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Industry roundup: 19 June 2020

Ivalua release targets supply chain visibility

Ivalua, a provider of global spend management cloud solutions, has announced the general availability of its new platform release 166. The release features innovations to empower customers to better manage their spend and suppliers. The upgrades focus on supporting smarter and faster decisions around supplier relationships and sourcing initiatives, improving the capture and recognition of savings, increasing accounts payable automation and ensuring accessibility for all.

Specific release highlights include:

  • Sourcing Decision Center (SDC) - Ivalua's sourcing solution now includes intuitive sourcing optimisation capabilities, designed to allow any user to leverage optimisation and make smarter allocation and supplier selection decisions.
  • Sub-Tier Supplier Management - The COVID-19 crisis revealed the risk exposure of many organisation's supply chains due to their suppliers' suppliers. The new release enables visibility into a supplier's sub-tier network so customers can better understand their true supply chain risk. A visual mapping of the sub-tier network allows customers to identify supplier dependencies, areas of high risk or opportunities to drive innovation and better orchestrate spend.
  • Savings Tracking - Enhancements to the existing solution allow procurement and finance to define, manage and track savings according to their own internal guidelines.
  • AP Automation - With streamlined AP workflow, touchless non-PO handling, and new tax compliance capabilities, the company says that invoice processing is now significantly faster. 
  • Web Accessibility - Ivalua's Public and Supplier Portals now meet the requirements of the international standard known as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Level AA criteria to provide access for all workers. 


Deloitte survey affirms blockchain’s maturity as a true strategic priority

Now in its third year, Deloitte’s “Global Blockchain Survey” reveals a compelling evolution of blockchain from an experimental, disruptive technology to a true strategic priority for organisations. Survey respondents indicated increased sentiment, investments, and more strategic talent sourcing and requirements for blockchain initiatives. For the first time, the survey digs into the role and evolution of digital assets.

Among the key survey findings:

  • 39% of global respondents have already incorporated blockchain into production. This is a significant increase from 23% of respondents signalling production last year. 
  • 55% of responding organisations view blockchain as a top strategic priority, an increase from 53% in 2019 and 43% in 2018. 
  • Nearly 89% of those surveyed believe that digital assets will be “very” or “somewhat” important to their industries in the next three years.
  • 82% of respondents said that they are hiring staff with blockchain expertise or plan to do so within the next 12 months, compared to 73% last year.
  • 83% of respondents indicated their companies will lose competitive advantage if they don’t adopt blockchain (versus 77% in 2019).
  • 70% call the pace of regulatory change for blockchain and digital asset solutions as “very” or “somewhat” fast.

Increased advances of large-scale blockchain initiatives are occurring including blockchain-based financial infrastructure to simplify global money movement and commerce, as well as distributed ledger technology for trade finance and blockchain-enabled track-and-trace platforms, among others. The survey report also revealed increased blockchain initiatives in daily processes including title transfer and protection, patient data storage and retrieval, and more efficient voting or food sourcing tracking.


Bank of Thailand project explores central bank digital currency

The Bank of Thailand (BOT) has announced a project to develop the prototype of the payment system for businesses using Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), which will build upon knowledge from Project Inthanon. The project scope will include conducting a feasibility study and developing a process to integrate CBDC with the business’ innovative platform.          

The BOT says it recognises and supports the important roles of financial innovation and technology in enhancing the competitiveness and readiness of the business sector entering the digital age. The project marks an important step in broadening CBDC’s scope and adoption to wider audiences, starting with large corporates. In this project, the CBDC prototype will be integrated with the procurement and financial management systems of the Siam Cement Public Company Limited and its suppliers developed by Digital Ventures Company Limited. The prototype is expected to serve as a financial innovation that enables higher payment efficiency for businesses such as increasing flexibility for fund transfers, or delivering faster and more agile payments between suppliers. The project will begin in July 2020 and is expected to conclude by the end of the year, after which the BOT will publish the project summary and outcome accordingly.

In addition, Project Inthanon, the collaborative project between the BOT and the eight leading financial institutions to study and develop the proof-of-concept for domestic wholesale funds transfer using wholesale CBDC, has been accomplished in January 2020 with the successful completion of the cross-border transfer prototype co-developed with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). In the next step, the BOT, the HKMA and the participating financial institutions will continue to collaborate and experiment CBDC for other use cases in cross-border transfers, which the BOT will later announce in detail.


UK Finance proposes next steps for open banking

A future model for how the UK’s Open Banking (OB) functions can continue and progress once the current implementation phase ends early next year has been set out in a new report, Open Banking – Future State, by UK Finance in association with Accenture.

Open Banking is a secure way to share financial information across multiple providers and is used in products such as account aggregation, where customers who have accounts across multiple banks can see all their account information in one place. The banking and finance industry has invested an estimated £1.5bn in infrastructure since the launch of Open Banking in 2016 by nine of the largest banks, known as the CMA91, and Payments UK, which is now part of UK Finance.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) final OB implementation roadmap is due to end in early 2021, with the banking and finance industry then required to keep the OB function running. The new report sets out how this transition could be achieved and proposes that at the end of the current roadmap, the OB functions are maintained and moved into a service company that is governed and funded by the wider banking and finance industry in a fair and equitable way. The goal of the next phase is to maintain what has been achieved and extend further in the future.

To ensure a fair and representative governance structure across the industry, the report recommends that the service company Board should consist of a mix of independent and industry experts with customer experience. It also suggests that the monitoring of the original CMA Order on the CMA9 remains separate from the service company, to enable the service company to adapt to future mandates subject to the promotion of competition.

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