Regular readers of this blog will know that I have some passion for integration technology when applied particularly to payments. However, fixing the plumbing is just one part of the challenge that banks face, another is understanding just what exactly is going on within payment operations across the different formats and applications.

As we move from batch to realtime, the requirement for real time analytics and business intelligence becomes more acute. Operations managers need to know about the state of payment operations regardless of client, payment type, delivery channel or settlement method.  This is particularly so when clients are becoming better educated about the payments process, and have higher expectations about the level of service demanded from their banks.

At Microsoft we have a view that in banking “the customer is in control.” This means that they demand when they want to be serviced, what information they need, and made available through what channels. Corporate treasurers are particularly influential in this area. In addition to operational reporting and online inquiry, mobile and web portal access to information is also critical to provide access to payments information.

In the current competitive and regulated payments environment, rapid and direct access to information is essential.  On one hand corporate treasurers demand insight and visibility into their transactions as they endeavor to implement a more integrated financial supply chain using “just in time” concepts learned from manufacturing. On the other hand, banking regulations, payment screening, and liquidity requirements have operations managers demanding a level of insight not easily found from legacy batch processing environments. Yet further still, product managers want to see profitability by product and gain the ability to model the effect of changing features or transaction volumes. 

Although coming from different ends of the payments value chain, these consumers of payments information have the same basic need: reliable and timely insight into payments processing to satisfy clients and mitigate risk.  Achieving answers to these challenges requires a business intelligence (BI) solution that transcends operational and technology silos and enhances the value of integration beyond mere plumbing.