PayTech Awards 2021 Winner: Maria Nottingham, Compass Plus – Woman In PayTech
Overcoming the complexities of building a successful, modern-day payments processing business
In the fast-paced payments world of today, building a processing business to meet the requirements of financial institutions (FIs) old and new, traditional and disruptive, is no mean feat.
Maria Nottingham, the managing director of Compass Plus Great Britain and an executive vice president of the Compass Plus Group, has risen to the challenge with the support of her team and mentors, and has been rewarded with the Woman in PayTech award 2021 for her efforts.
All successful large-scale projects must be built on solid foundations, with clear vision and strategy in place. In this article, Maria shares the five fundamental building blocks that helped grow a successful business and overcome the complexities of the modern-day payments landscape.
Build a universal processing centre that meets the requirements of FIs today and that is flexible to adapt to their unknown requirements for the future, beyond increased volumes and new products, extending into new product lines and new geographies and even holistic changes in deployment models from Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and hosted processing to hybrid license options for FIs to build their own in-house systems.
A modern-day payments processor should offer the capability to cater for changing business and industry requirements, and to enable FIs to realise the breadth of their vision, rather than a static choice between option A or option B.
Build the processing business using the right technology platform with flexibility and integration in the very DNA of its being. The underlying infrastructure and functional capabilities will dictate the long-term success and manoeuvrability of the business as a whole.
The future won’t be built on card-based systems from the 90s – the future is yet unwritten and needs software developed with the unknown in mind, token-based and object-oriented.
Don’t shackle yourself to legacy infrastructure or a functionally limited platform and all the costs associated with them – both monetary and in terms of resource allocation – before you have even begun.
Build and maintain a strong and knowledgeable team of experts. Payments systems are complex, and true knowledge and expertise can only be achieved through extensive hands-on experience.
From understanding the complexities of compliance to ensuring successful certifications, it takes this practical industry proficiency to create a business with staying power.
Build internal processes and procedures to both enable the efficient running of the business itself, but also to deal with the potential unknown issues of working with third parties.
While the opportunity is there to maintain a level of control, ensure continuity and plan for contingencies across internal technologies and procedures.
Working with sponsor banks, payment networks, cloud providers and any additional players each individual customer wants to work with brings its own set of complexities to manage. Being prepared and having your own house in order leaves you better equipped to deal with unforeseen events.
Build a balanced relationship with your customers. The master/slave relationship is an antiquated approach to your business.
On one hand, processors should not call all the shots and create vendor lock-in whereby customers can’t explore new and lucrative avenues of business growth. On the other hand, your customers need to take advantage of your expertise to build comprehensive strategies that will increase both of your bottom lines, creating a symbiotic and sustainable partnership.
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL PAYTECH AWARDS WINNERS SUPPLEMENT, IT’S FREE AND FEATURES SOME OF THE MOST IMPACTFUL AND INNOVATIVE PROJECTS, PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND PEOPLE IN THE PAYMENTS SPACE IN 2021!