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Finding the Gentle Giant's Pot of Gold

If you’ve been following this blog, I’d like to think I’ve built my case, and you’re in agreement that it’s time to start running payments as a business. In keeping with the original theme, we must first wake the gentle giant, and re-examine payments data centers as a potential revenue stream. In doing so, we realize that many payments data centers have weight issues, and will require a significant decrease in total cost of ownership before transforming into a source of revenue. So, what’s next? As a field expert, I do know that there’s no point in starting a diet without an obvious reason. Revolutionary material, indeed.

Where do we want to take our payments data centers? Where the money is of course, but what, exactly, is that pot of gold?

Is it mobile payments or mobile money? In terms of revenue, growth, and penetration of a mobile payments system, many business models have been tried and tested, and while we’re beginning to see the first models that generate revenue, few have hit the nail on the head with regard to sustainability. Most banks, telecom companies, and technology vendors are placing their bets right now.  The incubation time is over, interesting times are ahead.

Is it corporate servicing?  I regularly attend meetings with both banks and corporations, to discuss deeper integration and faster on-boarding of payments systems. Corporations want to reduce errors associated with manual processing, and lower the cost of multiple bank relations. Banks want to better utilize their global transaction services integration teams, and start servicing their corporate customers faster, and with higher value-added services. The appetite is certainly there, and so is the technology.  Don’t get me wrong, many banks do have corporate channels that work like a charm.  But, just as many operate in a lose-lose model, with a dependency on IT integration coming from the corporate side.  I’m just now seeing the first banks roll out true plug-and-pay (pun intended), corporate-to-bank integration for payments and value-added services, such as eInvoicing and cash management. With the right mindset, it is possible to eliminate much of the costs associated with these systems.  And while we’re at it, can we finally sort out electronic bank account management?

Or perhaps the next big money-maker is globalization. Global financial systems do put increased pressure on banks, but they are transforming, as well. If we can evolve from national infrastructures into a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), why can’t financial institutions gain the ability to become more agile in selling products in a globalized economy? Maybe that’s the proverbial pot of gold at the other side of the rainbow.

What do you think? Where will your next big revenue success come from?

What is your gentle giant’s next pot of gold?

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