The late Steve Jobs at Apple used to say that when you take the new product out of its beautiful box, “It just works.” Not only that, he got rid of the User Guides because the product was so simple and obvious to use. But that wasn’t not enough in the Apple stores Job set up world-wide, a vital component are the Genius Bars combined with the superb telephone support to ensure that Apple users are productive wherever they are.
In the world of corporate treasury systems and services few users received the support and advice they need. Indeed, it is so bad that some (many?) corporate treasury departments have staff who are experts in how their TMS works and can fix it themselves. (Some even send their own staff on consultancy training to ensure they can keep the system going.) Why is this happening? What are the causes?
The reasons for this lack of support and unhappiness in the corporate treasury department with their treasury systems and services include:
- They don’t pay enough for the basic system or service so that the appropriate level of service can be offered (Apple - who probably has the best level of service support have some of the highest margins in the computing business)
- No-one wants to pay for support, even internally, yet it is the part that makes the service or system effective
- Suppliers continue to use legacy systems way beyond the point at which they should have been replaced
- Corporate treasury department keep insisting on the lowest price for their systems and banking services, way beyond what is reasonable and realistic if they really considered what they are asking for.
The solutions include:
- CFOs, corporate treasurers and treasury departments have to accept that they need to pay more for better quality of service. e.g. SunGard (now in the FIS stable) have an Enhanced Service Desk which offers more hours and improved support, AND they charge more for this
- Banks, e.g. Deutsche Bank, resisting the calls for price reductions that pare the income below the level at which they can provide an appropriate and excellent level of service
- More elegant simpler systems and services are needed which by their very nature don’t require loads of complicated support
- ‘Out the box’ thinking to remove the unnecessary functions, e.g. SWIFT’s GPI initiative, etc.
CTMfile take: There are many more things that can be done, but the starting point has to be that corporate treasurers, etc. being prepared to pay more for the appropriate support of their systems and services combined with suppliers and banks providing elegant effective systems that don’t require much support. A pipe dream?
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