EVALUATING ATM / POS TRANSACTION MONITORING: A HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY OF SOLUTIONS

Introduction

This whitepaper is for payment processing and retail banking executives who are evaluating their options for ATM / POS transaction monitoring. It will help you summarize the business case for investment, capture your key business requirements, and articulate the technical characteristics that are most important to your users.

This whitepaper is also intended as a rough outline of a Request for Information (RFI) or Request for Proposal (RFP) document. As such, it includes lists of requirements and questions you can use to construct an RFI / RFP document tailored to your project.

Core Value Proposition

This section can help you explain, in the space of a short elevator ride, why you’re evaluating ATM / POS transaction monitoring systems.

These systems can capture every customer interaction in real-time, allowing us to quickly get to the heart of transaction issues that reduce revenues, strain operational resources and frustrate customers.

The ideal system would also provide customized ATM transaction and cash management statistics that can help us manage targeted campaign performance, enhance the profitability of our ATM channel, and ensure important customer interactions are secure and reliable.

Business Case

For most payment processors and banks, the business case for real-time ATM / POS transaction monitoring boils down to one or more of the following benefits:

  1. Discovering problems earlier (or proactively). This typically translates into increased revenue as a result of reducing failed customer interactions, spotting issues sooner and resolving them before substantial revenue losses and major customer service disruptions occur.
  2. Troubleshooting issues faster. This typically translates into improved operating efficiency. Less staff time is spent troubleshooting issues and gathering fragmented event-related data, freeing up more time for projects that move the company forward.
  3. Gaining easy, cost effective access to real-time and statistical ATM transaction performance data. This typically translates into an improved customer experience, higher net promoter scores, and discovery of new product and service opportunities.

Other areas you may want to consider for business case development include:

–              Deliver a better end customer experience through real-time event alerting

–              Improve internal Service Level Agreement (SLA) achievement

–              Improve business process availability

–              Reduce IT support costs

–              Reduce revenue loss

–              Reduce the duration and severity of service outages

–              Consolidate your existing monitoring tool portfolio

–              Hold external service providers accountable to their SLAs

–              Improve IT operations team productivity

–              Identify opportunities to improve application performance and resilience

INETCO also offers a whitepaper to help you measure and articulate your business case for transaction monitoring. This whitepaper, titled “What’s the ROI? Building Your Case for Real-Time ATM Monitoring & Transaction Analytics,” provides examples of how to calculate the business impact of each of the benefits above. You can download it here.

Triggers for Investment

Alongside developing a strong business case for investment in ATM / POS transaction monitoring, you will also want to articulate how your investment will drive strategic initiatives in the ATM / POS channel.  Here are some examples of investment triggers INETCO has seen in our customer base:

Retail banking examples

InitiativeHow Transaction Monitoring Helps
Issues with customer service consistency across multi-channel banking environmentsTrack all customer interactions, regardless of where they originate or where they complete

 

ATM / POS upgrades, value added service expansion, fleet expansion (organic or through acquisition)Uptime, availability and performance assurance before / during / after
Upgrading ATM / POS management softwareUptime, availability and performance assurance before / during / after
Significant outage or fraud attack has occurredConstant monitoring and forensic investigation capabilities
Undergoing a payments modernization or data center migration initiative: Payments hub strategy, digital banking, core banking or switch softwareBaselining performance and application behavior prior and after change
Visibility into Cloud or virtual environments (lack of response time metrics for cloud-based switches and applications)Establish and monitor service level commitments
Issues with 3rd party service performanceEstablish and monitor service level commitments
Want real-time analytics to improve ATM profitability, operational efficiency and the end customer experienceInstant access to rich transaction data that can be forwarded to the management platform of your choice – without modifying underlying application
Issues with modern applications communicating with core legacy appsDetailed visibility into system applications and system stack interaction

