01 November 2014

B2B Payments

Andrew Owens - SunGard AvantGard

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Getting internal buy-in for a Payment Factory project

28 August 2013  |  2051 views  |  0

I recommend that you start by looking at the overall vision of what you are trying to achieve.  You will want to ensure that this vision ties in with at least one of the broader visions of the company.  There are many different reasons why companies implement payment factories (PF), from reducing fraud risk to increasing cash visibility to reducing costs. 

Once the vision is set and it has been aligned to one of the goals of your company, look at the way the PF will be deployed and establish who the principal stakeholders will be.  For example, for companies that have a centralised model with shared service centres (SSCs), the principle stakeholders will include the head of the SSC, the financial controller or CFO and the Group Treasurer.  For more decentralised companies where the different entities enjoy a large amount of autonomy, the stakeholders will likely all be at the group level, including the CFO and the Group Treasurer.  Of note – the Treasurer is typically always a stakeholder because, as the traditional holder of the bank relationships, Treasury will always be involved. 

Once you have those stakeholders identified, they need to be brought on board.  This requires being able to demonstrate the benefits of going ahead with the project.  And the message should be tailored to the different stakeholders.  Increased cash visibility across all accounts may be of great interest to the Treasurer but a financial controller may be more interested in how a PF project can save costs and reduce fraud.   Sometimes there is even too much focus on the cost saving aspects of a payments centralisation project – PFs also facilitate growth.  Implementing a centralised process and infrastructure, using modern technology and corporate to bank standards not only allows for growth in payment volume but makes the onboarding of new banks and new countries a straightforward process.  In essence, meaning one less barrier to expanding your business into new countries / regions. 

In building support internally you also need to provide some detail on project costs, implementation timelines and the expected ROI.  There is a wealth of information in the public domain on payment factories but either engaging with a consultancy firm that specialises in payments or working with key technology partners is probably the best way to get some reliable data that can be fed into the internal business case.  Finally, attend industry events or talk to other companies that have embarked upon or completed a payment factory project.  Find out from them whether the project was a success and delivered the benefits expected.  And then pass that information on internally to get the buy in you need.

Have you implemented a Payment Factory project?  What, if any, difficulties did you encounter

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Andrew Owens

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SVP - Enterprise Payments

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SunGard AvantGard

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