Accelerating payment and financial message integration, processing and orchestration capabilities across our clients’ infrastructures continues to be Volante’s core focus and we remain committed to helping our clients adapt to changing regulation, emerging payment initiatives and evolving business requirements.
In line with our strategy to help accelerate processes and introduce efficiencies into our clients’ businesses, so they can focus on the business of being competitive, we continue to see increased traction for not only Volante Designer but also growing demand for our VolPay Suite of payment products.
Indeed, as I look back over the first part of 2017, I am incredibly proud of what the global Volante team has achieved so far. In support of Real-time Payments (RTP) schemes emerging around the globe, we have rolled out our VolPay Hub: RTP Suite with the first of many of our RTP Processor Modules to support The U.S. Clearing House’s RTP Initiative – and there are others in the pipeline to support emerging RTP schemes around the world. We have also developed and rolled out a BTRS Validator for X9 – also of particular interest to our U.S. customers.
I hope this first edition of our 2017 newsletter gives you a flavor of the type of projects we have been delivering and the wide range of conversations we have been having in the marketplace. As always, I’m personally delighted to be able to give you a small insight into the culture of Volante, evidenced in the ‘Inside Volante’ section. Within this section I'd like to particularly draw your attention to the penultimate paragraph in which we show our ongoing commitment to corporate social responsibility and highlight our support for the fabulous Grace Cancer Foundation. The charity has been working away tirelessly for the past three years providing awareness about cancer and helping the less fortunate get access to treatment.
All of us at Volante remain committed to customer engagement and encourage you to get in touch at any stage with any comments you may have.
Since the last newsletter, we’ve seen significant progress in the development of real-time payment infrastructures across the globe, notably in the U.S. with the Clearing House (TCH) pressing on with its TCH RTP platform. There have also been advances in the rollout of the SEPA equivalent - the SCT Inst - with 6 CSM providers announcing their compliance to the new EPC scheme, which as you will know should be available by November 2017.
Since the last newsletter, we’ve seen significant progress in the development of real-time payment infrastructures across the globe, notably in the U.S. with the Clearing House (TCH) pressing on with its TCH RTP platform.
On Open Banking - for the European PSD2 directive, the final Draft of the RTS (Regulatory Technical Standards) was published in February 2017, with a final version expected to be published by early Q4 2017. European banks will now be looking in earnest at how they will go about implementing APIs in their estates to comply with this huge regulatory headache. In order to try and create a standardized public data model for the required APIs to comply with PSD2, the Berlin Group reported at a recent EBA Open Banking Forum that it expects to publish a set of data standards and associated messages for public review in early Q2 2017. The group has consulted with a number of other European industry groups, and this is a welcome move to try and avoid variation in implemented APIs for PSD2.
Similar progress has been made in the UK with the Competition & Markets Authority’s (CMA’s) Open Data and Open Banking initiative, where some of the APIs covering ATM location and Branch opening hours have been published.
SWIFT GPI (Global Payments Innovation) goes from strength to strength. The initiative fully launched in February 2017 with 12 institutions now fully live and the support of two major U.S. payments infrastructures, including the Federal Reserve and CHIPS aligning with the scheme to enable end-to-end tracking of cross-border payments between the different schemes. This initiative does certainly offer real value to global corporates and addresses some of the arguments raised by alternate cross-border payment mechanisms that have been proposed using distributed ledger technology (DLT).
On the subject of DLT and Blockchain, from conversations at meetings and with Volante clients it seems that this technology and its wide scale adoption in Financial Markets is somewhat in the proverbial trough of disillusionment at the moment. I think it’s clear that we will see a really powerful application of this technology in the near future, but for now the noise on how it will change the world has abated somewhat.
And finally, in the Capital Markets the hard deadline for MiFID II draws near (January 2018) and if you haven’t started work in compliance for this wide-reaching regulation covering a broad range of entities and new financial instruments, I would say it’s probably time to start now!
Having the honor of sitting on the U.S. Faster Payments Task Force gives me - and in turn Volante - valuable insight into some of the challenges that U.S. banks and other financial institutions will face when looking to implement real-time payments (RTP) solutions. I have been a member of the Task Force since 2015 when RTP was merely a concept; fast forward two years and the phenomenon is now being widely considered and increasingly adopted. We take the intelligence gained from interaction with groups such as the Federal Reserve-led Task Force and others around the globe, and combine it with intel from our customers to ensure we continuously build up our RTP knowledge and expertise database. This means that our customers can look to Volante for expert advice when navigating the increasingly complex RTP landscape.