Payment processor examples

InitiativeHow Transaction Monitoring helps
New value added service, application or transaction type rolloutUptime, availability, performance assurance before / during / after
Acquisition and onboarding of a major new customerUptime, availability, performance assurance before / during / after
Significant outage or fraud attack has occurredConstant monitoring and forensic investigation capabilities
Move from monolithic to distributed switch environmentBaselining performance and application behavior prior and after change
Undergoing a payments modernization initiative: Payments hub strategy and deploymentBaselining performance and application behavior prior and after change
Loss of performance visibility due to encryption, tokenization, or other measuresRegain transaction-level visibility by capturing raw transaction information from the network
To manage expanding transaction portfolios for each self-service channel (ie: ATM, POS, mobile banking)Instant access to rich transaction data without modifying underlying application
Operational efficiency improvement projectsReduce escalations and war rooms by equipping front line staff with powerful problem isolation capabilities
Provide customers with reports or dashboard on service level metrics and usage of ATM, POS and value-added servicesCapture and forward a wide range of transaction data, events, and statistics to feed downstream reporting and analytics platforms
Reduce support resolution hours and speed up the research of ATM and POS transaction performance issues related to ATM uptime and availabilitySearch for current and historical transactions

Business Requirements and Project Objectives

Business requirements and project objectives are closely aligned (and may be identical). Both should stem from use cases you have outlined working with operations and business stakeholders.

For many customers, project objectives can be grouped into the following areas:

  1. Earlier detection of transaction failures, slowdowns, or anomalies
  2. Faster troubleshooting or investigation of transaction issues
  3. Improved access to data for business planning and improved consumer experience
  4. Enhanced visibility into processing environment

Earlier detection

The goal of early detection is to spot problems before consumers do – catching hundred dollar problems before they become thousand or million dollar problems. Some of the key business requirements stemming from this objective include:

  • Ability to monitor and alert on problems in real-time as opposed to waiting 30 minutes or a day until problem records are available (or fragmented data gathered from multiple sources are aligned)
  • Ability to set thresholds for acceptable service levels (e.g. decline rates below 1%) and be notified of deviations
  • Ability to monitor performance of all components of an application supply chain, including key 3rd party services and network connections

Improved troubleshooting and investigation

The goal of improved troubleshooting is to reduce Mean-Time-To-Repair (MTTR) – the time between reporting / identification of a problem and the restoration of normal service levels. Some of the key business requirements stemming from this objective include:

  • Ability to reduce MTTR from hours to minutes
  • Ability to research transaction performance problems without turning on additional diagnostics
  • Ability to look up recent customer transactions instantly, without waiting for end of day or end of week data updates

Improved access to data for business planning and improving consumer experience

The goal of improved data access is to eliminate barriers in understanding business performance and customer usage patterns. Some of the key business requirements stemming from this objective include:

  • Ability to access key performance metrics (e.g. decline rates, transaction volumes, etc.) in real-time
  • Ability to access rich transaction intelligence within minutes or hours to spot patterns, analyze usage trends and identify anomalies
  • Ability to profile the business and technical performance of any aspect of your environment, including customers, 3rd parties, device types, locations, and transaction types

Enhanced visibility into processing environment

The goal of enhanced visibility is to eliminate “blind spots” from your monitoring environment. Often you will lack the ability to monitor transactions that aren’t processed by a traditional payment switch (e.g. check images, value added services, etc.). You may lack visibility into network performance or integrated 3rd party services and networks. Some of the key business requirements stemming from this objective include:

  • Ability to capture every transaction, regardless of route or type
  • Ability to profile every aspect of a transaction: network, application, and business level details
  • Ability to follow transactions that rely on 3rd party services or networks for part of, or all of, their completion

End User Requirements

The following sections lay out sample end user requirements for an ATM / POS transaction monitoring system.

Coverage and scope

ATM / POS transactions rely on multiple applications, composed of multiple distributed components and services. These components include a range of packaged and custom software components, running on a variety of platforms and written in a variety of programming languages. As a result, it is important that your transaction monitoring and analytics system is able to handle this diversity.