Interview

How can treasurers keep up with the industry changes – interview with TIS and TIPCO

Tuesday 30 March 2021 08:33 CET | Editor: Alin Popa | Interview

Martin Lehmann, TIS, and Alexander Fleischmann, TIPCO, shared insights on the challenges encountered by treasurers and how to address strategic business priorities


What can you tell us about the story of TIS and that of TIPCO? What are the offerings that the companies bring to the table? 

Martin Lehmann: TIS and TIPCO have a strong history of delivering cash management, forecasting and analytics services to our clients over the past decade. 

TIS is focused on providing the best end-to-end and secure payment experience to clients, based on cloud technology and connectivity. We connect a customer’s ERP systems (e.g. through our SAP plugin) with over 11,000 banks via the customer’s preferred payment channel (Host to Host, API, EBICS, SWIFT, etc.). This means a very extensive format library to provide exactly the right connectivity. We supply our customers with services such as workflow management, fraud prevention, and analytics. TIS and TIPCO already have more than 25 joint customers in the mid- to large-size corporate space. Some of these companies originally chose the two systems based on an independent search or RfP processes. Hence the companies formalised the partnership by developing a joint, product-based value proposition.

Alexander Fleischmann: Our services are connected via APIs, which ensure secure sharing of data on accounts, payments, and bank statements across our solutions. Our customers can conveniently log onto both systems using a Single-Sign-On. Building on the cash visibility TIS provide, our Treasury Information Platform (TIP) allows treasurers to forecast, report, and perform scenario analyses on the development of group-wide cash in the short-, medium-, and long-term in a highly automated fashion. This is achieved by drawing on all relevant data from ERPs, TMS or other source systems and by employing state-of-the-art predictive analytics methods. On top of this, TIP supports all other key treasury processes by connecting formerly isolated pools of data via smart, digital workflows. 

What are the current pain points and challenges for treasurers and how can these be addressed? What about the key watchwords for treasurers and payments professionals? 

ML: Our CSO and Co-Founder, Jörg Wiemer (formerly Head of Treasury at SAP), has always explained that the reason he wanted to start TIS was due both to the pain of not knowing exactly how much cash he had in each location on a real-time basis,  and to the agony of connecting his payment files to all his different banks. He was tired of trying to configure his treasury operations to fit bank or ERP requirements (configurations) when what he wanted was an easy-to-use multi-bank solution. These problems still exist, of course, only now there is a solution! Going beyond visibility and connectivity, the next issue for the treasurer is the ability to forecast and better analyse cash and liquidity positions.  

Digitalisation has made many things easier and more transparent for treasury and finance teams, however it has also created an open flank to security breaches.  We are continually working to further enhance our services in this area, based on technology and client data. One example is the recent partnership with the Deutsche Bank to bring cutting-edge fraud protection and prevention tools to joint clients. Looking at one company’s information is helpful, but having a multi-year, extensive data pool of community data will better support fraud prevention in the future.  

The current pandemic has forced many companies to accelerate their shift towards digital-first models. In this context, how are corporates in your domain currently addressing strategic business priorities? What are their goals and what is on their digitalisation agenda?  

ML:  We have seen an acceleration in digital transformation (especially in finance and treasury) as well as a realisation that fraud is a significant threat, particularly when payment and treasury processes lack maturity.  A positive ‘side-effect’ of the pandemic has been the ability to fund projects that support efficiency, visibility and digitalisation.

Key objectives we see are: 

  • Visibility: In a climate of uncertainty and a rapidly changing business environment, our corporate clients want up-to-date, holistic, and ideally forward-looking information to enable them to make decisions and to react quickly;

  • Digital and secure workflows: our clients are looking for comprehensive and easy-to-use account management, payment approval, and fraud protection tools. Manual processes and inconsistencies are considered as potential sources of failure and misalignment, making it harder to steer an organisation;

  • Business enablement: Corporate customers are seeing their digital transformation as an opportunity to implement new policies and approaches. They are looking for solutions to gain greater insight into their business and remove friction which inhibits their commercial success. 

AF: The fallout from COVID-19 has confronted treasurers with the ‘weak links’ in their treasury processes impeding transparency and efficiency. What Martin described for the payments and cash visibility space also applies to other Treasury areas we support with our joint offering. Many treasurers came to realise that their spreadsheet-based forecasting processes were no longer sustainable and that a capable, flexible forecasting and analytics solution was required. Another example is FX risk management, an exercise that is doomed to fail without sufficient visibility into group-wide currency exposures.

A prerequisite for this visibility is that the systems containing relevant data talk to one another. Once this is ensured, digital workflows support the entire process chain from exposure compilation, risk calculation, creation, and approval of hedge proposals to actual trading of FX hedge deals via an electronic trading platform, regular mark-to-market revaluation, all the way to accounting for these transactions. In the remote working environment of today, every process step still involving paper or wet signatures is a potential bottleneck.