The RTP landscape in the U.S. is quite unlike any other global market. In the U.S. we are not driven by regulation; there is no government mandate to have one single system. There are several and differing RTP initiatives in place and the number of banks looking to implement RTP capabilities is not insignificant. In the UK there are a handful of banks and a regulatory directive, in the U.S. there are thousands of banks that can interact with one or multiple RTP solutions. The fact that multiple solutions will exist in the U.S. market introduces interoperability issues which will need to be addressed in order to achieve ubiquity.
In addition, the business drivers for being able to send instantaneous cross-border payments cannot be underestimated. Our industry has recognized that current processes are antiquated and a solution for sending money instantly, not just domestically but around the world, remains essential. The potential lack of a solution for cross-border payments could risk the U.S. lagging behind the rest of the world.
Whatever position you choose to adopt when it comes to RTP solutions, we’d suggest that sitting back, waiting and watching is not one of them. While there is a clear case for tracking developments and eyeing up newly created RTP initiatives, we recommend you act now to be in a position to quickly and swiftly adopt the RTP solution you ultimately feel is right. Of course, one of the ways you can confidently accelerate your adoption is by working with Volante.
Having already established a technology development center in Chennai and integration solution center in Hyderabad, Volante expanded in February 2016 with a third new office located in Pune, India. Unlike the other two technology centers, however, Pune was established as a customer-centric office focusing on Volante’s payments business applications. The purpose was to create a business-led center of excellence concentrating on the payments business. This meant recruiting people with deep business functional knowledge and expertise of the payments industry.
Pune was chosen as it is considered to be the hub of all payment projects within India. To lead the Pune operation, Volante hired Manish Inamdar as Senior Director Payments Business, and Vikrant Sant, Director Payment Solutions. Manish and Vikrant joined with more than 20 years experience in payments, having previously worked for large firms such as Oracle with its payment partner products including D+H, Clear2Pay, and Dovetail, where they helped implement global payment schemes with top tier banks.
“Since its inception way back in 2001, Volante’s heritage has always been its expertise in the integration of financial messages. Unsurprisingly a vast amount of this includes payments transaction messaging and data integration and processing. So it was seen as a natural next step to create a specific focus on the development of payments-specific business applications. This distinct focus required business functional expertise - people to help with the pre-processing, processing and orchestration around payments,” comments Girisha Neeraje, Operations Director India. “To do this, Manish and Vikrant set up support for Volante’s pre- and post-sale operations in payments, and now run a team of 8-10 people, which is currently expected to grow to more than 22 people by the summer of 2017.”
Each team member has more than 14 years of experience gained in the world of payments, and they are dedicated to pre-sales and understanding the customer's language and operations. This information is worked into product design and implementation which helps define the product roadmap for Volante’s VolPay Suite. Since establishing the Pune office just over a year ago, the team has completed over 15 ‘proof of concept’ assignments, numerous RFP responses, and conducted customer workshops for various clients including top tier banks and corporate enterprises from around the globe. Serving such a diverse set of clients and prospects enables Volante to engage a strong best practice approach to building in broad and powerful functionality.
“Through our expertise and work with clients, we have identified several key drivers for change: regulation, new technology, the commoditization of products, and the banking industry’s desire to create ‘payment highways’ with a holistic view of all payment processes. Whatever the driver, banks want a product that is adaptive to their environment, accommodates new programs easily, complies with regulation and is innovative. In essence they seek to dramatically increase business agility through payments technology,” comments Girisha.
Manish adds, “Taking the above into consideration, we have further identified three key areas within the payments ecosystem that must be addressed within a payment hub: the first is acquisition of payments, the second is pre-processing of payments, and the third is how the payments are orchestrated, processed and cleared. Our team is structured around these three areas, with senior management looking at the holistic solution, and smaller internal teams of experts on each of the key areas aforementioned. We operate a similar structure for pre-sales, because we want expert practitioners to be a part of sales cycle, with their knowledge shared with customers and prospects.”
