In 2010, Dimitri Akhrin, founder and President of Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Integrated Reporting Is Simple LLC (IRIS), was at the helm of a thriving ISO. "Our clients were happy, our employees were motivated and the company I'd built over the last four years had become an unquestionable success – yet, all was not well," Akhrin recalled.
Like all ISOs, Akhrin's ISO, Bank Associates Merchant Services, faced increased competition and shrinking margins. Akhrin felt the company had an exceptionally organized sales force, strong strategic relationships and stellar customer service. He concluded the next step forward would have to be technological.
After conducting extensive research, Akhrin found no existing system could meet the payments industry's unique demands. So he decided to build his own. Akhrin, a Certified Payments Professional, holds a bachelor's degree in business and technology management from Polytechnic Institute of New York University, so he brought both technical expertise and payments industry knowledge to the task.
The result? IRIS – a custom-built, web-based ecosystem of services designed to improve efficiency and serve clients better, while slashing ISO lead-to-boarding sales time. Word of the system soon spread. IRIS now serves a growing list of ISO clients that, cumulatively, manage tens of thousands of merchant accounts, Akhrin reported.
Features for ISOs abound
The IRIS ecosystem features and integrations include:
Akhrin said the fully integrated calendar automatically alerts outside sales representatives of upcoming appointments, while simultaneously serving as a tracking mechanism for inside sales agents. The IRIS data fields, including those within a merchant's profile, and client categories are fully customizable, and notes stored in client profiles make it easy for team members to pick up where others have left off.
This automation combined with customization "allows for greater efficiency, as once the required account information is provided, IRIS is then able to automatically populate and produce a merchant-specific application – all at the click of a button," Akhrin said. "In editable PDF format, these on-the-spot applications enable merchants to sign up for processing – via secure e-signature – at the exact moment their interest peaks."
Data entered into the PDF application also flows back into IRIS so that it can be easily checked for accuracy. "With a few clicks of the mouse and in a fraction of the usual time spent, the account can then be onboarded to the ISO's processor," Akhrin said, adding that IRIS is integrated with the largest platforms in the industry and that he will welcome calls from other processors interested in joining the ecosystem. He estimated IRIS reduces the workload for an ISO's sales team by more than 60 percent.
Demand among ISOs is growing
Once a merchant is signed, full data analytics feed directly into a common IRIS dashboard, offering both ISOs and merchants access to a variety of detailed performance metrics. ISOs can view each sales team member's performance, if desired, as well as details on all merchant accounts, through "a single web application that provides a host of automatically refreshable charts and meaningful data analytics," Akhrin said. "IRIS even makes this information viewable on any Internet browser, tablet or smartphone."
Akhrin said IRIS is experiencing a "drastic increase" in demand for its services "The only way to continue realizing profits and position an ISO for future success is to increase efficiency, all while decreasing expenses," he said. "With IRIS, our clients have seen tremendous double-digit growth in volume of new merchants signed per capita of agents and employees." Akhrin believes this growth is "just the beginning."
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