The importance of business continuity was made clear at the onset of the pandemic and the resulting shifts in the business world. In payments, the need for digital transformation stretches beyond business continuity and into the realm of innovation.

Disruption — a word once reserved for innovators creating solutions that displace existing market leaders — has come to mean much more than that over the past 13 months. The pandemic served as the ‘great disruptor, impacting individuals and businesses in ways that couldn’t be predicted. Closed offices and canceled events have interfered with business as usual.

Forward-thinking payments companies headed into the eye of the storm were at least somewhat prepared; those with a headstart on digital transformation and modernization were able to weather interference with usual modes of business and more easily transitioned to remote systems than their analog counterparts. In this way, digital transformation provided these organizations with a modicum of business continuity where they would have otherwise experienced potentially damaging results. Yet digital transformation is about much more than business continuity, though it is an important component. Digital transformation will serve as the cornerstone of innovation and growth in 2021 and beyond.

Business Continuity is an Important Component of Digital Transformation

Payments companies are attuned to the fact that digital channels are critical. Consumers have largely transitioned to ecommerce and digital payments as preferred ways to shop and pay, especially in the wake of the global pandemic. Digital payments transaction value is expected to hit $6,685,102m this year and will continue on that trajectory to reach $10,520,219m by 2025.

Yet some payments companies supporting the platforms, systems, and solutions behind digital payments continue to lag behind when it comes to their own digital transformation. It has been a hard lesson for some who were pressed to fast-track digital transformation simply to accommodate the new business environment. As a result, many have become acutely aware of just how important digital transformation is for business continuity.

First and foremost, payments companies must enable remote access, allowing the workforce to tap into company networks, data, and applications outside of the office. This requires a secure connection such as a virtual private network (VPN). Centrally storing data is also critical, allowing for the management and security of applications and data.

Process digitization also aids business continuity, allowing organizations to reduce manual and physical elements within processes. While not all manual handling can be eliminated, many operational activities can be streamlined through digitization.

Online file sharing, messaging, and collaboration allow teams to work together, even when not in the same space. Privacy and security risks are considerations that should be tightly woven into any solutions geared toward file-sharing efforts. Tools must safeguard data as well as documents, devices, and users. Video conferencing services help team members communicate and interact.

Automation is a key component of digital transformation and it goes hand-in-hand with the digitization of processes. Areas where manual and physical efforts can be removed should also be evaluated for automation. High volume processing and repetitive tasks are great candidates for automation and another way to safeguard business continuity.

These are some of the basic concepts behind digital transformation for business continuity. Technology is powerful and can prevent the bad kind of disruption, but it doesn’t stop there. Digital transformation, particularly for payments companies, promises easier, less expensive, more collaborative innovation — a key measure of success in today’s payments landscape.

Digital Transformation Streamlines the Path to Innovation

The importance of digitization is unmistakable: businesses and consumers have come to expect efficient, fast, seamless transaction options. Cloud migration and an API-first approach as part of a digital transformation strategy lend payments organizations flexibility, agility, and speed. These qualities, in turn, allow payments companies to more quickly launch products and services — and improve upon those products and services — over time.

APIs are an especially important piece of the digital transformation puzzle as they enable collaborative ecosystems between developers, partners, and other third parties. Not only does this facilitate more innovation but it also allows for the continuous addition of value to products and the end-users. APIs can be leveraged and reused to improve or add functions without the need to start from scratch. API mashups and collaboration can yield infinite possibilities that pave the road to innovation.

As payments organizations think about digital transformation, business continuity must be a part of the conversation. Even so, the conversation must expand beyond survival and into the world of innovation. The digital payments landscape is shifting quickly. Having a solid, modern, digitally transformed foundation on which to build new solutions will be paramount moving forward.

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