Whether you’re looking to implement a new Treasury Management System or upgrade your existing model, it’s vital to focus on operational outcomes to make the most of your investment in time and resources.
“It’s vital to cut through the gloss and identify the core functionality you need for a good outcome,” said Sally O’Keefe from treasury middle and back office specialists ETOS. “Although it is widely acknowledged that any TMS is unlikely to deliver 100% of your requirements, companies need to consider what their benchmark is. The key is to be realistic. If the TMS that you’re moving to or upgrading doesn’t deliver 80-85% of the functions that your business needs, it’s going to be hard to fill the gaps with niche applications.”
As an outsourced treasury service, ETOS works across all major TMS systems daily on behalf of corporate clients. The team’s intimate, unbiased knowledge of their comparative scopes and strengths/weaknesses can offer an advantage to any business — whether they are looking to implement a TMS for the first time or upgrade/replace their existing system.
Global logistics giant moves fast
Global logistics giant Toll Group was part-way through the largest change in its 129-year history: a three-year global transformation set to simplify the way the business worked, creating efficiencies, better customer service and a long-term strategy for growth.
Within this wider context, the Treasury team needed to upgrade of their Treasury Management System to Visual Risk, second generation, over a relatively short timeline, so Assistant Treasurer, Laura Innes called ETOS in to support the planning and scoping phase.
“We chose ETOS because their team has a deep practical understanding of treasury operations. Their involvement gave us some real insight. They offered sound practical advice to help us get the best from our TMS,” she confirmed.
ETOS sat in on the two-day scoping session and added insights from their broad experience to the requests that Toll made of the vendor: “They guided and supported us within the process,” continued Laura. “ETOS was able to identify solutions to some historical problems that were specifically tailored to our business needs.
“They also pinpointed ways in which the vendors could adjust their system to better suit Toll. My colleague and I walked out of the two-day session feeling that ETOS had been a real value-add. They offered insights and captured detail that ensured the vendor would deliver on our agreed scope. It was ideal having ETOS involved.”
Like Toll Group, most businesses with a TMS take pains to ensure that they are running the most recent version. However, many are only accessing around one third of the capacity of their TMS, according to ETOS.
“Poor knowledge acquisition, pressure on time and resources within the treasury team – and a lack of training — leads to businesses not taking full advantage of the system they have invested so heavily in,” comments Sally O’Keefe. “TMS optimisation offers a real opportunity for treasury departments to be seen as a value-add in the eyes of the wider business, rather than a cost.”
Common obstacles to TMS implementation
Although the case for TMS implementation is well-known, 50% of treasurers managing less than $10 billion still use spreadsheets as their primary system. Ironically, the main obstacle to change is that treasurers feel too overwhelmed and pressured to take it on (source: Treasury Management Systems Guide 2016/2017).
“If treasurers are putting off a TMS implementation or upgrade because they don’t have the time and resources, then that’s exactly the right time to sit down and identify the functionality needed to tackle that problem in the long-term,” said Sally O’Keefe.
Accessing the right kind of help
Specialist knowledge held within the ETOS team brings efficiencies that shorten the process of scoping out, weighing up and implementing a new TMS. Optimising use of the new system, trouble-shooting and supporting staff through user acceptance testing is all part of the service.
When businesses access the right kind of help, timelines become more manageable and delivery of the right functionality is a much more likely outcome.
Where does the vendor fit in?
Throughout the process, the vendor retains primary responsibility for the implementation. As a partner, ETOS acts as an advocate in the client’s dealings with their vendor; like a ‘translator’ between the business and their technical requirements. The Toll implementation highlights how ETOS supports vendor understanding of the client’s processes and requirements — and pin-points how the system can best support those requirements.
“The contribution of ETOS during the scoping and planning session for the Visual Risk implementation at Toll was of immense value and allowed the project to start on very strong footing,” commented Hamish Wells, Treasury Consultant at Visual Risk.
“Their broad, hands-on operational experience facilitated seamless planning, allowing Toll to take full advantage of the workflow and reporting functionality offered by Visual Risk. We would happily work with ETOS again.”
Six stages of a TMS implementation:
Proof of concept: ETOS can help to set objectives and develop testing samples for a TMS ‘proof of concept’, facilitating scoping sessions to outline key requirements like reporting and workflows.
Initial/Review configuration and static data: An injection of ETOS expertise at this stage will help to ensure that the new system meets client requirements and structure both at the time of implementation and into the future.
Data migration: With their broad-based understanding of all leading TM systems, ETOS ensures the correct set-up of data and reconciliations from various sources. This often sidesteps issues with day counts, policies and the hierarchies to provide required reports.
Interface development and deployment: ETOS will reducing the need for workarounds by driving the refinement of TMS functionality. By carrying out testing and working with your bank/s and payments systems, ETOS helps to ensure that statements and payments are flowing correctly.
Functional use and training: ETOS involvement highlights the practical use of the system within your specific business processes and requirements. Part of this work will be to make sure that reporting requirements are met and are set up in a way that is easy to support on an ongoing basis
User acceptance testing: Using our experience, ETOS helps to set up and train staff to incorporate the system in a practical and efficient manner through workflows, supporting segregation of duties and controls. Input at this stage will also ensure acceptable knowledge transfer from the vendor.