An overflowing trophy cabinet attests to the industry accolades that Bottomline Technologies
has received. In 2016 alone, the global payment solutions company was presented with an array of awards, including the ‘Investors in People’ award, ‘Best User Experience’, ‘Best Small Business Capabilities’, ‘Best Partner’ and ‘Most Open Architecture’ in the Aite Group’s Cash Management Vendor Evaluation, as well as having the UK Government’s ‘Customer Service Excellence Hallmark’ bestowed on it for the fifth year running.
For Nigel Savory, Bottomline Technologies’ Managing Director, EMEA and Global Business Solutions, each prize rewards the investment the company has made in innovation across the entire scope of its business, from new product development to customer relationships. And Nigel points out there is one more to add to the list. “In 2016 we also won the Card and Payments Awards ‘Best Technology Initiative’ for delivering ACH payment rails to the prepaid market, a unique payment solution that offers bank-account-like functionality to prepaid cards. It adds a lot of additional functionality for our customers and it is an innovation award we are very proud of.” According to industry forecasts, cash payments are expected to fall by 34 per cent over the next 10 years, says Nigel. Electronic transactions are, unsurprisingly, “at the forefront of what we are doing,” he continues. Innovation in the domain of business-to-business payments is one of the company’s guiding principles. “The payment market has rapidly changed over the years. It has always been a fast-changing marketplace, but today it is moving arguably more quickly than it has ever done and innovation continues to accelerate at a rapid pace.”
A new platform
As businesses face constant pressure to transform their payment processes to encompass the need for speed, convenience and security, the payment market has become increasingly more complex and regulated. “Our talented teams work incessantly on improving solutions to create value with our clients,” he says. PT-X Payments and Business Solutions Suite, a SaaS-based platform launched by Bottomline Technologies 18 months ago, is one of the results. “It is particularly focused on the mid-market UK payment organisation and offers multiple payment types, such as Bacs, Faster Payments and Direct Debits. It also addresses the new payment regulations and includes a module which addresses payment fraud protection,” explains Nigel.
The new platform has been very well-received, with Nigel adding that Bottomline has managed to attract 5,000 customers in 18 months onto the PT-X platform. It has quickly become the tool of choice for a significant slice of the UK’s business-to-business transactions. Nigel admits that the business-to-business payment space is still lagging behind its business-to-consumer equivalent.
“Applications like Apple Pay and Android Pay propose a highly secure, more convenient way to make immediate payments, and that is really what the business-to-business market is asking for.”
He is currently focused on bringing similar capabilities to the business payment market. “Payment bureaus, cloud platforms, mobile apps and the like are still considered fairly innovative in the business payment space but have been present in the consumer space for some time now.” Back in the 80s, when Nigel first started out in the payment industry, the main mechanism for making payments was the cheque. “The paper cheque,” he clarifies.
A vintage selling point
Today, terms like blockchain are not only finding a way into the everyday vernacular but are opening up new frontiers in the payment industry. This distributed ledger technology is one of two disruptive forces Nigel identifies. The other is immediate payments. “Fast payment initiatives are everywhere,” he says. “We are making payments now that are being received or receipted in literally seconds. It used to be three days. So that is driving a lot of change around the world.”
In a sector where the voices of start-ups tend to be heard the loudest, Bottomline Technologies’ heritage offers a vintage selling point. “We have been in the market for more than 25 years. We have strong and loyal relationships with our customers, helping them over many years with their payment processes and fraud protection. Our heritage is very important,” says Nigel. The company now has what he refers to as a “trusted expert status”.
Nigel lists the company’s talent as another obvious point of differentiation. “We have some very gifted individuals in the organisation who have been in the payment industry for a long time and they understand the business and the market very well.”
A principle of collaboration
The company works hardest on ensuring a principle of collaboration, first and foremost with its customers, as well as with its employees, and its supplier network. “By ensuring we work for and with each other, we create, grow and sustain business value and relationships that all parties can win from.”
“We’ve got some very gifted individuals in the organisation who have been in the payment industry for a long time and they understand the business and the market very well.” – Nigel Savory
As an example, Nigel references the company’s partnership with data centre, Equinix. “We have already secured our infrastructure for Banking, Payments and Legal Spend Management SaaS solutions inside Equinix’s state-of-the art co-location facilities in Secaucus, New Jersey and Ashburn, Virginia.” Home to over 350 financial service companies, Equinix helps build digital ecosystems to securely interconnect companies, drive lower latency and network costs whilst speeding up the time to market. Highlighting the benefits that Equinix deliver, Nigel comments: “Because we process business-critical transactions for thousands of customers, it’s imperative that we can rely on a world class co-location facility and resilient data centre. Equinix offers just that, delivering a highly reliable and available access, and facilitating cross-connects for secure data exchange. As a business partner of choice, Equinix safeguards our data, ensures business continuity and gives us peace of mind.”
The trophy cabinet serves as a constant reminder that Bottomline Technologies is providing the right level of solutions for its clients in this fast changing market. Nigel’s vision for the future is to release B2B payments from the inherent complexities which hold them back and to realise a standardised payments method. “We are trying to fill the vacuum and become the way businesses pay and get paid by making payment simple, secure and seamless.”