Beyond Buzzwords: Focusing on Execution in Payments

Beyond Buzzwords: Focusing on Execution in Payments

Beyond Buzzwords: Focusing on Execution in Payments

Patrick Reemts

Patrick Reemts

Patrick Reemts defines, packages and delivers account originations and consumer authentication solutions for TSYS. Previously, Reemts worked at ID Analytics, where he ran its wholly owned subsidiary, SageStream, a credit reporting agency.

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Who doesn't love a good payments industry thought piece? Articles, blogs, tweets – I'm addicted to them all.

My colleagues and I race to share the most relevant stories every morning to make sure we keep each other informed on the latest and greatest in our industry. In the last few years, however, we've all seen such an increase in the use of buzzwords that it's becoming harder to tell the real news from the artfully crafted marketing stories. (Don't think it isn't lost on me that I'm writing a blog article).

Amongst all the jargon, however, I see organizations increasingly paralyzed by these massive, amorphous initiatives in a race to keep their products and technology up to date. At the end of the day, when it comes to ensuring your large, complex organization isn't falling behind, it's not just about your 'digital' strategy or 'CX' (customer experience) – it's about executing against those ideas. This ability to execute has always separated successful companies from those that get left in the dust, and always will.

Common issues for companies

In fact, an inability to execute is the most common detractor I see to organizations developing, maintaining and sometimes sunsetting their offerings. And I mean that for both consumer-facing organizations and the companies behind them developing the products and services that enable those consumer interactions. Often, great strategies get left on the table due to the tyranny of the 'now' because it was easier to answer a client's immediate need than set up a plan and a strategy to answer their long-term business objectives.

The paralyzing sentiments we most commonly see are:

  1. "There is so much — where do we begin?"
  2. "Who can I look to in my organization to lead this?" and
  3. "How am I going to pay for all of this?"

In this three-part series, I will discuss each of the paralyzers and the most common ways we see organizations breaking through these barriers. So, let's begin with the "Where do we begin?" question.

So, where do we begin?

The answer is simple: with an inventory. You'd be surprised how many organizations move forward with ideas without realizing the real barriers to creating better products, services and experiences.

Often times, there are pockets of an organization that have solved problems that are pervasive elsewhere. Don't despair – it's actually a sign of having a high-performing workforce when a group has solved a problem without realizing other colleagues elsewhere in the company could use the same solution. So a good old-fashioned inventory of technology capabilities, barriers and business needs conducted by a single, cross-functional and consistent team is where you begin.

Believe it or not, you can even make it fun — ask your lead engineers what they hate the most about their jobs — often times you'll get answers that point to an old technology, a labor-intensive documentation process or a process that was developed decades ago to protect the organization from bad decisions. Those raw moments, when assembled, can galvanize your understanding of where the real problems are. Of course, you must be careful not to turn it into a group-bashing fest. Keep the inventory to technology and processes — not people!

Wide-reaching benefits

The benefits to canvassing your teams to look for problems are wide reaching. Often times you'll find people who actually know how to solve these problems, who are just never given the freedom or time to improve their own processes. You may even find that there are already solutions to problems that simply lived in another part of your organization. Moreover, you'll learn just how passionate (or not) your team is about the greater company goal — most of your employees likely want to affect the bottom line, but are stuck behind a process that has outlived its usefulness. You might even get a wash of relief when folks are allowed to shake up their own systems — something that is often frowned upon politically. It can actually be cathartic.

But the biggest benefit you'll receive is in clearly identifying the most common challenges your business and technology teams face. And as opposed to work from anecdotal evidence, you'll have the start of a fact-based justification for investing in new technologies. By identifying common issues, you'll find common points of benefit – and ROI to boot.

So if you find yourself stuck in a cycle where everyone from your c-suite down knows you need to move forward, but doesn't know where to start — start from the beginning. I'm confident you'll be surprised at the outcome.

The statements and opinions of the writer do not necessarily reflect those of TSYS.

Other Articles by Patrick

Patrick Reemts

Patrick Reemts defines, packages and delivers account originations and consumer authentication solutions for TSYS. Previously, Reemts worked at ID Analytics, where he ran its wholly owned subsidiary, SageStream, a credit reporting agency. There, he launched one of the most successful alternative credit product sets in the lending industry, including the first-ever credit score using convolutional neural networks.

Prior to ID Analytics, Reemts spent almost 10 years at a variety of the largest U.S. consumer lending institutions, including Discover Financial Services, Wells Fargo and HSBC. His focus has primarily been in managing credit and fraud risk, new account acquisition systems and portfolio profitability. Inside of large financial institutions, Reemts has built enterprise class risk decision engines, leveraged machine learning solutions and implemented big data distributed platforms.

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