Integrating Mobile Cloud Applications
The global enterprise mobility market is expanding at a rapid rate – predicted to bring in $140 billion a year by 2020. As the market continues to expand, so do the varying needs of mobile businesses who rely on cloud-based solutions. For mobile employees, having full product functionality at their fingertips is critical, and cloud-based services enable a much more efficient solution than legacy apps.
However, companies shouldn’t assume that “mobile” equates to “road warrior.” Employees that are primarily office-based also find value in access to data on mobile devices. Applications that provide access to specific, critical pieces of time-sensitive data are a value-add for treasury.
One example is the corporate treasurer, who is mainly in-office and benefits from a consolidated treasury management system for cash management, payments, and treasury transactions. There are times when treasurers can’t access their desktops or laptops. In fact, recent data revealed more than 66 percent of finance professionals process cash flow transactions from their mobile devices. Even though they don’t need access to every piece of information in the system, they will have urgent tasks, such as approving an urgent payment, or viewing a key report that requires instant response. In these instances, a mobile application that extends the necessary functionality from their existing treasury system is a quick and easy solution to meet their needs. It pulls core data from the cloud, without the need for a complex interface or large amounts of processing power.
Not surprisingly, the same requirements are just as important to everyone in the treasury team. That is why, when evaluating treasury technology, organizations are seeking cloud providers that offer a mobile application to extend a system’s core functions directly to employees’ mobile devices, addressing the on-demand needs of the treasury team.
The consumerization of IT is a driving factor behind mobile app adoption within the enterprise, and has impacted almost every line of business. Given the sensitive financial data that corporate treasurers access on a daily basis, it’s critical they take precautions when integrating mobile applications into their daily routine. To ensure sensitive information remains safe and secure, below are four tips organizations should consider when launching mobile applications specifically aimed at streamlining the role of a corporate treasurer:
Identify core needs: At the recent 2013 Hosting and Cloud Transformation Summit, 451 Research chief analyst Eric Hanselman noted that “enterprise IT risks being left in the dust” if they don’t speed up their adoption of cloud computing. While this is true, it is also critical that organizations don’t dive headfirst into mobile cloud adoption when dealing with the treasury department, where executives leverage mobile applications to tap into sensitive financial information. Enterprise IT must first identify the key needs of the corporate treasurer, which are very different than the requirements of a road warrior. They rarely require all the bells and whistles that some mobile applications provide. Rather, they need a solution that extends core treasury management functionality to their mobile device. This empowers them to make informed, time-sensitive financial decisions on the go.
Focus on security: Security is a top concern when it comes to mobile cloud computing. This should be at the top of an organization’s checklist when approving mobile cloud applications for any line of business, including the corporate treasury department. The good news is cloud-based software is now trusted in business-critical environments by many large enterprise and government agencies. When evaluating applications for the treasury department, an organization needs to make sure its solution adheres to the latest and most rigorous security standards to ensure its data is completely secure.
Cost: Treasury teams do not have unlimited budgets, so mobile solutions must be cost-effective. This almost always rules out in-house developed or internally hosted/supported software applications with custom designed mobile access. Mobile access must be native to the application and not require customization to put in the hands of the treasury team.
Ease of Use: While most employees leverage mobile applications in their daily lives, this does not mean they will know how to navigate all applications introduced into the business. It is critical that mobile applications improve ease of use and are as intuitive as any mobile application that one would download from the cloud.
In summary, as more organizations deploy cloud-based solutions to mobilize their workforce, the treasury department should not be left out simply because they don’t frequently travel for business. Cloud-based services and mobile applications bring numerous benefits to the treasurer. If implemented correctly, extending the core functionality of a cloud-based treasury management system to the mobile environment can streamline processes and increase efficiency.
By Bob Stark,
Bob Stark is responsible for global product and marketing strategy at Kyriba, with a focus on thought leadership, product positioning, and market development. Bob is involved in a variety of strategic initiatives including risk and hedging compliance, eBAM, supply chain finance, SWIFT connectivity, and global business alliances. Bob is a 15-year veteran of the treasury technology industry, with a particular focus on treasury management systems. He has previously held strategic roles at WallStreet Systems, Thomson Reuters, and Selkirk Financial Technologies.
He is a regular guest speaker at treasury conferences and is an active member of the Association for Financial Professionals.