From E-commerce to A-commerce and I-Commerce: what AI means for treasury

Published: Sep 2023

Technological advances like AI, APIs, automation and robotics are transforming how businesses transact with their customers. Bank of America explores Treasury’s role in unlocking the potential of real-time data to support the businesses.

We are in the midst of a new digital revolution. Companies are increasingly transitioning from E-commerce – aka selling goods and services online – to ‘A-commerce,’ an online sales process that is augmented by AI to ensure a seamless user experience for customers.

This transition is particularly evident in sectors that interface directly with consumers, such as retail, healthcare and insurance, but it is also relevant to the business-to-business environment. For example, manufacturing companies might use A-commerce to manage their inventories.

As well as AI, A-commerce is enabled by other technological advances including APIs, automation, data mining and robotics. A-commerce removes human effort and, in many cases, human error from business processes, it potentially eradicates the need for specific processes such as batch processing.

Significantly, the rise of A-commerce is driving opportunity and innovation within the fintech community as companies outsource. For example, companies are outsourcing their accounts payable and accounts receivable processes to third parties, along with certain treasury processes such as netting.

Treasury opportunity

In the past, treasury had to rely on historical data to perform cash forecasting. Now, with the rise of innovations including real-time payments and digital wallets, they can base their forecasting on what is happening at a precise moment in time.


Data from internal and bank systems is not the only data of value to treasuries. External data is also crucial. Different types of external data can enhance the company’s understanding of market trends and identify potential challenges that might hinder its ability to deliver its business strategy. This data might be related to raw material prices, for example, or sales figures for certain products in certain markets.

With so much data in existence, the onus is on treasury to identify and extract the most meaningful information for the company. This is information that can enable the company to plan for the future, navigate opportunity and risk and differentiate itself from competitors.

Real-time information on transactions, combined with external data, will enable treasuries to partner with other functions even more effectively within their companies. They could make strategic recommendations for managing payments made by customers or vendors.

While the shift from E-commerce to A-commerce is a transformative development, the journey doesn’t end there. The next destination is I-commerce or intelligent commerce.

I-commerce is where cognitive intelligence is applied to the automation process so that technology effectively mirrors human thought processes. While I-commerce already exists today, in the form of virtual assistants, for example, it will become more prevalent in future. Technology will increasingly interact with customers in ever more sophisticated ways, removing unnecessary friction from the sales process.

Keep an eye out for next month’s Thought for the Month.

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