SunGard finds corporate treasury weaknesses

The software and IT company identifies three universal business challenges that need to be met in 2010.

Global business software and IT services provider SunGard has identified three key drivers that are reshaping finance as it moves forward with plans to expand its coverage in China, Southeast Asia and Japan.

"In talking to our customers, we've heard three universal business challenges that need to be met in 2010: delivering transparency, increasing efficiency and leveraging networks," said Pamela Marnell, head of product management for SunGard financial systems, in a statement.

Transparency, efficiency and networks were identified as the three areas corporate treasuries need to improve in order to ensure smooth growth. This is particularly true in Asia where SMEs are realising the importance of adopting financial solutions to improve their businesses.

"Transparency across corporate treasuries is a paramount investment," said Michael Fullmer, senior vice-president of AvantGard, SunGard's solution suite for corporations. "Corporate treasuries need to question the integrity of data, whether it is from trusted sources and if it is even useful." He explained that it is imperative for corporations to monitor risk at the balance sheet level and make sure they are not taking unnecessary risks. It is also in their interest to create a culture of compliance from the boardroom to the trading room.

Getting information to the right people in an effective and efficient manner is doubly important for companies that do not employ business or financial solutions. "Many businesses do not need full-blown systems," said Fullmer. Deploying a big project solution is often too costly and ineffective especially for small businesses.

According to SunGard, firms should make smarter use of technology by investing in business process management, application management, testing and managed hosting. "Technology should act as a driver for businesses, not a replacement for staff," said Fullmer. "For example, calculations can be done quicker and more accurately, reducing the margin for error compared to calculations done manually." 

"The concept of leveraging networks is to bring everything together in a platform and to treasurers' fingertips," he continued. "We define it as an ecosystem that provides you with what you need to do your job on a daily basis."

SunGard says it plans to expand throughout Asia-Pacific this year. China, Southeast Asia and Japan will be the focus of that expansion, and the company is also interested in re-engaging with customers in Australia and New Zealand as well.

"We have been concentrating on research and development, public relations and the marketing side of our business for the past two years in China," said Fullmer. "Recently we have completed the second level localisation of our products for the Chinese market."

In 2009, SunGard's revenue from Asia-Pacific totalled $165.3 million from more than 800 unique customers. The company's revenues have increased at a compound annual growth rate of more than 20% since 1983.

"In the coming year, many corporations in China will be taking steps to modernise their treasury operations by finding ways of promoting centralisation, achieving connectivity with overseas operations and establishing best practices for cash and risk management," said Matthew Chen, head of corporations for SunGard China, in a statement.

Bank of China International implemented SunGard's Global One securities finance solution last month; a win the vendor hopes to replicate frequently in the coming years.

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