To survive in the highly competitive financial services industry, companies must continually evolve. Those that become complacent risk losing market share. Even if profits are up and customers are satisfied, ISOs, merchant level salespeople (MLSs) and their customers must continually ask, Can this be done faster, more accurately or just plain better?
The answer, of course, is yes. There is always room for improvement.
But how, exactly, do we bump up our game? Business process optimization (BPO) is a promising option. It involves finding ways to automate or optimize labor-intensive and redundant activities to save money and improve performance _ without sacrificing service quality.
But can BPO address the unique demands of the payment processing industry? Yes. Business and payment software development firm Crossgate Dynamics offers BPO services tailored specifically to the financial services industry. Specializing in BPO, Crossgate helps businesses _ particularly acquirers, ISOs, MLSs and merchants _ create and implement custom solutions to work smarter, rather than harder. Its solutions are designed to improve existing processes and create new money-saving, revenue-generating practices.
The ultimate goals of BPO are to increase productivity, reduce cost and boost revenue. Crossgate's target market benefits from the company's singular focus and expertise. John Allen Tharpe, Crossgate's founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, has a 15-year history in the payments industry and has held executive positions in the acquiring sector. Tharpe also was Executive Vice President of a leading payment gateway.
When Tharpe founded Crossgate in October 2006, he knew the company would create and develop software for a multitude of businesses. But he was particularly drawn to the payments space. "A focus on the payments industry was especially attractive as the industry is in the midst of a technological transformation," Tharpe said.
He noted that his company is much more than a software developer. "Crossgate Dynamics intimately understands the electronic payments industry and develops payment-specific technology for acquirers, ISOs and their merchants," he said.
Tharpe's experience has given him a thorough understanding of the payment processing industry's regulatory and compliance issues. "All my years in the payments space has certainly benefited the company in the sense that we understand the rules, the processors, the message file formats," he said. "That is what separates us from any other software development company."
Acquirers, ISOs and MLSs can engage Crossgate to develop internal productivity applications such as online merchant applications, virtual processing technologies, reporting tools, Web-based portals, processor certifications and automated reconciliation solutions.
The company also offers technological solutions for POS terminal, automated clearing house, electronic bill presentment and payment, and payment gateway integration.
Crossgate can also help strengthen responses to requests for proposal (RFPs). The company provides expert technical assistance and can even conceptually design custom integrated solutions that may be required to win bids.
"If the RFP mandates a complex solution or contains an integrated payment requirement, acquirers and ISOs no longer have to shy away from the opportunity," Tharpe said. "Crossgate is a strong resource and partner."
Additionally, Crossgate provides support. Depending on the application or client requirements, support can run from minimal to elaborate. Tharpe reported that if a solution is robust and complex, the company can provide a 24/7/365 maintenance contract. It also accommodates clients who prefer to manage solutions themselves.
Merchants are increasingly well-versed in payment options and the importance of value-added services. While they may not understand the intricacies of electronic payment technologies, retailers are aware of innovations that could benefit them. They want to use payment options that will provide them the biggest profit.
"The adaptations and acceptance of these electronic forms of payment [are] growing," Tharpe said. "It's becoming the preferred way of conducting business."
In today's economy, businesses "have to do it faster and better, to compete," Tharpe said. "That is the driving force. Companies can't solely compete with a stand-alone, nonintegrated solution. Merchants are looking for ways to integrate payment processing into day-to-day activities."
Tharpe added that price alone is no longer enough to close a sale. ISOs, MLSs and acquirers "need to go to the next level and start talking about efficiency and integration," he said.
Crossgate's solutions contribute to the brass ring of retention: Once merchants are using proprietary solutions that serve them well, they are less likely to change processors. "It streamlines and optimizes processes," Tharpe said.
"The acquirer is happy because they built something that a competitor can't begin to touch or duplicate. [The customer] will be with them for a long time."
According to Tharpe, customization is what differentiates his company. "Crossgate Dynamics does not sell 'off the shelf' technology, as we fully understand that our clients have their own way of conducting business," he said. "We adapt so our clients don't have to."
Tharpe wants acquirers, ISOs and MLSs to know they have resources. He believes Crossgate can help them increase efficiencies, win new business and retain current clients. And, since Crossgate's market is international, and thus able to transcend locations and industries, its customers can reach just about any merchant, he noted.
Crossgate is seeking technological partnerships in the payments industry. "It's an alliance opportunity for the acquirer to engage us to expand their internal infrastructures and to become more efficient and optimized in their own practices," he said. "We can also help build new technologies to attack certain market verticals.
"A partnership with Crossgate Dynamics enables acquirers and ISOs to become more competitive and to win more merchant contracts."
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John Allen Thorpe
President and CEO
10201 W. Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205
Web site: www.cgdynamics.com