Identifying the right treasury system upgrade is only half the battle. As many treasurers or chief financial officers will tell you, the really hard part starts at implementation. Treasury upgrades can be the corporate equivalent of moving house: Shifting all the furniture, changing registered addresses and then getting used to a new environment.
But there are ways companies can avoid much of the inconvenience involved in upgrading treasury systems. According to corporate financial risk management software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider, Reval, the very fact that so many of its clients are using SaaS is one of the strengths of the software. “This enables SaaS providers like Reval to deliver focused support and rapid functional enhancements across the entire client base. It also enables the collective process requirements of our clients to evolve into industry best practices,” said Blaik Wilson, solutions consultant at Reval.
SaaS is typically implemented over the internet or behind a firewall on a local area network without having the need to individually install software on computers or laptops, which can be a time consuming and complex process. In other words, it’s much simpler to use especially for companies with operations in multiple locations worldwide. “It is literally a matter of turning on user access as opposed to installing all the software,” said Reval’s vice-president of strategy, Jason Torgler, who was appointed at the beginning of February.
A clear advantage, Torgler explained, is that companies are outsourcing their IT component to providers like Reval. Therefore they can effectively remove the IT factor which can reduce the margin for error, according to the company.
For many expanding companies in Asia, implementing new technology or software can also be highly costly, and upgrades often fail to result in any immediate tangible benefits. As a result, treasury systems are often regarded by companies as cost centres. “The upgrade process is a major strength of SaaS. The process occurs to all clients simultaneously with no additional cost, which is a big difference to historical installed software where upgrades are often a feared and expensive exercise,” Wilson explained.
According to Wilson, SaaS is already widely accepted in Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore. Moreover, Asian companies are more open to building new systems using modern platforms compared to their Western peers. Companies in these countries are able to leap from old technology to the latest technology quite easily without the hindrance of old legacy systems. “Over the past 10 years we have seen some fundamental business applications like payroll, CRM [customer relationship management] and online banking move to the SaaS space, and we are seeing that in Asia-Pacific now,” Wilson added.
Reval is broadening what it can offer to corporations in line with its own global growth and will offer cash and liquidity management SaaS in addition to its hedge accounting and risk management functionalities. Torgler believes Reval can bring a much wider offering in those areas for local corporations.
“With the criticality of cash we definitely feel that the entire Asia-Pacific marketplace is ripe for rapid adoption,” said Torgler. “For every corporation, cash is the essential lifeblood of their operations and it is going to be very exciting for us to break into this market even further than we already are.”