Bank Connectivity, what you don’t know can hurt

By Kyriba May 16, 2016

The selection process of a Treasury Management Solution (TMS) is a multi-layered process. One of the most important, and where many decisions are made, is the product demonstration. The product demo is a snapshot into what the TMS offers.  It is human nature to focus solely on the functionality reviewed during the demonstrations.  Ensuring that the functionality meets your business needs is critical.  However, there is more to the decision than the demonstration alone. There are several factors that should be considered in connection with the demoed functionality, in order to ascertain the overall value of a vendor.  Many services, such as customer-service ability, product-enhancement history, vendor viability, technology and security, are all integral characteristics of a best-in-class TMS provider, and should be part of the final decision to select a TMS.

Bank Connectivity is one of the critical services that should be discussed with your vendor.  The ability to connect to your banks, and automatically send and receive pertinent information is at the heart of a TMS offering.  When this foundational service is limited, it does not matter how impressive the TMS functionality is. In lieu of robust bank connectivity, your TMS functionality will be impaired.

In the TMS space, not all connectivity offerings are created equal.  As a result, simply asking vendors, “Can your TMS connect with my banks?” is not a sufficient question to uncover the pitfalls of an inadequate solution.

In addition to the standard RFP questions from the AFP, we recommend the following “enhanced” set of questions to ascertain the real capabilities and limitations of a TMS or third-party connectivity module:

1.       Do you manage your own connectivity or do you outsource your solution?

2.       Do you manage SWIFT BICs on behalf of your clients, or do you outsource this service?

3.       If you outsource your connectivity, what service provider(s) do you use?  If there is a different connectivity provider based on the connectivity type (i.e. SWIFT, host-to-host, Zengin, etc.), please list all providers and respond to the following questions for each provider.

4.       What protocols and formats do you offer for bank-polling connectivity?  If all, or part, of your connectivity solution is outsourced, please provide the protocols and formats by outsource vendor.

5.       What protocols and formats do you offer for bank-payments connectivity?  If all, or part, of your connectivity solution is outsourced, please provide the protocols and formats by outsource vendor.

6.       What SWIFT connectivity do you support? What is your recommendation?

7.       How does the contracting processes work for connectivity?

8.       If there is a problem with bank statements, who is responsible for resolving the problem?

9.       Does your SOC 2 Type II cover your connectivity solution?

10.   Do you proactively monitor the bank connections?

11.   Does your pricing include the bank connectivity or just your software?

With the range and scope of the above questions, you begin to see what challenges you may have down the road. Even if your product demonstration was impressive, be sure to ask about key elements that contribute to the functionality of your product. Setting up your team for success is a good position to support, and the right TMS can empower your team to solve your short and long-term challenges. If this article has generated a few more questions that were not addressed, or if you want to talk more about bank connectivity, contact us at [email protected]

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