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24.5.2024 | Last updated: 17.7.2024

16 min read

Treasury expert insights: Payment hub implementation

As the financial landscape evolves ever more rapidly, many finance professionals are looking to implement a payment hub to streamline cash management processes and payment operations. To delve deeper into this topic, I had the privilege of interviewing Pia Charron, a lead consultant at Nomentia with over two decades of experience in treasury and cash management systems.

With her extensive expertise, Pia provided invaluable insights into the intricacies of payment hub implementation and the key factors driving its success.

Meet Pia Charron: A treasury expert

Pia's journey in the realm of treasury began over 20 years ago and with an extensive experience like that, there’s precious little she doesn’t know about implementing cash management and payment management systems.

pia-charron

At Nomentia, she plays a pivotal role as a lead consultant, guiding clients through their cash management projects. Whether it is working with large multinational corporations or SMEs, Pia's expertise spans various sectors, offering tailored solutions to meet each client's unique needs.

The role of payment hub in effective cash management

Today’s finance professionals face increasing challenges from fragmented payment systems, manual processes, and lack of real-time visibility into cash flows. It’s well known that this can result in inefficiencies, errors, and difficulties in managing liquidity and risk effectively. As things stand, it’s no wonder that forward-looking finance professionals are considering implementing a payment hub that can centralize payment operations, automate manual tasks, and gain real-time visibility into financial transactions.

 

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“Payment hubs are piece of key technology to built a risk-aware, efficient and accurate controls in payment operations.”

During our chat, Pia emphasized the critical role these hubs play in enhancing efficiency and accuracy within cash management systems. By centralizing payment operations, businesses are able to significantly reduce errors and manual work while gaining better control over their financial processes. But success in payment hub implementation, as in so many other things, depends on having a clear understanding of what customers want and what they need.

Understanding customer payment hub needs

At the heart of payment hub implementation is the need for organizations to consolidate their payment operations. Instead of dealing with multiple banking platforms and disparate systems, a payment hub integrates all payment activities into a single, cohesive system. Central to any successful payment hub implementation is understanding how these diverse customer needs are recognized and fulfilled. Pia highlighted two primary categories of customer requirements: those seeking centralization and efficiency, and those aiming for visibility and control over their payment ecosystems. Whether it's a multinational corporation or an SME, the customer's goals dictate the approach to payment hub implementation.

The payment hub implementation process

The payment hub implementation process

Although each business has its own goals and requirements, all payment hub implementations start from the same situation; with an understanding of three key things: First, what goals the customer has for their payment operations; secondly, analyzing their current payment ecosystem and processes; and finally, collaborating to devise a strategy on how customer’s goals can be achieved through the implementation of a payment hub:   

Payment hub requirements:

To get your payment hub up and running you have to start by defining the specific requirements for the payment hub implementation, including master data, required bank connections, necessary user roles, and security controls.

Payment hub system setup and configuration:

Once the scope of your payment hub is settled, next up is setting up and configuring your payment hub system based on defined requirements.

Payment hub testing:

Before being deployed, your newly set up payment hub requires rigorous testing to ensure the system functions as intended and meets requirements.

Payment hub user training:

The key component to effective payment hub implementation is training the admin users who can best communicate and engage internal stakeholders and train payment hub end-users on how to use it effectively.

Payment hub deployment:

Once the testing of your new centralized payment hub is done and users are trained it’s time to go live.

Navigating through the implementation process of a payment hub requires a systematic approach. Pia outlined the various steps involved, starting from defining customer requirements to system setup, testing, training, and deployment. Each stage is important and should be meticulously planned and executed in collaboration to ensure payment hub implementation success.

Payment hub implementation challenges and solutions

Payment hub implementation challenges and solutions

Despite the benefits, payment hub implementation comes with its own set of challenges. As Pia emphasized during our interview, these challenges often stem from the complexity of integrating the payment hub with existing systems and processes, which can require meticulous planning and coordination. Other common payment hub implementation challenges include:

Resistance to change:

Change can be scary so, it’s not entirely unheard of that employees may resist adopting new processes and technologies, which can lead to implementation delays.