Volante is completely focused on accelerating all processes and tasks associated with payments, so firms can connect quickly and efficiently in a cost-effective manner. Following Volante’s success gained in the integration of financial messaging, the company now operates the exact same way in the payments space. Volante currently supports over 400 payment APIs, so as new payment schemes emerge and become more prevalent, immediate support is available, creating the appropriate technology for people to connect and integrate at speed. An example of this is the recent launch of the VolPay Hub: RTP Suite, in which, aside from the core real-time payments processing and orchestration, there is a growing library of RTP Processor Modules for the various RTP schemes emerging around the globe.
Manish comments, “In working with clients we noticed that their previous experience in payments involved too much dependency on external specialist suppliers to ‘run the bank.’ This has created too many dependencies, complexities and excess costs in dealing with change. In this regard, one of our objectives is to create and evolve payments business applications that enable financial institutions to be empowered to be far more confidently self-sufficient – in charge of their own destiny, if you will. Our research and experience, together with other independent industry commentators, suggests that for every dollar spent on payment transformation software, about $6 to $8 is spent implementing it! A large proportion of this implementation cost is due to integration challenges. We consider this unacceptable and are passionately dedicated to reducing this cost by building clever software products containing automation features. In fact, recent Volante implementations have shown to be around the $1 to $3 range to implement when it comes to integration activities.”
In January, Ovum published a report on Volante, Payment Hubs Market Landscape: Volante Technologies/VolPay Hub, which comments on, after evaluation, how Volante reduces implementation time using a standardized library of functions and automatic code generation in the VolPay Hub payment processing product.
Volante is in a strong position to capitalize on the need for financial institutions to transform their payment infrastructure projects. Features such as automation and configuration rather than coding will be critical when looking to maintain and increase business agility as new payment types are introduced and workflows need to adapt to them.
David Bannister, Ovum
In March, Volante announced the release of a new version of Designer with support for Microservices Architecture and the SWIFT 2017 updates. Volante continuously tracks and implements changes to financial messaging standards in order to meet client and market demands quickly and efficiently. This gives clients the time to test and implement the changes ahead of go-live, and enables them to benefit from new features such as support for the Global Payments Innovation (GPI) which improves cross-border payments.
There is an on-going global drive that is seeing the implementation of real-time/instant payments schemes around the globe. To help banks adopt and embrace real-time payments in the U.S. and other countries, Volante launched VolPay Hub: RTP Suite in March. The release saw the launch of the first of its “RTP Processor Modules” designed to support The U.S. Clearing House’s RTP Initiative. Volante’s RTP Suite is to be piloted by a top ten U.S.-based bank and TCH (The Clearing House). Volante is currently in the process of developing additional RTP Processor Modules for those emerging RTP schemes around the world. We are determined to ensure that the process of ‘hooking-up’ to RTP schemes is made easily, quickly and economically for participating banks.
In April, the Accredited Standards Committee X9 Inc. (X9) and Volante announced the release of a web-based application, the BTRS Validator, for testing and validating messages defined by the Balance and Transaction Reporting Standard (BTRS).
When it comes to M&A, we believe that firms growing through acquisition are missing a trick – a data trick. In January 2017, Nadish Lad, Head of Payments Product, wrote an article for CTMfile on this topic about smoothing the way for data integration and corporate intra-connectivity following M&A processes.
When it comes to M&A, we believe that firms growing through acquisition are missing a trick – a data trick.
There are multiple real-time payments (RTP) initiatives taking place globally - and in his blog for InstaPay, Allan Spalding, EMEA Partners Director, takes a look at those various schemes, and what firms need to consider when looking at the technological side of preparing for RTP.
There are seemingly endless claims today about how vendors in our industry can accelerate, optimize and speed up various processes within your organization with the subliminal sentiments of “cheaper, better, faster.” But can they really take the high ground and truly own this claim? In a blog published in May, Volante explores the criteria you may want to bear in mind when you select your next vendor to support your payment transformation project, so you can truly optimize and accelerate your payment processes in terms of speed of adapting the change and flexibility.
As you are aware, real-time payments (RTP) is dominating the financial services industry, and Volante is helping firms to prepare for RTP schemes - regardless of which one they choose or the technology they currently have in place. We created a quick, animated video to illustrate how we can help firms get on board with RTP.
