Technology Excellence 2010 Transcript

From Treasury & Risk's 15th Annual Alexander Hamilton Best Practices Awards

DONNA MISKIN:  I’d like for the Technology Excellence panel to come on up. First, I want to introduce our moderator. Craig Jeffery is founder and managing partner of Strategic Treasurer, a treasury consulting firm in Atlanta, Ga. With nearly 25 years of financial and treasury experience as a practitioner and consultant, he enables his clients to craft realistic goals and achieve significant benefits.

Prior to establishing Strategic Treasury, he was a senior vice president and practice leader for Wachovia Treasury and Financial Consulting, and before that, vice president at SunTrust Bank and worked at The Hartford.  Greg also is the author of The Strategic Treasurer: A Partnership for Corporate Growth and is often quoted in Treasury & Risk and other publications, but we won’t mention them. Craig.

CRAIG JEFFERY:  Well, good morning. I would like the winners to come forward on the Treasury Technology panel, so that we can get seated.

Technology excellence is a fantastic category, one that’s near and dear to all of our hearts, because think of all the things that treasury needs to do. There’s a technology component in probably 85% or 90% of the different activities that go on, and the people you have sitting in front represent organizations that have really focused on treasury excellence. 

I just want to give a little bit of background about what’s occurring. It might be a refresher to some. There are three components:

There’s a change occurring. There’s a change in expectations, and a change in responsibilities in treasury. Certainly over the last two years (and I think it’s arguable that it’s been over the last several decades), there’s also a gap that’s emerging, a gap between expectations, and what people are achieving. We’ll close that with three examples of organizations closing that gap between expectations that are growing, and their capabilities, and how they’ve delivered. So with that, let’s just review a few things.

When we think about change, liquidity management, risk management have been clearly top of mind in many ways. There’s market dislocation. Everyone is afraid of the A1/C1 risk, appearing on the front page of the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, or page C1. That’s a very big concern, reputational risk. 

We find that boards are reading newspapers. They’re paying attention to counterparties, changes in the market. Think about what’s gone on with counterparty risk, ensuring that we’re compliant with covenants that now exist on loans, and think about country risk. I mean, how many countries have appeared in the news, where there’s a concern about sovereign risk or about activities in particular countries. 

Concentration and diversification is important, and this has created an increased need for visibility, visibility to our assets, to our liabilities, to our exposure, and this presents and puts a lot of stress on different areas.

So this is the picture. That’s the concept -- expectations grow. They’ve been growing. How many people in the room have had more expectations placed on you for faster responses, whether it’s about counterparties, risks, liquidity, cash-flow forecasting in the past 12 months? 

One of the things we’ve noticed is expectations are growing faster than people have been able to adapt. We did a study. We have a survey each year with Bottomline Technologies at Strategic Treasurer. Our cash-flow forecasting survey this year indicated this gap. One example: How frequently would you like your cash position data updated?  This is kind of the basics of cash management. 94% wanted their cash position update in real time or daily. I’m not sure why it’s not 100%, but almost everyone wants it.

So, we asked, how often do you receive this from regional offices or headquarters. Two-thirds were not getting cash position information on a daily basis. That’s just plain visibility to where is my cash around the globe, around the country or around the region that I operate.

When we think about using technology and taking advantage of it, one aspect clearly is, ‘I need to get it. I need to have a clean efficient process. I need to have good controls. I need to see everything.’

One aspect of consolidating data is if it’s done manually, it not only presents a control risk and a challenge, but it’s certainly inefficient if it’s not automated. I checked my watch, and it said it’s 2010, but I looked here at the chart and the results were that about 8% of companies had a real-time, fully automated process of gathering data. So this expectation and the ability that exists today to pull in data to make decisions, to perform analysis, to look at where your cash is, where your risk is -- there’s a pretty significant gap.

So we look at this, and we think the challenges are moving from a brain stem treasury. Your brain stem controls your basal body functions, right? Heart beat, some of your breathing, most of your blinking. It monitors things across your body. The cerebral cortex tells us what to do, what to think, how to analyze. At least, that’s what my cerebral cortex tells me that it does. 

So when we think about the challenges of data, one of the challenges is we live in the real world and the real world presents numerous challenges with data to perform treasury’s function. What are the challenges? Data sits in different systems -- disparate systems in different formats, all over the company and outside the company. 

So the -- I’ll call it the lie of ERP or the lie of centralized systems is that if we got everything into one system, we would have a wonderful opportunity to make all of our decisions, and the reason that that’s really a falsehood is that getting all the data into one system requires that your organization be stagnant. And your expectations are changing. You’re acquiring companies. You’re spinning off companies. Your organizations are in flux. They’re in transition. Data will sit everywhere. 

I think it’s telling that all of the ERP systems -- the major ERP systems -- have bought business intelligence systems. SAP acquired one. Oracle has bought business intelligence systems to help extract the data. They put it in a cube to manage and monitor that and so it’s a challenge. The data won’t sit in one system. You have data sitting outside the system. 

How many people have key treasury data sitting in spreadsheets? How about extra databases? Pieces of paper? 

