Payments Infrastructure & Innovation: Where should payments live?

Posted by Modo on Dec 12, 2019 4:13:58 PM


Do you know where your email server is? Have you ever thought about that before? Emails are something that people can easily say “Oh yeah, stick that in the cloud. No problem.” Now, what about your payments infrastructure? Can that live in the cloud just as easily? Brendan Miller, Rapyd, asked the group if the widening array of stakeholders for the payments function is affecting technical and product requirements. Bruce Parker, Modo CEO, and Rene Pelegero, RPGC Group, jumped into the discussion with a perspective on payments infrastructure and where payments should live in this discussion at Money20/20 Vegas. Watch the video above, or read on for the transcript.

Bruce Parker, Modo: I think the squeeze for people who know how to code. The squeeze for understanding what some of these issues actually mean and new things you’re trying to do are all competing pressures. I think from our perspective, one of the things that’s really challenging is where do you draw the line? What’s the difference between what we offer in the cloud and how that works, and what a client should have? The interesting thing is that line, I think, is shifting because people are getting more comfortable. So, for instance, today people don’t really spend a whole lot of time thinking about where their email server should be. Oh, no no no, stick that in the cloud. That’s good. Great. Well, where should their payments infrastructure be? At the first blush, oh yes, in the cloud, that’s awesome. Great, so you want to provide connectivity with all the ledgers that are relevant inside your business, that includes all of your critical systems. That includes your accounting, that includes your bank. We all good? Now all the sudden everybody slows down. And so the notion of, yes, maybe payments is strategic. Yes, we want to move up the hierarchy. We want to impress Rene [Pelegero of RPGC Group] with how we’re going about this. This is awesome. But now, how much of this do I really need to do myself? How much of this really can be generalized? Where does advantage live? Which billing models and payments models are critical for me to have and make sure nobody else does, or should I have a special flavor of? That’s, I think, a product function. So for [Modo], generally when we get called it’s “Help! This is complicated. We just need somebody to fix it.” Right? We’re a little bit like plumbers. We manage our pant levels very carefully when we do that. But, I think there is a broader question here that’s part of this discussion that says, “Well, it’s really not obvious where services that are provided generally in the marketplace, whether that’s from us or others, and where corporations strategic boundaries really ought to lie.” I think that may be much broader than just payments, but I know in payments it comes up every single time. 

Rene Pelegero, RPGC: Do you think that is due to the fact that there is a lack of (what I call) architectural perspectives? Even in today’s environment, everything is looked at in a siloed manner without really thinking more on horizontal layering kind of approach to be able to divide those functions. Where all of those functions should live can become a bit challenging for someone who hasn’t really thought about, “What is my business architecture? And within my business architecture, how is the technology supporting each one of those components?”

Bruce Parker, Modo: Rene and I know each other pretty well. He’s daring me to be geeky. So I’m going to rise up. My answer is that microservices, and that notion of architecture where things get really small, is the best thing that’s ever happened to us. It’s also the worst thing that’s ever happened to us. (Long live microservices.) I think this notion that well, we just have a bunch of things on a network and we just talk to them, it’s all good, presupposes that somebody understands what the big picture is - sometimes we call it orchestration. But this notion of, okay you’re trying to make all the trains run on time signaling and switching between all these different smaller elements - which are smart. Some of them should live outside your organization and some in - That’s the key function. That’s the key problem. It goes back to the same question, but I think our technology patterns, which are helpful and good and we should be paying attention to them, sometimes get overdone and spill into business conversations where really we should kind of leave them at the door and think broader thoughts perhaps.  


Listen to the full panel between #paymentsgeeks from Modo, RPGC Group, GoCardless, and Rapyd to learn more about the trends in payments infrastructure and innovation, or find out how Modo can help you optimize your payments stack by getting in touch with us

Topics: bruce parker, money2020, payments infrastructure, payments innovation