strategies continues accelerating. Banks and financial institutions focus on creating seamless, intuitive mobile apps that provide complete functionality, mirroring the services available through traditional in-person branches.
  • Digital Only Banking – Challenger banks are broadening their product lines to include investments, mortgages, and insurance, positioning themselves as competitors to traditional banks.
  • Voice Technology and Chatbots: Voice assistants and chatbots are becoming more sophisticated and capable of handling complex transactions and queries. This technology helps reduce wait times for customer service and enhances accessibility by enabling users to interact with their financial services provider through natural language processing.
  • Biometric Security: As security remains a top priority in financial services, biometric technology such as fingerprint scanners, facial recognition, and voice authentication are being adopted to enhance security and streamline the authentication process, making transactions safer and faster.
  • Blockchain and Decentralised Finance (DeFi): Blockchain technology is being explored for its potential to revolutionise everything from payment systems to secure, transparent record-keeping. Alongside, DeFi is emerging as a trend where financial systems are built on blockchain, offering services like loans, insurance, and savings programs that are typically faster and less regulated than traditional banking.
  • Sustainable and Ethical Investing: There is a growing trend towards socially responsible and sustainable investing. Financial services increasingly provide investment options in environmentally and socially beneficial projects, driven by customer demand for ethical investment opportunities.
  • Integration of Financial Services into Non-Financial Platforms: Financial services are integrated into non-financial platforms, such as social media or retail websites, allowing smoother, context-integrated financial transactions like shopping loans, real-time payments, and insurance selection.
  • Regulatory Technology (RegTech): To handle increasing regulatory scrutiny and complexity, financial institutions are investing in RegTech solutions. These technologies streamline compliance using data analytics, real-time monitoring, and digital reporting tools.
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality: Some institutions are beginning to explore how virtual and augmented reality can enhance the customer experience. For example, VR could simulate financial scenarios for better decision-making, or AR could overlay helpful financial information in real-world contexts.

Are there any major changes you want to see in your sector?

Better regulation around the AI space is essential. It would be good to see something similar in Ireland to the advice guidance boundary from the UK. This would improve customer service without making financial institutions too nervous to act. Additionally, consideration for low-cost, accessible financial products to support integrating more people into the formal financial system, fostering inclusion and development.

As an employer, are you finding any skill gaps in the market?

As technology continues to play a more significant role in financial services, there is a growing need for tech-savvy professionals who are also experienced in finance. Attracting and retaining skilled talent is becoming increasingly competitive; however, Ireland has a robust skilled talent base. We are headquartered in Ireland and have resources in six different countries; we are fortunate to have access to a highly experienced and talented workforce.

How has the COVID-19 crisis affected your business/sector?

Dimply was born during COVID-19. The founders identified a need to create personalised financial journeys and experiences, so they built a platform that allows us to build, deploy, orchestrate, and embed financial customer experiences into large enterprises at the speed of thought.

How do you define success, and what drives you to succeed?

 Success is about pushing past what you thought was possible, having the mind and body discipline to achieve and stretch your goals, and inspiring those around you to be their best.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business? 

Believe in yourself, dare to show big, and be confident.

What have been your highlights in business over the past year?

Going live with two tier-one Clients in Ireland, Mercer Ireland and AIB Life and creating solutions that position them as digital vanguards in their respective industries.

What’s next for your company?

Expand into the UK, US, and Middle Eastern markets and other verticals outside financial services, such as travel, telecom, health, loyalty, and government.

Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?

To be in the hands of more global enterprises that need to accelerate their roadmaps to meet customers’ growing digital needs and assist them in delivering real-time non-linear living financial plans and journeys and experiences for their client base.

What advice would you have to others starting out in business?

Be curious, courageous, eager, and hungry to succeed; don’t fear the unknown; embrace it, be a sponge and broaden your horizon.

What is the best book you’ve ever read (non-business) and why?

There are many, but one non-business book that had a profound impact on me was Flourishing by Maureen Gaffney.

What is your favourite hobby and why?

I am an avid outdoor enthusiast. I have a deep passion for hiking, walking, and cycling. These activities are hobbies and ways to connect with the natural world and maintain a sense of balance. I love the sense of adventure and the opportunity to challenge myself physically and mentally.

What is your mantra for life?

Everything happens for a reason; take the learning and move forward with no rear-view mirrors.


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