Well, we can’t do anything about the paper. It’s got to be in some electronic form, but data sits everywhere, and when a new challenge emerges, you have to create something on the fly, and that is one of the real, real challenges of the issue of today. 

We don’t know what tomorrow’s challenge will be. We can solve -- just like the generals of the past, we can solve the previous year’s battle in the war -- but what’s the issue tomorrow? Is it country risk, counterparty risk, particular commodities or instruments? We don’t know what tomorrow’s issue is. 

So, creating something that’s flexible (and you can see our stack here where we have activities that need to be addressed, areas and systems that need to be accessed, not necessarily put into a data cube or a data warehouse) but that data needs to be accessed and accessed quickly. So you move from reporting for static, yesterday’s news, to alerts and dashboards that say, ‘What is going on? What do I need to be concerned about? What’s happened in this country?’ -- to analytics, and that needs to be enriched with predictive data. 

I think there’s been a fair amount of challenge for ratings that are really historical, and we need to look forward at what’s going on with companies, with countries and leverage that to see what our exposure is as a responsibility to control and manage risks. So we’ve had a number of discussions about that.

So kind of the advanced dashboard, decision support that takes enriched data, that uses the information through an organization, so that you can analyze quickly and rapidly, is essential and vital to the organization moving from kind of a brain stem operational, let’s be straight-through process people and be efficient, to performing high-level analytics, scenario analysis and looking forward. 

So just some samples, just some graphical pictures of treasury optics -- using tools that can see into your data to give you early warning to do analysis, and it requires more than a single system or a dashboard in a particular item. It needs to have an overlay to get at your corporate data, data that sits outside your organization, at your banks, at other institutions, and enriching that with predictive data, scoring data, whether it’s country related, CUSIP-related, entity, structure-related, like, ‘What’s my exposure to BP? What’s my exposure to Citibank? What’s my exposure to anyone?’

They own companies. You may have information sitting in a mutual fund account, a money market, prime institutional money fund or somewhere else. So it helps address those issues of counterparty risk, financial risk, looking at working capital, liquidity forecasting, etc.

I have some introductions, and I think the awards are nearby. I’ll hand them out later, and I want to make sure that I have these in the right order. –

Tara will be taking Tejinder Mann’s place. She is a senior leader in Google’s treasury group. They’re an engineering arm, a technology group, that’s embedded within the treasury group and she’s going to describe their solution and what they did at Google. 

So if we could welcome Tara?

TARA MATHEW:  Hi, Tejinder couldn’t make it today, so I’m filling in for her. My name is Tara Mathew, and I’m responsible for the portfolio and FX treasury systems at Google. At Google, we like to think big. We create cars that drive themselves and buy wind farms, just to name a few. Thinking big is encouraged throughout the company, including treasury technology. 

The projects we worked on this year represent exactly that. We implemented Continuous Linked Settlement, moved our payments to the SWIFT infrastructure, implemented the Quantum investment module and built a new green trading room. 

When faced with messy manual processes for settling our foreign government bonds, our initial thought was, ‘How do we improve our current systems?’ We started pursuing this path and then heard about a new process being used in the financial industry called Continuous Linked Settlement or CLS. By acting as a clearinghouse for FX transactions, CLS would not only eliminate our manual processing, but it would also eliminate our counterparty settlement risk.

We were able to leverage two of our partners, State Street and FXall, to send our FX spots and forwards to CLS. We managed to implement CLS in just two months, and we were then able to scale our portfolio by 50%. 

Our payment and collections infrastructure was using an expensive third-party solution. In addition to the cost, it was difficult to competitively manage our banking relationships. We could not easily add additional banks that were not set up with this third-party solution. In keeping with the Google culture, we wanted an open system that would allow us to be bank-agnostic. 

We could have simply removed the third-party system and built our own connections to these banking partners, but we thought to ourselves, ‘Is that the best way to solve the problem?’ On-boarding new banks would still have been a tedious and time-consuming task. Instead, we decided to leverage an industry standard, the SWIFT network. Although this forced us to completely revamp our infrastructure, it was well worth it in the end. This enabled Google to be bank-agnostic and substantially reduce setup, maintenance and transaction costs. 

Google’s treasury group manages over $4 billion in demand deposits, time deposits and money market funds from five different banks. Needless to say, managing this was not a trivial task. The process was highly manual, and did not have any straight-through processing. Treasury was so busy monitoring their positions that they did not have time to optimize the investments. We realized that something drastic needed to be done. We needed a way to centralize and obtain real-time investment positioning that required little to no resource effort on a daily basis. 

We leveraged our existing relationship with SunGard to implement the Quantum investment module. The process is now fully automated, and the straight-through processing provided a scalable solution that accommodated growth with minimal resource effort. We were able to do this in-house and did not use any consulting firms for this. 

When we gave our newly formed internal trading group $10 billion to manage, we knew they needed state-of-the-art technology in order to be successful. That’s when we decided to build a new trading room for them. We saw this as an opportunity to pursue Google’s commitment to sustainability, and we created a green trading room, even though this increased the cost and timeframe of the project. 

