As e-commerce continues to grow in popularity, we take a look at a new solution that promises to bring the same ease and convenience to the purchase of treasury technology.
More of us are buying goods and services online today than ever before. Shoppers in the UK, for example, are said to spend almost £1 in every £5 of their shopping via the internet. In the US the figures are even greater, with recent research indicating that 51% of purchases are now being made online.
For consumers, the attraction of online shopping is obvious. Above all, it is convenient. If you want to make a purchase you can do it from your office or home or even when you are on holiday. It removes the need to spend precious time and energy in long queues in crowded stores. It allows consumers to check a multitude of different products quickly, without the need of a salesperson to help them.
When it comes to hardware, software and other IT purchases in the commercial space the potential appeal of online shopping might initially seem somewhat less apparent. Any potential investment in treasury technology is a big decision; the stakes are, of course, a lot higher than buying a book from Amazon. Solutions must be carefully evaluated so as to ensure they are aligned with the treasury department’s requirements, as well as its policies and processes. Buy-in may need to be sought from various stakeholders across enterprise functions, geographies and legal entities and, in order to successfully achieve that, a strong business case constructed.
Might the protracted, time-consuming nature of these preliminary steps negate, to some degree, the convenience benefits of being able to shop for a treasury solution online? Not according to Anis Rahal, CEO and founder of TreasuryXpress, a fintech that just last week announced the launch of what it claims is the first online store for on-demand treasury technology. The TreasuryXpress Lab will offer a growing portfolio of both standalone and add-on financial and treasury products, allowing companies to pick, choose and use the capabilities they need to automate their finances on-demand and in the Cloud. If you require, for example, cash forecasting functionality then you can purchase that without also needing to buy a whole suite of other functionalities along with it.
Rahal, who was himself once a treasurer, believes the online store will cut through a lot of the aforementioned complexity, and ultimately make for a less onerous purchasing experience.
“The Lab is all about how we can make the life of the treasurer easier,” says Rahal. “Often the selection and buying process for treasurers is long and drawn out because they are forced to justify extraordinarily expensive implementation project fees and subscription costs which prompts large decisions by committee. Our solutions eliminate those barriers because they are highly affordable and quick to implement. The Lab products are 100% self-service and our enterprise TMS, C2Treasury, only takes between 2-8 weeks to fully go live.”
A second point relates to the evolution of IT culture. Many IT leaders are moving their entire infrastructures to the Cloud and, consequently, it has become incumbent upon business units to leverage technology that easily complies with changing internal IT protocols. The Lab, he explains, is an extension of the frictionless and on-demand experience the company provides through all its products.
Finally, says Rahal, there is the matter of user experience expectations. Given the considerable proliferation we have seen of frictionless technology in the consumer space, treasurers are now increasingly expecting the same experience in their professional lives. “We are certainly seeing a convergence in user expectations between the consumer space and treasury,” says Rahal. “Above all they want solutions that are accessible, affordable and easy to use.”
The points Rahal makes about there being a growing demand for an online shopping experience in the treasury community appears to be substantiated by the level of interest already visible in the market. In the short time since The Lab was first announced, 25 users have already gone live with Forecast+, a cash forecasting tool that has become The Lab’s inaugural product. And though the chief target market for the solution was initially the SME segment, more than half of the users now live on Forecast+ are what Rahal describes as large corporations, most likely using the tool as an add-on to existing solutions.
So while online shopping has taken considerably less time to become established in the consumer space, the early evidence suggests it could soon be a big hit with corporate treasurers too.