by Vaughan Owen, CMO, Acquired.com
Much energy is being spent on finding new ways to extract value, but the potential of payments is hiding in plain sight.
One of the things that really annoys me about “digital disruption” is that anyone is still announcing it as news. It’s like telling a sailor embarking on a journey that there will be weather. The sailor knows this. But they are interested in hearing about advances in technology that will help them navigate their way through impending storms. Announcing the existence of digital disruption isn’t helpful, but real tips on navigating it are.
Many long for quieter times. This is because everyone loves sipping cocktails while sailing on a calm sea. But the fact is we make our greatest leaps forwards during stormy times when we’re feeling out of control, out of depth and in desperate need of help. You only have to ask the nearest analyst, investor or trader about revolutions, and they’ll point out that in the most challenging times lie the greatest opportunities. Without storms there are no rescues, no tests of human endeavour and no heroes.
As we weave our way through this current storm, it’s becoming clear that the expert navigators will not plough through the weather first. We have new sailors who are approaching the seas differently, more flying than sailing, fearlessly skippering the small and nimble hydrofoils of tomorrow, willing to risk everything because they believe that there are better ways to get through the bumpy waters.
Just like those fearless sailors who are questioning everything, tomorrow’s CEOs are challenging their business models, listening to ideas from their developers, their customers and their supply chain, and ripping things apart only to reassemble them in new ways over and over again. Their only certainty is to challenge everything and find new solutions to old problems.
For a moment think back to 1999. The top brands were Coca-Cola, Microsoft and IBM, followed closely by Nokia, Marlboro, McDonalds and Mercedes. Big, predictable and cumbersome, a bit like the Royal Navy of old. Today it’s Apple, Google and Amazon – all tech platforms, all pirates of the sea in a way, that are critical to our lives in a way that 1999’s top three just weren’t. Their very existence is based on a premise of hyper-connectivity where you are becoming the product, a valuable dataset of opportunity – a scary reality that confirms that the flux of change is the business superpower of today.
Even the unthinkable is happening, as more and more organisations start to partner with each other to create more value, resulting in an interconnected web of hybrid, hosted and API connections. These nimble organisations challenge, change, deploy, learn and redeploy in less time than their expert counterparts use for a board meeting.
Despite so much energy being spent on finding new ways to extract value, there are still unchartered waters: payments. Today’s CEOs still see payments as a necessary evil, an annoying cost of doing business. And yet every CFO worth their salt will tell you that payments (and the underlying transactions) are the single source of truth in doing business. Lost in layers of old legacy technology is a treasure trove of transactional data that unlocks value for any organisation.
Most businesses are sitting on goldmines in their payments ecosystem. The problem is that they don’t know where to look. But the right payment partner can unlock this hidden treasure and show you how to use it to your advantage.
With the boardroom conversation shifting to finding better ways of understanding customers and challenging current operating models, payments provide an opportunity to grow your bottom line. Face it, payments remain the lifeblood of your business, and the good news is there is a journey of discovery which is lined with gold nuggets scattered throughout the ecosystem of transactional data.
You just need to look for them. Then you need the right technology to provide you with a digital spade to get to it. Oh, and don’t forget a great team of people that know how, and where to use it!