Matt Tengwall Of Verint Fraud & Security Solutions: “Embrace remote work”

Embrace remote work. Remote work within digital transformation is no longer a unique perk; it has become paramount to long-term success, with many major organizations implementing a permanent shift to remote work in the aftermath of the pandemic. Matt Tengwall is General Manager of Verint Fraud & Security Solutions. Before this role, he served as […]

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Embrace remote work. Remote work within digital transformation is no longer a unique perk; it has become paramount to long-term success, with many major organizations implementing a permanent shift to remote work in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Matt Tengwall is General Manager of Verint Fraud & Security Solutions. Before this role, he served as Vice President of sales in the North American market for Verint. Over the course of his career, he has focused on building strong strategic partnerships and alliances, creative sales strategies, and educational tools for customers.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Sure. In June 2000, I started with Lanex LLSC, which was acquired by Verint in 2006. Currently, I am General Manager of Verint Fraud and Security Solutions. Before this role, I served as Vice President of Sales in the North American market for Verint. Over the course of my career, I have focused on building strong strategic partnerships and alliances, creative sales strategies, and educational tools for customers. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with leaders with extensive knowledge in solution selling, business development operations, and product management, which has attributed positively to my industry knowledge and leadership skills.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

Flying into the wrong city. I flew into Tulsa, but I was supposed to be in Oklahoma City. I realized it was a two-hour drive to get to where I needed to be, but when I woke up in Tulsa, there were three inches of snow on the ground, and I hadn’t prepared for that at all. Lesson learned: be prepared. Whether it’s a sales meeting, travel, you name it — preparation is key regardless of your role.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Different leaders at different stages in my career and their capabilities — regardless of your boss, you always learn right from wrong. I was fortunate and the business was fortunate to have them. Needless to say, I learned a lot from each of them about growing the organization. The right people and the right processes and have really helped me and the business. Sometimes people and processes are more important than anything else. From building a start-up to building processes to positioning for growth.

Learn the good and the bad and take that into your leadership qualities.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Glengarry Glen Ross is a classic and always fun to watch. Outside of that, there’s a book called Solution Selling; I read it right out of college and that created some structure in my selling, helped develop my skills and laid a foundation for a rookie. It also created a mindset for me. I needed that structure coming out of school. Over 20 years later and it still resonates with me.

Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your company started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?

Actionable intelligence has been the lead driver in the growth of purpose of the company.

Are you working on any new, exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?

Cloud migration. The financial industry has been talking about the cloud for a long time, though widespread adoption has been slow. Most banks have chosen a hybrid approach — in lieu of full cloud adoption — in which they utilize cloud infrastructure for only certain functions. The main reason for this being the barriers of cost and bandwidth. But now, as the pandemic is seemingly winding down, we’re seeing a resurgence of demand in banking services, and banks are anxious to get cloud technology in place following an onslaught of the volume of everyday transactional business. Cloud migration is now a non-negotiable to stay relevant. Verint is one of the innovators in this solution for the banking world with merging cloud and security.

Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion about Digital Transformation. For the benefit of our readers, can you help explain what exactly Digital Transformation means? On a practical level what does it look like to engage in a Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is a phrase that spans many industries but for financial institutions, a digital transformation is a shift to online and mobile services — which we’ve seen skyrocket amid the pandemic. The forced shift to social distancing measures, bank closures, and virtual services left many banks and credit unions scrambling to adopt the new technologies that made this transition possible. As consumer needs and wants to be pivoted, competition among financial institutions has intensified — making digital transformation a necessity, not an option.

The biggest barrier banks often face in implementing a digital transformation strategy is the legacy technology that many of them still operate under; so, when it comes to changing the existing IT architecture and implementing a new system, it’s often an arduous and expensive task.

Which companies can most benefit from a Digital Transformation?

Nearly every vertical market can benefit from a digital transformation. The pandemic has changed the social and economic landscape, forcing businesses to scrutinize their digital transformation strategy, re-think how technology can help them navigate through the crisis, and adapt to the new (largely remote) work environment. If there is one thing the pandemic has shown us, it is that businesses should not only be proactive in times of uncertainty — they must also be predictive and plan ahead for potential catastrophes.

