The race is on for treasury vendors to keep up with best-practices treasuries, which are sprinting ahead to develop the outlines of the systems they want which may or may not be what the banks and solutions providers have to offer. Brent Callinicos, Google Inc.'s relatively new treasurer but a veteran of the award-winning Microsoft Corp. treasury, has been spending "all day, every day" in August with treasury technology vendors, seeing demos of their products. He is in the late stages of choosing the components of a state-of-the-art treasury operation for Google and says he has four must-have criteria that will define treasury systems now and into the near future--the ability to integrate with other company systems outside of treasury; the ability to see things real-time; straight through processing and a steady feed of analytics that allows a treasurer to drill down into a transaction or a trade. "Treasury systems are not standalone anymore and they must be scalable if they are to grow with the business," Callinicos observes. "They're an umbrella that sits over everything. They have to provide the modeling capabilities to allow a treasurer to understand how everything is priced and how it moves with everything else."
Not surprisingly, he is not a big fan of the all-in-one package. "How much are you settling when you buy all of the modules from one vendor?" he asks.
Nonetheless, he is impressed at the progress treasury technology has made since he left his post as treasurer of Microsoft in 2004. "Today's technology lets you do things that were unimaginable a decade ago," he observes. "There has been a ton of vendor consolidation, partly because treasury staffs are pushing for more than any niche solution alone can deliver."
But Callinicos still wants more. Increasingly, treasurers are demanding technological parity with their financial counterparties (bankers, investment bankers, etc.), getting systems and analytics of the same scale that financial services operations use for their portfolio management and trading. "We want to make choices based on our own analysis," he concludes, "and now we can get the tools to do that."