Deutsche Bank: Treasuries May Be Underestimating Mobile Payments Concepts

September 14, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Give Deutsche Bank credit for one thing: it’s looking forward. That’s evidenced by a recent report it sent our way, written on its behalf by The Economist Intelligence Unit. It’s questioning whether some treasurers are underestimating the impact of some key technologies found in mobile payments systems and beyond, like robotics and application programming interfaces (APIs).

Treasurers, for their part, believe themselves ready to take on the future, with 80 percent believing that they have at least most of the skills required to take on changing technology in treasury operations. However, some of the very latest technologies like those mentioned previously may be getting short shrift.

That much became clear when those 80-percent-ready treasurers surveyed were asked to identify the two major technologies that would likely bring the most benefit to the treasury department’s operations in the future. Just eight percent identified robotic process automation, and 13 percent pointed to APIs. The report considered that a potential “lack of awareness of both the scale of these looming changes, as well as the impact they stand to have.”

In turn, Deutsche Bank’s head of cash management Michael Spiegel noted “There’s definitely still a need for development in developing the next-generation treasury. And while confidence is definitely positive, it needs to be founded on a comprehensive understanding of the ongoing technological changes in the market.

One problem with the Deutsche Bank study’s methodology leaps immediately to mind: it’s framing its belief of underestimating technology based on the answer to one question: identify the two most important technologies. This is a subjective question that all but begs diversion; what if the two technologies it had in mind would have been identified in the third and fourth slots? Would Deutsche Bank still believe these technologies under-represented? Perhaps some treasurers had more immediate priorities and considered robotics and APIs more of a “five-years-ahead” strategy rather than tomorrow’s necessity.

Perhaps it’s a small quibble, but Deutsche Bank’s appraisal here may be premature, done with too little information for the sake of making a point. Still, it may have a point—especially as we’ve seen banks struggle with mobile payments—about the overall lack of technical prowess in the field.