While this posting headline may draw eyeballs from those who can’t get enough of mobile (or indeed may be seeking something more tangible than many generalizations that are more commonly posted) and also the airline-related industry parties, it is actually about something broader than the title suggests. The piece actually uses both mobile and the airline industry as proxies to enter into a broader discussion, but leads with airline revenue potential from mobile services.A quick history lesson: Beginning in the '70s, airlines began deploying mainframe computers and, in the mid-'90s, started using the internet to allow passengers to plan travel, purchase tickets and even to access their frequent flier programs. Now the industry is moving — at an uneven speed, to be clear — to a new generation of digital technology that allows for cross-function data sharing, increased process efficiencies and better experiences for passengers.The pace is picking up as millennials and younger travelers increasingly shape passenger demographics. One survey indicated that nearly 40% spend more time with their smartphones than with family, friends and co-workers. Nearly two-thirds shop on smartphones every day. A 2016 Deloitte global mobile survey headline said it all: "Life’s essentials: Air, water, food, and smartphones."The discussion broadens into what is really about the already existing impact and future potential for financial professionals (and of course corporates across the spectrum of size and segments) in utilizing advancing tech for digitizing payments, regardless of channel or device. Mercator has covered the benefits to digitizing the cash cycle in numerous publications, most recently in March entitle Improving Receivables Management: Ignore at your Own Peril. The point is not around MPOS (although for the airline industry revenue line that is important, albeit a consumer-related discussion) but the use of fintech within corporate finance to allow greater visibility and speed, along with ease of use for treasurers and CFOs to more effectively do their jobs.As iTreasurer points out, payments have gone from "ho-hum" to being one of the most "potentially valuable parts of our current financial system," with potential impact in three areas of particular interest to a corporate finance function:
• Corporate treasury services
• Treasury processes
• Business modelsFor airlines and everyone else in the new age, it may be best to recognize the Fortune 500 landscape change since the year 2000, with numerous disappearing acts for firms that did not adapt to whirlwind technology advances."How corporates and their partners deal with digitalization," EuroFinance wrote, "will determine whether or not they survive the next decade, and treasurers — and their boards — realize it."
Overview by Steve Murphy
, Director, Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group
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