In the early years of the epayment revolution, banks and payment services providers successfully build innovative applications to improve productivity. Now it is the enormous
business demand for new technology that is helping to fuel new productivity challenges.
It seems already certain that the overwhelming demand will be for off-the-rack, state-of-theart solutions, buyable over the Internet from suppliers — solutions that work simply and flawlessly and cost next to nothing. It will be a long time coming for epayment services providers with large and complex systems, because, in addition to requiring cost-effective solutions that both employees and customers can readily use, they also need to be able to integrate them seamlessly into their own platforms and systems as they tighten their focus on using technology to simplify all of their core work.
Today technology is the second-largest expense category after employees in most business. Technology has gone from what was essentially a back-office function to an expenditure that now, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, takes up 50 per cent of companies’ annual capital budgets in the United States.
Undertaking what amounts to the second coming of IT technology is not exactly a walk in the park, companies have to move past the idea that technology alone will put you so far out in front that the competition could never catch up. Times have changed, and IT technology expenditures simply must be brought down just like costs in any other business.
Technology’s power is outstripping most of the business needs today, the two main endusers in an organization — customers and employees – are only actually utilizing about 20 per cent of their computing capabilities. The rest of the investment is mostly wasted.
This leads to a greater truth about IT technology, which is that like most organizations, epayment services providers have just about all the basic technologies they need to successfully compete right now. Whether you’re talking hardware, software or expertise, the transition has already been made from a seller’s to a buyer’s market.
Prices have dropped to affordable levels, and the capacity of the Internet has caught up with demand and that means vendors are now having to position themselves as commodity suppliers, or even as utilities.
The New TechnologyDepartment
Change has to happen internally as well, in the past the IT departments in payment industries, as in many other industries, were islands unto themselves . The CIO may have had to venture into the boardroom and chat with “the suits,” but many technology staff were high-tech gurus who did not need to care about the bottom line, refined communication skills or managing employees.
Times have changed. As the role of IT has become more crucial within organizations, so too, has the need for the department’s employees to be more flexible. Employers still find technical skills a necessary skill, but they now are looking for social and business skills in job candidates as well. How can IT workers who are essentially the soul of the department, affecting its effectiveness or lack thereof, best adjust to this new reality?
For starters, it is important to define exactly which of the so-called “soft” skills will be most in demand.
As IT departments integrate with other departments, corporations will experience sharply increased need for employees who can explain technology, interact with customers and manage projects.
Communication, in particular, is proving to be the most crucial skill that employers demand. IT needs people who can explain issues and problems clearly and at all levels. If you want to gain more responsibility and have a greater leadership role, learning effective interpersonal communication skills is the most important thing you can do.
They should be able to talk to a table full of non-technical executives and make themselves understood. This is the skill that seems the hardest to find, and the one that technology employees should really focus on developing.
To gain soft skills, technology workers can rely on training, which may be comforting, considering that training is a familiar recourse for anyone who must maintain a current technology education. Classes in management and communications can hone an employee’s business edge, while social skills can be learned in seminars on team building or customer service.
Another method of sharpening social and business dexterity is to ask for help from those who have learned these skills previously.
Yet another way for entry-level IT workers to acquire social savvy is by completing an apprenticeship or internship that combines business skill with technology prowess.
In conclusion, there is a change taking place in the epayment industry, the link between the suits and IT department has become closer. In the future we will see IT workers act more as business people and drive organizations towards more cost effective solutions, making smarter choices and handling far fewer number of vendors. While we will see a few vendors becoming master suppliers to the payment industry, they on the other hand will work with software and hardware suppliers to define more costeffective solutions, even license free services that will be run by the business. IT functions that are not core business pieces will be outsourced to suppliers who can keep the cost down.