Scope creep:

Once initial plans for payment hub implementation are made the project scope may expand beyond initial plans. This can, if not carefully managed, lead to additional costs and increased timelines.

Payment hub customization complexity:

As the payment hub is an important system that needs to support business payment operations comprehensively customizing or tailoring the payment hub to meet specific business needs often comes up. It’s vital to be mindful of the fact that these emergent needs can be complex and time-consuming, while not serving the initially defined goals of the payment hub implementation project.

Resource constraints:

Limited availability of skilled resources, both internally and externally, can hamper the payment hub implementation process and lead to delays or suboptimal outcomes. It is always wise to be aware of possible pitfalls in payment hub implementation, as they can be avoided and addressed with the support of an experienced partner through:

Thorough planning:

Comprehensive planning to identify potential integration challenges helps in developing strategies to mitigate them.

Change and scope management:

Implementing effective change management strategies, including communication, training, and stakeholder engagement encourages adoption while regularly reviewing and managing the project scope helps to prevent scope creep and the project to stay within budget and timeline constraints.

Robust testing procedures:

Conducting thorough testing at each stage of your payment hub implementation to identify and resolve technical issues proactively allows the implementation to stay on track.

Roles and responsibilities:

Assigning the right roles and responsibilities ensures that the payment hub implementation process runs smoothly and efficiently, with clear accountability and direction at every stage. Each role is essential in addressing specific challenges and tasks, ensuring that data migration, regulatory compliance, vendor management, and resource management are effectively handled. This organized approach maximizes the likelihood of successful implementation, minimizes risks, and ultimately leads to the achievement of the organization's payment processing goals.

Payment hub vendor selection and support:

Choosing a reliable vendor with a proven track record of support and maintenance ensures your payment hub's success beyond implementation.

"Success in payment hub implementation requires clear vision and expectation management."

Pia’s sentiments emphasized the importance of having a clear vision and managing expectations throughout the process. Time and expectation management are critical, and consultants like Pia play a crucial role in addressing these challenges and ensuring project success.

The hunt for the payment hub implementation best practices

Unlocking the full potential of payment hub implementation requires a deep understanding of industry standards, technical prowess, and collaborative engagement with seasoned professionals. As Pia highlighted: The value of an experienced payment hub provider lies in their comprehensive grasp of not only the pain points faced by finance and treasury professionals during payment hub implementation but also the technical intricacies of payment hub technology. Moreover, it's crucial for them to possess the ability to listen attentively and comprehend not just the customer’s needs but also the most efficient way to assist them in achieving their objectives. 

“Precise, accurate and controlled payment processes sit at the heart of strategic cash and treasury management.”

Cash management and treasury management are indispensable functions that underpin strategy, sustainability, and liquidity. Within this framework, the payment hub emerges as a vital technology. While seasoned finance and treasury professionals typically have a clear vision of their requirements, they greatly benefit from collaborating with experienced counterparts on the vendor side. These cash and treasury technology experts can offer insights gleaned from not only a few but hundreds and thousands of implementation projects that are all business-critical.  This depth of experience and expertise is essential for navigating industry standards and anticipating future developments. Hence, when seeking guidance on best practices in payment hub implementation, Nomentia consultants draw from their wealth of experience to offer recommendations that consistently garner the trust and acclaim of our customers, as evidenced by our customer reviews.

Success in payment hub implementation

Payment hub implementation is a critical aspect of modernizing your cash management strategies. With insights from experts like Pia Charron covered here, businesses can navigate through the complexities of payment hub implementation with confidence. By understanding their needs, following a systematic approach, and fostering collaboration, businesses can achieve success in their payment hub projects, paving the way for enhanced efficiency and control in their financial operations. 

