Business Payments in the Cloud: Debunking the Myths Once and for All
Like most technological advances, cloud computing got its start shrouded in a fog of misunderstanding and some well-deserved skepticism. Take for example a whitepaper from 2015 by EY Advisory called “Finance in the Cloud where it explains to its reader “A new era of cloud-based technology brings an unprecedented period of disruption and innovation. However, cloud technology is still immature and has many associated risks.”
It’s a quaint retrospective, reminiscent of the time when desktop computers started to become widely used in the 1980s. Everyone was in awe, more than a little fearful of those mysterious boxes that hulked threateningly on people’s desks. The fact that those computers could also supposedly store data on flimsy contraptions called floppy disks was even more suspicious, making the whole notion of desktop computing difficult to comprehend, let alone accept.
Now, we hardly give these technologies a second thought. The evolution of cloud technology, specifically as it relates to business payments, has been especially interesting.
In Gartner’s research report “Finance Moving to the Cloud: The Steps to Take and the Benefits You Can Expect,” it’s recognized that the business payments industry is now at a tipping point with cloud technology, having lagged behind other areas such as human resources and procurement in terms of adoption. Gartner predicts spending on cloud based applications will increase to 47% of the total market spend by 2020 (up from 30% in 2015) – and that by 2025, cloud will become the dominant deployment model across all areas of financial management applications.
It’s no surprise that cloud adoption has been slow for business payments, especially in a world where paper checks still circulate and business finances are often managed in Excel spreadsheets. The time is now for organizations to put technology at the core of their business. To accept that the initial concerns surrounding the cloud no longer exist and that the benefits have the power to propel business payments (and therefore businesses themselves) into a future that’s simpler, smarter and more secure.
Let’s dispel these cloud myths once and for all.
Myth: Migrating to the cloud is too complicated.
There’s no denying that change of all types is complicated because it means moving away from familiar practices that deliver trusted results. But it’s generally the case that change – despite its challenges –brings about such significant improvements. And that’s precisely the case with implementing cloud solutions for business payments.
The simplicity that cloud technology delivers to business payment processes can be transformative. There are the tactical benefits it provides such as faster deployment time, as well as the strategic advantages it offers that have even more impact, such as the improved ability to stay ahead of changes in an evolving payments landscape.
Implementation and upgrades
Staying up-to-date with current releases of mission-critical payment software is quicker and more streamlined in the cloud because there’s no individual configuration process, plus the latest versions and features available to all clients easily and on-demand. Many cloud payments solutions are built to easily integrate with a business’s ERP or accounting system, enabling them to take advantage of best-of-breed payment capabilities while ensuring easy exchange of data between systems and a single source of truth.
Compliance & regulations
The storage of sensitive customer payment data can be outsourced to a trusted solution provider, which limits the exposure to fraud or hacking, and reduces the burden of assessments and audits. Providers also take on the responsibility of making investments in the latest compliance infrastructure and keep up to date with ongoing changes in the regulatory environment. This helps insulate customers from disruption and ensures that investments made in a solution today continue to serve customers well into the future.
Adaptability is inherent in cloud-based systems because they have the power to easily expand and contract to meet business needs. This can happen without jeopardizing the infrastructure’s stability, performance, security, or compliance protocols. It also eliminates the need for massive investments of time and financial resources in local infrastructure.
Myth: the cloud doesn’t offer enough benefit to support the risk of switching from tried and true processes
We’ve all heard the adage about working smarter, not harder. And yet businesses around the globe continue to struggle with manual, time-intensive payment processes, mired in old-school methodologies that are nothing more than barriers to success. When the mantra of innovation is so pervasive, threatening organizations with irrelevance if they can’t (or won’t) innovate — why not take advantage of technology that could eliminate any process that doesn’t have a front line strategic objective? The ways in which the cloud can help organizations operate more intelligently are compelling.
By eliminating the anchor of legacy technology with heavy upgrade processes, organizations are able to move much more quickly. They can accelerate strategic objectives, make smarter, faster decisions and take advantage of opportunities that otherwise aren’t possible. Cloud payment solutions provide businesses with easier access to robust analytics, as these solutions can easily integrate with multiple disparate back-office or accounting systems across offices, bank relationships, and geographies.
Since cloud payment solutions are easily accessible online with verified log-in credentials, they foster greater collaboration between business colleagues and partners. For example, Bottomline Technologies’ B2B payment network, Paymode-X, allows buyers and suppliers to share a single view of payment status, easily exchange documents such as W9’s and insurance information, and locate other member trading partners they can transact with electronically. This online collaboration through websites and portals eliminates unnecessary, time-consuming phone calls and emails between parties and makes relevant information available to those who need it, when they need it.
Given the significantly lower total cost of ownership the cloud provides, the elimination of up front capital expenditures, and the efficiencies that can be gained from process improvements in the form of streamlined workflows, the cost savings available to a business that moves their payment processes to the cloud cannot be overstated. Additionally, most cloud payment providers offer pricing models centered on actual usage, so businesses pay only for what they need. All of these benefits add up to a business reality that’s unquestionably smarter (and far less difficult) than ever could be achieved without the cloud.
Myth: Cloud solutions aren’t secure.
Most businesses have a heightened security focus, which is understandable given the fact that 74% of organizations were victims of payment fraud in 2016. But the continued belief that cloud technology is inherently insecure no longer has any basis in reality, as evidenced by the “2017 Cloud Security Report”:
“…on premise IT infrastructure is more likely to be attacked, more often, and through a broader spectrum of attack vectors than cloud-based infrastructures, countering security concerns about the cloud.”
This isn’t to downplay security fears. 84% of corporates indicated that payments fraud has increased over the past year and those concerns need to be taken very seriously.
But organizations don’t have to take on the challenge of defending against fraud threats alone. Payment security is a highly specialized practice and cloud payment providers must understand the nuances of threat detection and prevention. Such providers can implement a comprehensive security strategy that takes advantage of best-in-class practices like real time analytics and behavior monitoring, stopping fraud threats before they can even cause an issue. By sharing in the responsibility of payment security with a proven and trusted provider, organizations can rest easy knowing that they have done their very best to protect their payments.
Trepidation about technological advances is not new, but it is understandable. But cloud technology has paid its dues, evolving over the past decade to help a growing number of banks and corporates accelerate the growth of business. The growth of your business will need to rely on back-end business payment process that are simple, smart and secure – isn’t it time you took advantage of the cloud technology you need to make it happen?
About Jessica Moran – General Manager, Paymode-X Business Solutions
Jessica understands the value of putting customers first, and leverages this in managing Bottomline’s Cloud Payments sales, product management, product development, and partner relationships. She drives Bottomline’s innovative Paymode-X platform, and is passionate about changing the way businesses pay and get paid.
With nearly 20 years’ experience leading product management, professional services, marketing and field operation and support teams worldwide, at companies such as Microsoft and Computer Associates, Jessica is a proven high-tech B2B executive.