Claiming the ‘Best Bank Connectivity’ accolade in TMI’s 2019 Awards for Innovation and Excellence, John Laurens, Group Head of Global Transaction Services at DBS, discusses the forces reshaping corporate to bank connectivity. He also explains how to achieve best-fit bank connectivity and outlines the role of open application programming interfaces (APIs) in treasury innovation, integration and business transformation.
Eleanor Hill (EH): Congratulations on your Award win – the third in as many years. This time, DBS RAPID was the winning solution. How can treasurers benefit from this?
John Laurens (JL): Companies are intensifying their focus on digital – from specific initiatives to new business models and platforms to create competitive advantage and realise their commercial ambitions. This also involves driving greater use of the cloud, be it for the creation of new commercial business propositions or the migration from legacy systems to cloud-based treasury and finance systems. As a consequence, connectivity of treasury, finance and commercial business platforms, with banking solutions via APIs, has become the standard today. As has been recognised by TMI, DBS RAPID (Real-time APIs with DBS), has led the world in corporate-bank connectivity.
Embracing digital is also changing the shape and nature of the interaction with banks. Traditional RFPs and Sales engagements are looking increasingly passé, as they are being rapidly replaced by co-creation partnerships, the application of human-centred design thinking in solutions development, using agile and customer-journey centred practices. All of which are essential ingredients that enable companies to deliver a differentiated experience to their customers and suppliers with speed.
EH: OK, before we delve into the solution itself, for those of us who aren’t API-savvy, could you give us a short recap as to what they are?
JL: APIs or Application Programming Interfaces have been around for some time, however, as mentioned, with increasing use of cloud-based tech stacks, corporates are creating unparalleled transformational change enabled increasingly by the innovative use of APIs. The machine-to-machine connectivity at the core of API use, brings continuous and instantaneous interactions across a broad spectrum of transactional and information management process flows and systems. This increasingly includes connectivity with banks and other financial service providers. It’s the very nature of this connectivity that is enabling companies to create transformational change, be it at the heart of their commercial platforms or in supporting treasury and financial systems.