ISV Payment Integration Proofing
When a consumer walks into a store, or browses an online ecommerce site, very little thought is given over to the “paying” part until the time comes. At that moment, a fast and convenient point-of-sale or checkout experience helps create a positive memory, raising the loyalty factor a little bit. But a less-than-ideal transaction, caused by long lines, a failed tap, or a shopping cart page that crashes and burns, steers the shopper to the competition. No one has time to wait for a reboot or to listen to apologies.
This attitude pervades the B2C retail world, but it is also happening in B2B, as buyers build their expectations towards seamless, location independent transactions. In both situations, the expectation and the requirement are that the payment system be up-to-date. For that to happen, the merchant and its ISV must be future-proof.
What’s the best way to future-proof something as complex as payment integration? The past few years have posed a challenge to ISVs faced with integrating payments to their software solutions. Issues around security, compliance, and certifications change constantly, and at the same time, customers expect ever faster and more convenient secure transactions. Any deployments done in haste run the risk of data loss, fraud, and costly errors.
But there’s another problem that tugs at every ISV’s mind: The future isn’t what it used to be. New developments, technologies, trends, and policies arrive extremely quickly, and the stakes have become much higher. In the recent past, B2B suppliers could draw up and follow a multi-month or even multi-year plan, and then convert that into a service relationship. But now, they and their clients must deal with change on an almost daily basis. Data has become the prime commodity – more valuable than money, and thieves operate 24/7 to try to steal from, and damage the system.
The As-a-Service Solution
The solution to the threats posed by constant change in the digital era comes from establishing relationships with cloud-based suppliers who themselves have transitioned into the as-a-service model. At its core, this model speaks to a philosophy of constant, proactive maintenance and a transition from hard goods to “services and upgrades.”
Examples of this approach sit right in front of most peoples’ faces daily. Computers, tablets, and smartphones no longer require a customer to purchase boxed software. Every element of its functionality, from the operating system to any specific app, is downloaded – and more importantly, upgraded – invisibly and continually by the developer.
Other, non-traditional businesses have followed suit. Manufacturers of heavy items, such as cars, bulldozers, washing machines, and MRI scanners now realize greater revenue and customer retention by offering their product through the as-a-service model, using internet connectivity to do diagnostics, collect data, and proactively maintain the item. This approach activity, paired with the sale of services like training, aftermarket supplies and consulting, makes it unnecessary to actually sell the item. It can be loaned to a customer, with greater, longer-term revenue streams coming from those services.
For the end customers, this is future-proofing. Their investment in the machine – car, bulldozer, washer, or MRI – is now insured against failure and obsolescence through a permanent online relationship with a cloud-based manufacturer or intermediary.
ON the IT side, companies wary of data breaches, ransomware, DDoS attacks and similar events, recognize the value of pairing their internal IT staff with external, cloud-based security and data analytics companies, whose responsibility it is to stay up-to-date with every new threat and development in a way that no individual company could afford to do.
ISVs can Future Proof, Too
For ISVs, the situation is similar. As policies and protocols around PCI compliance and EMV network certifications evolve, and as new customer-facing payment options emerge, there is simply too much to keep track of reliably. Any prior bad experiences with payment processors and credit card companies will make them reluctant to move forward in a timely fashion, resulting in dangerous inertia.
Let’s say an ISV integrates to payment processor A, which works with device 1, the best mag stripe reader on the market. Then EMV comes out and the ISV needs a device with a chip reader for EMV. However, Processor A doesn’t support any chip readers. Now the ISV must start over with a different processor and a different device, and write a new integration.
Now imagine Processor B. Processor B has a cloud model that supports multiple devices. The ISV integrates to processor B, which gives it access to multiple devices. When EMV comes around, processor B adds new device 2 with a chip reader. The ISV can use device 2 with a few configuration changes – with the same integration. Now that’s future proof.
With an as-a-service relationship, it becomes the responsibility of the cloud-based supplier to ensure that every facet is taken care of, tested, delivered, and installed in a way that ensures that the ISV and its clients remain satisfied and safe. At present, this includes managing the latest in payments and security technology like Quick Chip for EMV, tokenization, and encryption (P2PE).
Not only is this essential on the customer-facing side, non-compliance can lead to harsh punishments from credit card companies and regulators.
Future proofing is not an option for retailers or B2B suppliers. It remains a perpetual top-drawer issue that demands attention, awareness and swift action from decision makers and stakeholders at all levels of an organization. It simply must be done.
To learn more about futureproofing your payment integration, visit our sponsor https://www.clearent.com/get-started
By Steve Prentice