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Moving Money at 30,000 Feet

Which of the two following scenarios are you better equipped to deal with in today’s world?

A)     You get an urgent Skype message from your university student daughter in Atlanta, who is standing in line at the bookstore cash register the day before classes begin. She is about to purchase the books she requires to begin her course of study. She needs $750 deposited into her checking account immediately (well, in about eight minutes because there are five people ahead of her in line). You receive the message while you are in an aircraft on a flight to San Francisco.

B)      You are sitting at your desk in the office of an accounts receivable shared service center in Dallas, Texas. The center features a fiber-optic, high-bandwidth connection to a highly secure, lightning-fast ERP system. Your company has just invested $200 million in a major information system upgrade that provides deep connectivity to all critical business system processes.  Quarter-end is in two weeks. Your manager walks into your office and asks whether the $750,000 that is past the 60-day aging forecast (your standard payment term is 30 days) will be paid within the next 10 days.

Amazingly, scenario A presents the far more surmountable challenge. A web connection and a few mouse clicks can move funds between bank accounts, real-time, and—presto—problem solved.

But let’s do a sanity check. Companies have invested billions in building better connectivity with customers and suppliers – whether it’s EDI, proprietary supplier portals, or B2B networks. Yet, on the most critical of business functions – identifying, controlling and moving money – it is easier to do this in our personal lives from an aluminum tube at 30,000 feet than sitting at a desk near some of the most advanced and connected business systems.

There’s something just plain wrong with that. Companies today need better solutions than traditional payment offerings can deliver.

Cash is the lifeblood of businesses today, more than ever. Businesses need to be in control of cash to compete and thrive. Successful businesses endure. They grow. And they retain current employees and hire new people to grow even more. Ultimately, that helps everyone – particularly those of us who must move cash in an aircraft at 30,000 feet for students waiting to buy books in 8 minutes.

About the author
Peter Lugli
Peter Lugli

Peter is responsible for Ariba’s strategy and direction of the working capital solutions and services. He joined Ariba via Quadrem, where he was the vice president of marketing and alliances.

Prior to his private sector experience, Peter ... Read More >>>

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