The Green Sheet Online Edition
June 14, 2010 • Issue 10:06:01
The drive to innovate
Cost-cutting in the face of economic adversity will only get you so far. At some point, you have to break out of the bunker and invest in innovation and new services to grow your business.
During an economic downturn, the general instinct is to huddle down, limit investments in market expansion and wait out the bad times. But staying current with market and industry developments helps businesses take advantage of future trends and needs.
One foot in the future
Businesses that roar out of a recession are those that not only focus on core products, but also look toward innovative solutions that meet the changing needs of customers. When things pick up again, these companies are prepared for increased customer spending and have a jump on competitors by having pushed the envelope on their offerings.
This approach requires one foot in the past and one foot in the future, which is a posture customers truly value: they want to see their product and service suppliers keep pace with the latest developments - but without abandoning their existing investments.
As a payment technology supplier, we constantly assess our current and future directions. We know that acquirers have a vested stake in smooth migration between technology generations, have invested in software and training, incurred the "soft costs" of product and customer support services, and want to leverage those investments.
Guidelines for innovation
Our research into how payment systems are used today and how changing industry standards and challenges may impact usage tomorrow has led us to four key principles for innovation:
1. Full-spectrum security: Ever-evolving threats require vigilance and technology that adapts to meet the next wave of hacker assaults. The payments industry must stay ahead of the curve by moving to Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard PED Version 2 and integrating new technologies, such as end-to-end encryption, to secure data from start to finish for every transaction.
2. Next-level performance: Merchants want to offer consumers more services and features, such as electronic signature capture, larger screens with eye-catching color and the ability to stream multimedia marketing programs. More memory and the latest fast microprocessor technology provide the performance and capability to support these features at the point of service.
3. Extended life design: Reliability and consistency build merchant loyalty. Today's systems have to be durable and dependable. But they also have to be forward-looking so that customers are certain their investments won't become obsolete with the next revision to an industry standard or latest set of mandates from the major card brands.
4. A proven platform: Merchants are averse to investing in unproven technologies and hesitant to migrate from something reliable. Accordingly, we're reluctant to base next-level products on entirely new technology platforms. We want ISOs and merchants to bring their knowledge and investments forward by advancing a proven architecture to the next level.
Innovation fuels business growth. But there's a right way and a wrong way to innovate. So press forward with innovative technology, but also maintain backward compatibility that bridges the gap between current and next-generation technology.
Scott Henry is Director, North America Product Marketing, for VeriFone Inc. He can be reached at