We’d love to hear about your experiences helping others with Digital Transformation. In your experience, how has Digital Transformation helped improve operations, processes, and customer experiences? We’d love to hear some stories if possible.

AI is a central enabler of the digital transformation and internally, we’ve seen that implementing AI and analytics are critical when it comes to understanding customer sentiment and needs and establishing a loyal customer base. At Verint, we’ve found that it’s important for organizations to assess AI and analytics to ensure their strategy aligns with the business goals. By matching your AI and analytics initiatives to actual business outcomes and getting serious about data quality, organizations then have the potential to power next-level customer engagement.

Has integrating Digital Transformation been a challenging process for some companies? What are the challenges? How do you help resolve them?

We’re seeing opposite ends of the spectrum: while reportedly, four out of five financial institutions believe that digitalization will fundamentally transform the industry’s competitive landscape, only 57% have a digital strategy. I attribute this to the fact that digital transformation is not easy: nearly 70% of digital transformation attempts fail. But failure truly isn’t an option. Banks have to embrace the customer-centric digital transformation or risk being left behind as 79% of banking customers want their bank to offer more all-digital banking options in the future. The biggest problem is that in many organizations, departments operate in silos — and that disconnect becomes difficult to navigate and overcome when attempting to digitize.

Ok. Thank you. Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are “Five Ways a Company Can Use Digital Transformation to Take It to The Next Level”? Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Embrace remote work. Remote work within digital transformation is no longer a unique perk; it has become paramount to long-term success, with many major organizations implementing a permanent shift to remote work in the aftermath of the pandemic.
  2. Take note of convergence. The growing connection between cyber, IT, and physical security is one of the biggest changes in today’s market. We see this most in the financial sector, where C-level executives are focusing on protecting corporate assets, client data, and personnel while ensuring brand protection. This convergence drives stronger alignment of security resources and leadership, which now work in a cohesive manner to ensure business continuity. This collaboration is a critical combination because modern enterprises require a comprehensive approach to security that takes into account risks from every facet of the business. First, we saw convergence in electronic systems, and now we’re experiencing it from an organizational perspective. It’s a pretty awesome industry development.
  3. Don’t forget about AI. Artificial intelligence (AI) has a major role to play in a digital transformation. While AI in risk management is not new, AI as part of the customer-centric digital transformation strategy is still in its infancy. Some even say that the banking industry will only achieve digital transformation once AI is integrated into the systems that support both back-office and customer-facing functions as this is how AI’s full capabilities can be truly leveraged. For instance, AI can provide insight into changing customer behavior, market conditions, and vulnerable business actions to avoid in the future. This data, and the answers it provides, presents financial institutions with greater opportunities for growth — a major boon as the landscape becomes increasingly competitive.
  4. Take a look at your security. There’s increased focus on the Internet of Things (IoT) and demand for more mobile capabilities. But with increased network connectivity comes the need for increased security for physical assets, networks, and valuable corporate data. Foster that dialogue between IT, cybersecurity, and physical security teams to help gain a greater knowledge of how to best collaborate and communicate to assist in determining vulnerabilities in a more proactive manner.
  5. Establish a cohesive communication platform. With employees working remotely or in hybrid situations for the foreseeable future, invest in a communication platform that is intuitive, secure, and reliable. How do you do that? Well, start by evaluating daily workflow and match the solution to workflow and your business model.

In your opinion, how can companies best create a “culture of innovation” in order to create new competitive advantages?

Encourage your employees to communicate their ideas. We hire people based on their expertise and potential; so, be open to their ideas and listen to what they have to say. Often, they have insight from a different perspective that could benefit the organization overall and help maintain, or create, a competitive advantage.

Customer involvement and the voice of the customer are critical and having people in charge of the roadmap be a heavily involved influence that the innovation has. That impact means something. What we do matters. It’s important for research and development and product management to understand the impact they have on development.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My uncle, who was an executive at an electronic distributor company, would always make the first call of the day and the last call of the day. His saying was, “if you work hard, you will get ahead.” He also said if you’re not calling your customers, someone else is. That would put the fear of the competitive landscape at the top of your mind.

How can our readers further follow your work?

You can visit us online at or connect with me on LinkedIn to stay updated on all things Verint.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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