The Treasurer’s Voice: New Technology & Social Media
by Helen Sanders, Editor
With the arrival of the iPad 3 (in time for my birthday, hurrah!) huge expansion of the mobile and tablet market, and frequent reports of the penetration of social media into almost every aspect of our lives, is the use of new technology and social media amongst treasurers living up to the hype? Or could the question be posed another way: are treasurers, together with their banks and suppliers, leveraging the potential of new technology?
This month’s survey attracted somewhat fewer responses than the two we have run most recently. This comes as no surprise. Unless they have a technical background or experience, many people in treasury and finance lack confidence when discussing technology. In reality, using the right technology and leveraging new communication methods have the potential to make treasury tasks and information flows easier, more convenient, and less complex. If it seems incomprehensible, it’s probably not the right tool. This report looks at the findings from TMI’s most recent reader survey, focusing firstly on the use of new technology and secondly, social media, with contributions from Treasury Strategies, Inc., SunGard Corporate Liquidity and SEB.
Use of new technology
Figure 1 illustrates that a minority of treasurers are currently making use of new technologies in their professional roles, such as mobile devices, SaaS or Cloud-based solutions or specific new functionality such as eBAM (electronic bank account management). The most popular technology currently in use is mobile technology (23%) which is not surprising as it also the most established. Scott Coffing, President, SunGard Corporate Liquidity, comments,
“We hear many people talking about mobile applications. Our customers are frequently on the road or work in a flexible or virtual environment and they need access to their workspaces from anywhere. We are responding to this demand with the latest releases of our software.”
A larger proportion, however, have plans to engage with these technologies in the future. Banks are also developing their mobile offerings rapidly, and their customers are making use of them. For example, Citi recently announced that $1bn of transactions had been processed through CitiDirect® BE Mobile.
eBAM is the clear winner in terms of future technology plans, with more than half of respondents either currently implementing eBAM or planning to do so. This is an interesting finding, and suggests that treasurers are more attracted to solutions that deliver specific business benefits as opposed to placing a particular value on the method of deployment. Scott Coffing, SunGard explains,
“Many of our customers are asking us about eBAM. The current process of bank account management is labour-intensive, time consuming and error-prone. eBAM software applications automate and modernise the process to allow treasury departments to make better use of their resources and to provide them with more transparency and accuracy.”