Larry Larmeu is the UK ServiceNow practice lead under Technology Strategy and Transformation. He has over 20 years’ experience in technology, with over 10 years delivering transformation to Financial Services organisations with ServiceNow. He is a member of the Deloitte ServiceNow Financial Services alliance team, providing significant input into the Financial Services strategy and propositions. He is currently leading the development of the Deloitte ServiceNow Financial Services Operations proposition, which enables the company’s FS clients to rearchitect their middle and back-office banking processes to enable true digital end to end connectivity with embedded automation, AI, analytics, controls, and security.
Recently, in an exclusive interview with Digital First Magazine, Larry shared his insights on the impact of technologies like IoT, RPA, and AI on the financial services industry, his career trajectory, current roles and responsibilities, success mantra, piece of advice, and much more. The following excerpts are taken from the interview.
How is IoT/Big Data/AI/Robotics evolving today in the financial services industry as a whole? What are the most important trends that you see emerging across the globe?
FSI has been embracing Big Data and RPA for years now, which is helping firms identify new areas of revenue and cost saving, but there’s still plenty to do there. I think the most interesting and challenging thing happening in the industry right now is the introduction of fintech firms to the market. It’s no secret that traditional firms from the pre-digital age have had mixed results adapting to the digital world. Many of them have digitized their businesses in silos, meaning they could be lacking the cohesive experience that the fintechs provide. However, the traditional firms can also offer a far wider set of products and services. This is something the fintechs are trying to catch up with, but many are finding that the bigger they get, the more products they offer, and the more geographies they operate in, they are starting to run into similar challenges around regulation that the traditional firms face, but with smaller workforces to be able to deal with them. This is one place that I think AI could thrive in the coming years, helping firms to manage their risk and regulatory framework with a smaller, more productive workforce because the AI has the potential to help streamline activities, automate tasks, and reduce duplicate efforts.
Larry, can you tell us about your professional background and areas of interest?
My background is in end user computing and infrastructure, but these days I am mostly focused on customer and employee experience, workforce productivity, data integration and workflow automation. I was lucky to be able to begin my career at age 16 because my high school had an internship program where some of the students were responsible for the installation and maintenance of all the tech in the school. After university I began my career working in infrastructure, installing and configuring storage and private cloud systems for mid-to-large size enterprises, and I later became an infrastructure architect at a bank in my hometown of New Orleans. It’s there that I discovered ServiceNow while trying to build some automated workflows, and I eventually became the ServiceNow platform lead for the bank where my focus changed more to process redesign and workflow automation. After a few years in that role I moved into Consulting, and that led to a move from the US to the UK, and eventually into my current role at Deloitte.
Brief us about ServiceNow. How does ServiceNow help digitize and unify organizations so that they can find smarter, faster, better ways to make workflow?
Over the last 10-15 years many companies have been busy with “digital transformation,” but quite often they’ve been treating this as a series of siloed projects that digitize some of the higher priority products or functions, often leaving the organization in a mixed state when it comes to things like data quality, automation, and visibility. ServiceNow allows users to take any workflow, such as a customer journey or an employee request, and turn it into an orchestrated end-to-end experience, allowing everyone to see all the steps taken, actions and approvals required, elapsed time, and any other pertinent information along the way. This allows work to pass seamlessly across multiple functions, departments, or even companies, and maintain the visibility and auditability of the process. As a result, end users can see real-time status updates for their pending work, process and product owners are able to identify areas for improvement, and auditors are able to see in real-time whether processes are in or out of compliance instead of relying on point-in-time audits. ServiceNow’s robust integration hub means all this work can take place in the various systems that each user does their work in and still be reflected back into one single workflow, meaning it can increase productivity with minimal disruption.
What do you do at Deloitte and what impact do you make?
We’re quite a matrixed organization at Deloitte, which means we typically hold multiple roles at once. My primary role is as the UK ServiceNow practice lead, where I oversee all aspects of the business along with my leadership team that drives our sales, delivery, operations, and people agendas. We are one of the fastest growing alliances at Deloitte, spreading across our Consulting, Risk Advisory, Tax and Legal businesses, and one of ServiceNow’s top Alliance Partners the region both from a sales and a delivery quality aspect.
Along with this, I also serve as one of the members of our global Financial Services industry team for ServiceNow, leading our strategic messaging, solutions, and assets. Historically, ServiceNow is well known for serving internal functions like IT, HR, and Risk, but I see the future of ServiceNow moving further into verticalized work like financial services operations, where Deloitte are building solutions for things like payments servicing, loan servicing, exception management, and client onboarding. Other colleagues are also building similar solutions for other verticals, such as Life Science on Now that orchestrates workflows like research and development or clinical trials, along with University in a Box that helps higher education to better connect their students, faculty, and staff.