The tools to do away with these bottlenecks are available – think digital signatures – now it’s on treasurers to implement them. The same applies to management of bank accounts or guarantees: data silos hamper visibility, a lack of digital workflows increases reaction times and makes errors more likely. By eliminating these weaknesses, significant cost savings can be achieved and time can be used for more value-adding tasks.  

How can cloud-based technologies and API boost digital transformation in treasury? Furthermore, how can technologies help treasurers optimise their activities and access the insights needed to support better business decisions? 

ML: In 2010, TIS was a pioneer in cloud-based, SaaS payments technology. Our vision was to create an open, cloud-based ecosystem of specialised treasury providers such as TIPCO, who could offer best-of-breed services to our customers.  We saw this as an alternative to the ‘one-size-fits-all’, often expensive and not tailored treasury management systems, which, at that point, were managed exclusively on-premise.

APIs, enabling real-time and secure data exchanges, became the perfect means to unlock opportunities.  The combination of cloud, platformisation and API is now enabling corporates to combine the specialist services they want in new ways. Customers can choose the best solution providers for each specific need, tailoring their treasury management technology, without lengthy and costly IT projects.  Corporates can also leverage their pool of multi-bank payment data for better business decisions. 

AF: To follow this up with another real-life example: bank balances compiled by TIS together with cash flow forecasting data consolidated in TIP form the basis for an optimal FX hedging strategy tailored to the company’s risk appetite. Thanks to cloud-based platforms and APIs, different services work seamlessly from a user perspective.  It is much easier for treasurers to flexibly choose exactly the products and services they want and so is changing providers or services down the line, allowing businesses to grow their technology ecosystem in-line with their needs. The resulting best-of-breed solution ecosystem enables a new kind of strategic agility that was unheard of before. 

How can the partnership between TIS and TIPCO signed in 2020 help treasurers in organisations to stay on top of payments, global cash availability, liquidity, and risk management?  

ML: The collaboration is a perfect example of a partnership that enables best-of-breed choices for corporate clients: we provide outstanding capabilities in cash visibility and payments, leveraging future-proof connectivity between ERPs, TMS, HR systems and other tools with a client’s banks. Not only can we add or subtract systems and banks, but we also keep these links completely updated, so the customer does not have to.  And we do this on a global scale, always providing full cash visibility, full control of payment processes, with enhanced protection against sanction infringements and fraud. 

AF: Based on our smart connectivity layer, TIP acts as a central hub for cash and liquidity management, cash flow forecasting and risk management, which is accessible to entities worldwide via the web and provides powerful dashboarding, reporting and self-service BI capabilities. As your company grows, the joint solution grows with you and entity-, bank-, and account data is always kept in sync as you go. Our aim is to use as much data from existing data sources as possible, ensuring that the solution is user friendly like Excel when it comes to capturing any data manually.

About Martin Lehmann

Martin Lehmann is the Head of Platform Products at TIS, and aims to provide the leading enterprise payments platform in collaboration with best-of-breed system providers, banks and other financial service companies. Before TIS, Martin gained 12 years experience in advising banks on digital transformation and organisational matters with Oliver Wyman.

 

About TIS

TIS (Treasury Intelligence Solutions GmbH), founded in Walldorf, Germany in 2010, is a global leader in managing corporate payments. The Financial Times named TIS as one of ‘Europe’s Fastest Growing Companies’ for 2019, 2020 and 2021. Offered as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), the TIS solution is a comprehensive, highly-scalable, cloud platform for company-wide payments and cash management. The TIS solution has been successfully used for many years in both large and medium-sized companies, including Adecco Group, Hugo Boss, Fresenius, Fugro, Lanxess, OSRAM and QIAGEN. More than 25% of DAX companies are already TIS customers. 
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About Alexander Fleischmann

With over 11 years of experience in treasury consulting, Alex’s fields of expertise include cash flow forecasting, risk management, cash management and payments. He currently heads market development at TIPCO, driving the company’s international sales and marketing activities and developing joint propositions with best-of-breed partners leveraging cloud and API-technology.

 

About TIPCO

The Austrian software provider TIPCO has made TIP the solution of choice for some of the leading companies in Europe across various industries. Over 130 clients – including Deutsche Telekom AG, Deutsche Post DHL Group, Fresenius, Merck, REWE Group, STIHL, and many more – trust in TIP and in TIPCO’s ability to provide market-leading treasury innovation. The Treasury Information Platform TIP stands for state-of-the-art solutions for cash visibility, cash flow forecasting, risk management, guarantee management, bank fee analysis, and reporting. TIP empowers Treasury departments to digitalise their processes and do away with manual data capturing and endless e-mail exchanges thanks to flexible and smart workflows.


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Keywords: TIS, partnership, ERP, API, data analytics, digitalisation, TIPCO
Categories: Banking & Fintech | Payments General
Countries: World
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Banking & Fintech






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