The Covid-19 pandemic has forced companies to think out of the box and adopt new ways of working to continue to be relevant in the industry. Today we are living in an environment where innovation has become an essential enabler to manage services and operations.
It’s time for individuals and companies to familiarise themselves and operate in this new normal situation as there will be continued pressure on costs and demand for differentiated offerings of products and services going forward.
Here are some processes that are driving efficiency in the payments industry:
1. Standardized platforms and services
The payments industry is evolving rapidly, with both organic and inorganic growth. Many companies may have done quick fixes to a number of processes and systems to remain functional in this dynamic business and regulatory ecosystem. While these measures may work well and yield higher growth in the short term, it is essential to analyse and take quick decisions now to standardize the systems and processes and adapt to new normal. Here is a simple test, if the answer to any of the following questions is yes, then companies have an opportunity for standardization.
- Is your company or department acquired or merged in the last couple of years?
- Do you have multiple information technology applications for managing same business process like customer on-boarding, help desk applications catering to different segments?
- Does your team uses multiple tools for the same process like using different timesheet entry tools for internal use, finance team, and for customer?
- Does your team follow different processes for the same function such as using an enterprise system for compliance, using excel macros to manage day-to-day work?
Technology for automation is fairly advanced now with robotic process automation (RPA) tools like Blueprism, UiPath, Automation Anywhere among others. Considering that payments business involves processing a high volume of transactions on a daily basis, RPA allows eliminating all manual steps in form of batch processing, monitoring and core operations which results in significant improvement in cost of operations and quality of service.
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Innovation in AI technologies has simplified the use of machine learning. It is becoming a valuable tool for improving the decision making process as the outcome is more accurate and fast as compared with manual efforts. Platforms such as IBM Watson, Azure Machine Learning or Google Prediction APIs have enhanced the adoption of AI technology in several areas as they are easy to use; even for users who do not have a deeper understanding of complex AI algorithms.
Simplifying the architecture and design of solutions is more critical today than ever. As organisations grew significantly over the years, enterprise architecture and operating models also got developed incrementally, making the design for any new product or service fairly complex. Innovation in technology helps in making solutions legitimately simple. For example:
- Would you need a high-cost AI-based e-mail processing system or a simple rule-based automated system that can address your basic requirement?
- Would you need a complex API integration with a third-party system where transaction volumes are not that high or use an alternate file based/RPA based system that could be simpler to implement?
A sound review process and due-diligence in validating business case and solution help in making solution simple, relevant and easy to implement.
5. Focus on execution
Ultimately it’s all about execution. In a dynamic payment ecosystem, strong execution focus with adequate governance is essential to ensure that all staff clearly understand and operate on what’s important for business. Agile methodology provides great way of designing and building solutions incrementally with daily stand-ups, product reviews and continuous improvement.
This is an ideal time for companies to retrospect and transform their business and operational processes in order to contribute towards the story of creating a ‘cash-lite’ economy.