Payment technology: a growing priority for Chief Information Officers

Keith Little, CIO, Barclaycard

In today’s competitive business landscape and as consumer expectations evolve, every touchpoint a company has must offer a seamless and easy-to-use experience. The payment process is no exception: a slow, cumbersome or fragmented payments experience can have a significant impact on the consumer’s overall perception of the business, and ultimately, whether they will purchase with them.

Against this backdrop, the benefits of a streamlined payment experience are being recognised by business leaders. To explore this further,and to understand how payments are increasingly linked to wider business objectives, we spoke toChief Information Officers (CIOs). Interestingly, our research revealed that almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of CIOs say payment technology has become a more prominent topic in boardroom discussions.

Looking to payments to help drive growth

But what’s behind this increased focus?Payments play an important role in helping CIOs to achieve their broader objectives – whether this is a frictionless e-commerce journey for customers that will set the business up for growth, or protecting the customer from fraud.

Highlighting this, eight in ten (78 per cent) CIOs agree that accepting a wide range of payment methods is important in driving growth for their organisation and supporting broader business objectives. Likewise, almost three-quarters (75 per cent) have seen an increase in investment in payment technology in the past five years.

CIOs are driving payment innovation

In order to achieve these wider business objectives, our research revealed that it’s the CIOs who are taking the lead in exploring how payments can drive growth for their company.In fact,70 per cent of CIOs surveyed now have responsibility for digital payment technology and two-thirds (67 per cent) believe providing payment solutions is critical to their role.

Accordingly, our research revealed that four in ten (41 per cent) CIOs try to keep up-to-date with innovation in payments technology and a similar number (42 per cent) state that over the last five years, their role has seen an increased focus on payments.

New technologies are set to transform payments

There’s much discussion about next generation technologies such as blockchain, the Internet of Things(IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) – and there are some that CIOs believe are particularly relevant to payments, with the potential to transform the payments process in 2019 and beyond. Our survey revealed that 35 per cent have adopted or are piloting blockchain, which could be part of an effort to provide greater transparency and increased data security. What’s clear is that CIOs are not just exploring the potential that new technologies could bring – they are also implementing them.

Digging deeper, our research found that32 per cent of CIOs believe that cloud computing will ensure a frictionless payments experience for customers, while 35 per cent of CIOs believe that AI will help make payments more secure in the future.Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) think blockchain will transform how payments are conducted over the next five years.

Growing priority for CIOs

What’s evident is the role of the CIO has evolved rapidly in recent years, and with growing focus on payment technology at a boardroom level, it’s clear they are assuming greater responsibility for this vital infrastructure.

In today’s technology-driven age, innovation in payment is progressing rapidly and needs to be continually addressed. Keeping on top of advancements and having the ability to adapt are key to remaining competitive. Ultimately, the responsibility for leading the way when it comes to payment innovation has, as our research highlights, fallen to the CIO. As they take the lead in exploring how payments can drive growth for their company, it’s important that CIOs consider and explore how the latest developments in payments – from AI to the Internet of Things – can help them provide their customers with the best possible user experience.

*Barclaycard’s CIO survey was conducted by YouGov between 13 September and 12 October 2018. Telephone interviews took place to gain insights from 100 CIOs in the United Kingdom who work in companies with 250+ employees.