WEX, a major financial technology service provider for sectors such as healthcare, travel, and fleet, in collaboration with E(BrandConnect), a commercial arm of The Economist Group, released a white paper titled, “The Digital Payments Tipping Point”. The aim was to assess the current state of payment innovation for B2B payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

They conducted a survey of 308 U.S.-based senior executives within the financial services, financial technology, as well as technology services companies. 

The Findings 

Of those executives working within the financial services and technology sector, 72% were found to be “more digitally agile” than before the pandemic hit. It was also found that 83% have taken advantage of payment technology to create new sources of “business value”. 

As the economy bounces back, 42% of those same executives found it necessary to revamp their technology platforms. Legacy processes and their platforms have proven to not function optimally, especially in a work-from-home setting. 

Competition is at the forefront of most executives’ minds, with 72% of respondents agreeing that their particular company must reshape its “end-customer supplier payment solution” in order to outperform its competitors. 

Jay Dearborn, President of WEX Corporate Payments, had this to say:

“COVID-19 transformed the world of work as we know it, and businesses had no choice but to adapt. In many ways this was a forced transition, but we’ve found that, among our customers and partners, those that are recovering fastest already had a culture of digital transformation instead of relying on legacy processes.”

When it comes to delivering customer value via payments, 83% of executive respondents accepted that, through payment innovations, it could translate to fresh payment efficiencies and additional sources of revenue, even after the pandemic. Some examples of payments innovation include e-invoicing, e-billing, and reducing costs by “optimizing” payment pricing and terms. 

The overall research delivers a hard reality that companies must face despite the great opportunities and challenges the current times may present. The reality is that if companies don’t innovate, they will cease to exist. For the statement, “companies that continue to lag behind on internal technological infrastructure changes will be left behind”, 81% of respondents agreed. For “companies that have fallen behind on their digital transformation will soon be obsolete,” 82% agreed with this statement. 

The bottom line is that companies that have demonstrated “digital agility” have remained resilient during the widespread pandemic. Those that were able to bounce back the quickest did so since they had already adopted a “culture of digital transformation”. Therefore, making any necessary changes or upgrades proved to be quicker and more efficient. 

As more companies have adapted to work-from-home models, they must still keep a close eye on their competitors, customers, and suppliers who are equally determined to innovate and keep up with the rapidly changing trends. 

Looking Ahead

Although the world seems to be caught up in a perpetual tailspin, there are some things that businesses can do to regain their bearings and take control of their financial standing. One of the most important things that businesses can do is begin to actively innovate their current payments platforms and technologies. By doing so, they are more likely to gain a more solid financial footing than those counterparts that refuse to adapt to the necessary changes.