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Clouded Judgement?

Whenever a new technology hype cycle starts, there is a stampede of major vendors all vying to be seen as the “hype leader”.  The latest hype cycle to affect the IT industry is cloud based computing. Article after article hails the cloud as a new phenomenon. In the more restrained world of the SWIFT Service Bureau, things are more serious – especially since a properly deployed SWIFT Service Bureau implementation has always been the bench-mark for a secure, resilient cloud based solution.

Corporate treasury teams are custodians of essential business processes that safeguard liquidity and ensure the continued ability to trade is achieved at lowest overall cost and maximum effectiveness. Any manual payments and reconciliation processes involved can be time consuming and susceptible to errors. It is now widely accepted that complete automation of payments and reconciliation processes eliminates error prone and time consuming manual processes as well as leading to improved visibility.

An essential component in any treasury automation project is a connection to SWIFTNet. At one time, this involved the adoption of a proprietary system delivered by one banking partner or the implementation of a direct connection.

Direct connection to SWIFT was seen as costly and burdened with the overheads of maintaining a costly infrastructure. Now, a much greater variety of options for SWIFTNet connectivity are available. Increasing numbers of corporates are selecting the Service Bureau option as delivering the required security, resilience and performance at a sensible price.


Proprietary back office data may require transformation to SWIFTNet format and back again. Selecting a bureau with an embedded message transformation capability minimises the costly impact of changes to legacy systems and keeps project delivery within the scope of a minimum of providers – reducing overall cost and project risk.

Automation of end-of-day and intra-day cash reconciliations enables business critical processes to operate with lower overheads, faster and with greater accuracy. Will automated cash reconciliation be delivered as part of the solution you are considering?

Manual transaction monitoring and the associated administrative cost can make compliance with the requirements of embargo and money laundering legislation problematic. Implementation of automated transaction monitoring as part of the treasury automation solution will eliminate the cost and risks of this manual process.

Resiliance will always be a major consideration in any cloud based solution. It is important to understand how resilience is delivered. Questions to address include the status and location of all the Datacentres in any proposal you are reviewing. Dual-active operation (where any fall-back is to an already live, traffic carrying, infrastructure) will always be more reliable than situations where the fall-back implementation has to be brought in to service from "cold". Geography is a vital consideration. Datacentres need to be far enough apart to ensure that network access points are genuinely diverse. Depending on your requirements, you may wish to consider the option of pan-European Datacentre diversity and to select bureau partners able to offer this.


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