What, personally, has allowed you the success you have had in the role of an enterprise technology transformation leader?
I think anyone who has worked with me would tell you that I am heavily focused on building for the future. Early in my career I saw too many examples of companies implementing 2-3 year programs to implement something that they have seen one of their competitors do successfully. It’s likely 1-2 years since the competitor has gone live with this solution if we’re able to see the results, so hypothetically if we take 2-3 years to implement something similar, we’re now 3-5 years behind that competitor by the time we’ve gone live. It’s critical to build for the future, and not only that, but to stay current with an active continuous improvement program, so we don’t have to periodically run huge transformation programs to catch up with everyone else. Along with that, I believe strongly in empowering my team to drive their own initiatives and their careers. As a business leader, empowering my team to be able to do what they need to do successfully is more powerful than anything I can achieve as an individual.
What is it that motivates and inspires you in your everyday life?
My main motivation is just to make anything I get involved in better. Whatever I can do to improve experiences for my colleagues, my clients, my friends and family, that is what I want to do. I get a great sense of accomplishment when I know I am making even the smallest difference for others. As far as inspiration, I am the kind of person that likes to take in a lot of information. I listen to podcasts, read articles, and keep up with the news. When I attend conferences, I often seek out sessions from other industries, as I find that I can take a lot more inspiration for creative solutions from other industries much more than I can from listening to people in the financial services world, as we all tend to be dealing with the same things. I’m a keen traveller, as well, and think that there’s a lot that we can learn from how other countries and cultures do things. That is one of the things that brought me to the UK from the US, the ability to travel and see different perspectives and ways of living.
What are you particularly proud of in your career?
A couple of times in my career I have received awards around my leadership and people management, which were voted on by members of my team. To me, there’s no greater achievement than being recognized as someone that is great to work with and great to work for. That made me very proud, and also very grateful to the great role models I have had in the past that helped me to shape the leadership philosophy that I have for my career.
What are your passions outside of work?
I’ve always been very interested in sports, and I co-founded a website that was focused on scouting American football players while at university. When I graduated, I had a decision to make, I was either going to pursue a master’s degree in Sports Management or find a job in technology. Technology won out in the end, but I have still maintained an interest in sports over the years and can often be found attending games. I also enjoy spending time with my family, watching TV shows and movies, live music, and live comedy shows.
What is your biggest goal? Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
Right now, my biggest goal is to establish ServiceNow as a key platform in the financial services industry. I started working with ServiceNow back in 2011 focusing on IT, and by 2014 my team was developing solutions for the bank that I was working for at the time around loan servicing, wire transfer approvals, fraud investigation, and various other internal bank functions. What we were able to deliver with ServiceNow was both better from a user standpoint and also quicker to go live than anything we could do in the other systems that we were building process and workflow automation on, and it was at that time that I realized the future for ServiceNow would be so much more than IT or HR. ServiceNow released the Financial Services Operations product back in 2019 with Deloitte as the lead collaborator, and we are investing heavily to be the top ServiceNow Alliance Partner in FSI and help ServiceNow capture this substantial market. I hope that in 5 years I am the go-to person for both ServiceNow and my Deloitte colleagues when it comes to digitizing front, middle, and back-office functions in financial services.
What advice would you offer others looking to build their career in the financial services industry?
The industry is at a pivotal point right now, there are so many processes that have been difficult to automate and streamline over the last 10+ years due to matters like complicated architectures and poor data quality that are about to be unlocked by artificial intelligence (AI). Investments in fintech are also driving huge improvements in user experience for customers and employees alike, and the idea of what it means to be a bank, an insurer, or an investment broker is changing. Physical financial centers are closing, in lieu of more and more digital interactions. Changing financial providers is easier than ever, which means maintaining customer loyalty will likely become more and more difficult. Think about how you can use next-generation technology to improve customer experiences, make peoples’ lives easier, and at the lowest cost possible. Think about how internal processes have the potential to enhance employee experience to ensure that firms are able to keep top talent on staff. Finally, focus on making sure the improvements you are making are scalable – I have seen so many firms invest in improvement programs that didn’t succeed because they were able to make a difference at a small scale but failed to be adopted across the wider firm.
To read more about Deloitte’s Financial Services Point of View for ServiceNow, please visit
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