A desire to better integrate with existing Enterprise Resource Planning systems is driving billing organizations to invest in expanded electronic payments technology, according to a new report jointly released by the research firm Ovum and payments provider ACI Worldwide.

The third annual survey of 1,475 payments decision-makers concludes that most organizations already post payments to their ERP system in real-time, yet nearly 70% of respondents plan to expand ERP integration with payments processing even more over the next 18 months to two years.

The international survey conducted in late 2016 and early 2017 included organizations from a broad cross-section of industries, including higher education, insurance, consumer finance, government, healthcare services and utilities.

Two other factors also are driving growth in payments technology, the report notes. More than half of respondents plan to incorporate SaaS/cloud functionality into their payments infrastructure and nearly half of the companies are embracing the Internet of Things through actively developing or planning to offer payment capabilities embedded into new devices.

Because payments increasingly are the primary touch point an enterprise has with consumers, better integration of ERP and payments data becomes critical to improving both customer experiences and organizational efficiency, the report notes. On average, 81% of respondents agree that merging payments processing with ERP will benefit their company.

“The role of payments has never been more central to both the consumer experience and overall operational capabilities, so organizations must continually invest in their payments capabilities,” said Gilles Ubaghs, principal analyst at Ovum. “This research shows that improved payments integration into ERP systems can benefit organizations by enabling an improved consumer experience alongside more efficient and intelligent back office functionality.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Integrating payments processing with ERP systems can have broad organizational benefits.
  • Payments processing integration moves critical consumer data into ERP, opening new avenues for analysis and improvements.
  • Organizations that closely align payments processing and ERP find efficiencies that can make both technologies more cost-effective.