In March this year, Volante published an executive briefing looking at The Open Banking PSD2 – Implementation Strategies and what firms need to consider in order to take advantage of API banking. Again in March, Volante looked at the challenges around adopting Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology, and the steps necessary to overcome those challenges.
In a real-time world where people can download movies or order books for their tablets in a few seconds, when overnight delivery may even be shifting to same-day fulfilment, payments that take several days to arrive are not keeping pace with consumer or business demands. Companies that can make a delivery overnight and track it each step of the way are not satisfied with payments that disappear into the ether for an indeterminate number of days before arriving at their destination. In our executive briefing on real-time payments, we explore what firms need to do to take advantage of real-time payment schemes.
We have had a very busy start to the year attending and sponsoring conferences, including the ISITC Europe AGM and conference, where we were delighted to have Fiona Hamilton, VP Europe and Asia, participate on a leadership panel. Fiona also went on to participate in the ISITC annual event in Boston to continue contributing to discussions with ISITC members in the U.S.
The Middle East and Africa continue to be important regions for Volante, and in March, Volante sponsored and exhibited at MEFTECH in Abu Dhabi, where Volante’s Mick Fennell, Vice President Volante Technologies Middle East & Africa, gave a presentation on "Tips for Selecting & Implementing a Payments Hub."
As in past years, Volante Technologies was delighted once again to exhibit at this year’s NACHA PAYMENTS conference on April 23-26 in Austin, Texas, USA. Our Global Head of Payments Products, Nadish Lad, co-presented with Carl Slabicki, Payments Product Manager, BNYM on “Real-Time Payments: Managing Implementation Strategy” which was well attended and prompted manyinteresting and productiveconversations during and after the presentation. Many delegates visited the Volante stand and many conversations were had around the acceleration of payments transformation projects, RTP integration and processing, and payment flow on-boarding. Time to market and revenue were clear motivators in wanting to look for new approaches in payments projects..
In the meantime we are making preparations for a stream of industry event we will be attending in Q2 2017:-
If you are planning on attending these industry events then please do get in touch to schedule a meeting with us - as always, it will be a pleasure to meet with you!
On March 3rd, 2017, we held an awards ceremony in Chennai & Hyderabad with the virtual presence of Vijay on Skype to present the awards. The awards were designed to celebrate the hard work of the development teams in India.
Volante is proud to support the Grace Cancer Foundation, an Indian-based charity founded in October 2013, with a vision to raise awareness about cancer and offer treatment and counseling to those who cannot afford it. Grace Cancer Foundation (Global Research and Cancer Education) is a non-profit organization, founded upon the vision to provide CARE and CURE with COMPASSION and to provide awareness on early detection, treatment, support and help to the needy.
The vision for Grace is carried out through mission-dedicated healthcare professionals driving cancer education, early detection, screening, treatment, rehabilitation, research and access to quality healthcare through outreach initiatives. The organization believes in Success through transformative Social Change.
In the three years of its existence, GCF as an organization has grown enormously, conducting 120 screening camps, 125 free medical oncology camps, 38 free surgical oncology camps, and 25 EMF awareness camps, 45 cancer awareness camps in different places and has catered close to 200,000 people, including those living in very remote and inaccessible areas. In 2016, Grace foundation was the winner of Guinness World Record for the Largest Simultaneous Self-examination for Breast Cancer consisting of 2,790 participants.
We are delighted to be in a position to be able to support this incredibly worthy charity. If you would like to know more or indeed, get involved in someway please do visit their website.
On the 23rd April 2017, our very own Market Engagement Director Neil Clarke, not just ran, but completed the infamous and gruelling London Marathon.
Running for a charity very close to his heart, St Catherine's Hospice, Neil completed the marathon in 4 hours, 37 minutes and 36 seconds, which for a first-time marathon runner is a very respectable and impressive finish time.
In order to prepare for the 26 mile run, Neil who runs fairly regularly, ramped up his training significantly from the beginning of the year ensuring that he ran on average more than 25 miles per week.
We commend Neil for his dedication to raising funds for St Catherine’s Hospice and of course his overall marathon achievement.
If you’d like to contribute to Neil’s fundraising page, you can do so here.