Keeping treasury up and running – despite what might happen in any given market where a company has operations – is paramount. By consolidating systems across the enterprise into one cloud-based treasury technology platform, companies can better manage disaster recovery and contingency plans.
It is very hard to plan contingency around the many disparate systems that all perform different functions for treasury. Nonetheless, system consolidation enables companies to better plan for worst-case scenarios and to adjust their system availability based on what happens in all of their entities throughout the world.
As an example, one global packaging company reduced three different treasury systems in four different regions to one cloud-based platform across their entire enterprise. Their story is little different to many of those that involve leveraging the cloud to better manage treasury and risk. From an operational risk perspective, this strengthens the company’s ability to gain central control.
Catastrophes affect companies of all sizes, not just the Fortune 100 with large IT departments. However, many mid-sized companies are not always thinking about disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity planning (BCP) in the same way larger companies are. Security, for example, is not routinely checked by many mid-sized companies that use cloud platforms to support and automate their core collaboration software, email, human resources (HR) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
However these companies benefit from the rigorous testing undertaken by large companies – some of which are security companies themselves – which invest in the same technology. The same benefit is true with cloud treasury technology. Mid-sized companies gain the security assurance that a Ford, Microsoft or Google require (some large companies come with as many as 400 request for proposal (RFP) questions related to security alone) and get simply by subscribing to the same cloud platform. Still, risk mitigation should never be just someone else’s responsibility – all companies must take ownership.
The following are vendor considerations that companies should think about when planning against worst-case scenarios:
If you are global, use a treasury vendor that’s global
: It is in both the company’s and the vendor’s best interest to pay attention to local developments. The goal here is not just consolidation onto a single cloud platform, but also assurance that the vendor can support its clients in every region in a significant way.
Use a vendor that has a broad, bank agnostic connectivity platform:
In the event that a company’s access to a system is compromised in any one locale, having a cloud-based system with connectivity across all of a corporate’s various banks and accounts will enable a treasury organisation to maintain visibility into its global cash position in real time. In addition, with such connectivity, any account can be accessed anywhere, on demand, to maintain business continuity.
Ensure that the vendor has its own disaster recovery and business continuity plans:
If anything were to happen to a company or its vendor, both should be prepared. The vendor should have its own core infrastructure and systems in professional co-location facilities that offer redundant power supplies, communications links and other back-up, replicating all of its data in real-time situated in geographically diverse locations.
Constantly test the plan:
Companies and vendors alike can’t just write a document and stick it in a file. They have to have a plan they can actively use and rely on at any time. For efficiency and diligence, each operations leader within the global organization should participate in the business continuity plan, and make ongoing use of it to make sure it works. Operationalising disaster recovery and business continuity plans can ensure that a company and its vendor have plans that are real.
Companies that consolidate onto a single cloud platform are, in essence, creating a command and control centre. With these platforms, continuous treasury workflow and data access is not only convenient in good times, but also critical to operations in bad times as well.
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