6 steps to payment hub implementation success

A payment hub serves as the central nervous system of financial transactions, orchestrating payments seamlessly across various channels and platforms. Check out these six steps to payment hub implementation success (slideshow):

Various payment infrastructure components like payment gateways, ERPs, banks, accounting systems surrounding a payment hub.

1. Assess your payment infrastructure 

Payment hub implementation starts with understanding your current systems, processes, and data flows to see how the payment hub fits in and what integration points are needed. Pay special attention to banks, bank connections, and connectivity types that need to be assessed and accounted for. Negotiate with your banks whether they can provide automatic bank statements and at what cost. 

Plan your payment hub integration strategy for payment hub implementation success

2. Plan your payment hub integration strategy 

Once you know what’s needed you should determine how the payment hub will interface with existing systems like ERP, accounting, and CRM platforms. Seek guidance from experienced partners if needed. 

Payment hub data migration and system configuration for payment hub implementation success

3. Data migration and system configuration 

Cleanse and prepare data for migration, then configure systems to accommodate new payment processes and workflows. 

Testing your payment hub for payment hub implementation success

4. Testing your payment hub 

Thoroughly test your new payment system to ensure accuracy and identify any issues before going live. 

Go live and monitor your payment hub

5. Go live and monitor your payment hub 

Roll out the payment hub to end-users, provide training, and closely monitor system performance and feedback. 

Payment hub continuous improvement

6. Continuous improvement 

Iterate and improve the payment hub based on feedback and evolving needs, ensuring long-term value and efficiency. 

Top 3 frequently asked questions about payment hub implementation

The complexities of payment hub implementation can seem daunting, but they are by no means impossible to manage. While there are challenges to be faced and critical factors to consider payment hub implementation projects can be successfully navigated if approached with a willingness to learn from the process. You don't have to reinvent the wheeljust pay heed to what you can learn from others.

1. What are the key challenges organizations face when implementing a payment hub?
Organizations often encounter challenges related to integrating the payment hub with existing systems, such as complex network setups and manual processes. Negotiating varying protocols, interfaces, and connections with banks adds another layer of complexity. A clear understanding of the payment processes post-implementation and how the payment hub addresses pain points can mitigate risks. To tackle the challenges of payment hub implementation, we recommend this article about implementing a global payment hub.
2. What are the critical factors for successful payment hub implementation?
Successful implementation requires meticulous planning, effective stakeholder engagement, and comprehensive training. It's essential to establish clear objectives, prioritize requirements, and select the right vendor or solution. Collaboration with experienced professionals helps navigate challenges and ensure a smooth transition. Additionally, robust testing procedures and ongoing support are vital for post-implementation success.
3. What are the key stakeholders in the payment hub implementation process?
Stakeholders, including finance, IT, procurement, and executive leadership, play a crucial role in driving the implementation process. Effective communication of project goals and objectives, along with gaining buy-in and support from stakeholders, is essential. Establishing a cross-functional project team ensures alignment of goals and requirements, leading to project success.
Extra: What’s the key to a successful payment hub implementation?
Experienced experts provide invaluable support by leveraging their extensive knowledge of industry standards and hands-on experience with payment hub implementations. They offer guidance on best practices, help identify potential challenges, and provide tailored solutions to meet the organization's needs. Their expertise fosters collaboration, minimizes risks, and ultimately leads to successful implementation and improved efficiency. To learn more about Nomentia's expertise, get in touch here.

Payment hub implementation insights from a treasury expert

As the financial landscape evolves, finance professionals are turning to payment hubs to streamline cash management and payment operations. Fragmented payment systems, manual processes, and lack of real-time cash flow visibility pose significant challenges, leading to inefficiencies and risk management issues. To reach their goals, forward-thinking finance experts are implementing payment hubs to centralize operations, automate tasks, and achieve real-time transaction visibility.

Read more about payment hubs:



 

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