Our facility’s team evaluated each object in detail, from low-energy-emitting desktops and screens to non-PVC-backed carpets. Whenever possible, they adhered to the LEED certification requirements for indoor environment quality. To our knowledge, this is the first green trading room, and hopefully, this has provided an example for other firms to follow. 

We have made great strides this year in achieving efficiency through innovative solutions. However, our work isn’t done yet. We still need to think big to provide the data that our treasury team needs in order to make smart investment decisions, and we’re in the process right now of developing new reporting solutions to help achieve that goal. Thank you very much.

JEFFERY:  Well done, Tara. I’d like to introduce the Silver Award winner for overall Treasury Technology and that’s Bruce Mairose from the Mayo Clinic. Congratulations.

BRUCE MAIROSE:  Thank you. Thank you for the honor. Since Mayo Clinic may not be familiar to all of you, I wanted to just share a little bit about who Mayo Clinic is, since we are located in flyover territory for most of you.

Mayo Clinic hopes to inspire and contribute to the health and well-12being of our patients through an integrated practice of clinical research, medicine and education. Fortune magazine ranks us 55th among the top 100 suppliers, and for seven consecutive years, we’ve been in the top 20 for large employers. 

U.S. News & World Report ranked Mayo Clinic second best in overall hospitals, unfortunately, second to Johns Hopkins. This is our home shop in Rochester, Minn. We are ranked first in orthopedics, the neurosciences, diabetes and digestive disorders, second in cardiology and oncology. 

Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated specialty practice in the world. It’s a not-for-profit organization, led by physicians. We have $7.6 billion in revenues. You can see our total assets, and the heart and soul of our organization is our 59,000 employees -- our scientists, researchers and physicians. We have over 55,000 unique customers or patients each year, and our global services are based out of Rochester, Minn., Scottsdale, Ariz., and Jacksonville, Fla. 

Our annual expenditures are $2.9 billion for products and services. Because we’re in healthcare, we have the misfortune of having to deal with a lot of small vendors that we have to pay, as well as large purchase orders each year. In 2009, we exceeded 500,000 and our invoices were 800,000. We had 62 staff, of which 17 were data entry. This is really the starting point for our story that we want to share with you today. 

Healthcare in general puts the fun in dysfunctional when it comes to administrative business. Our administrative processes are laborious, complicated, highly regulated, and we strive to reduce not only our cost of care, but our cost of administration of care, knowing that 25% of every dollar that a healthcare organization spends is trying to get paid by the patients or the government. So we need to lower our administrative costs.

Within our accounts payable and purchasing operation, we decided to pursue optical character recognition to make this more efficient, and we’re going to tell you a little bit more about that story as we go forward. 

Optical character recognition is the technology which scans any document and captures it, turns it into data that reduces the number of errors, improves the accuracy of the information. The business partner that we chose was Brainware Technologies. We spent 10 years reviewing the technology, waiting for it to get advanced enough for us to use it across 400,000 suppliers. The challenge is that every vendor that we purchase from has their own invoice; they have their own way that they want to bill us. Most OCR technologies are based on templates or standards. This technology came to us about two years ago, and does not require any templates. It can read any kind of document, extract any kind of document through intelligent capture. So we finally had found something that would work with any kind of in-bound document. It did not necessarily have to be a templated invoice. 

On any given day in 2009, we had 4,000 to 5,000 invoices in our backlog – 4,000 to 5,000 documents sitting on our staff’s desks. 52% of all of our bills were paid shuffling paper back and forth. We had up to 70 baskets that we moved from desk to desk to desk in our organization, and for those of you who aren’t familiar with EDI -- that’s electronic data interchange, that’s the electronic invoices that come in -- we were only working with 10 suppliers to send us standard formats that are used widely in all other industries but healthcare. 

Our goals for implementing optical character recognition with Brainware were to increase our productivity, enhance our electronic data functionality, definitely eliminate paper, avoid any disruptive changes to our business partners, retrain our staff on processes and technology. We basically had to completely break down our payables process and reconstruct it in reverse order. We wanted to clearly identify the functionality and value of Phase II that we implemented just recently.

Today, after the implementation of the Brainware technology and several other technology advancements and process advancements within our operation, we’re processing over a million purchase order lines at a cost per line of $6.85. Hackett world class benchmarking is at $10.04 for the health sciences, which is the pharma industry, life sciences for research, as well as distributors and medical products manufacturers.

In the invoicing realm, we’re processing 3 million lines with an invoice volume of 1.1 million. So our volume increased significantly, which actually did not contribute to our reduced cost. We did not get any economies of scale by increasing our volume, but our invoice costs right now are $2.32 and world class invoicing costs in the life sciences sector is $2.56. So we’re performing better than world class with our competitors.

If you remember, early on I said we put the fun in dysfunctional. We feel that we’re getting past that, and we are advancing the cause of innovating healthcare. Today, we process only 3% of our payments on paper, where two years ago, it was 50% on paper.

Here’s a little before and after in my last slide. Our disbursement FTEs went from 62 to 59. Now, that’s not the entire story. You can see that we actually

reduced our data entry team from 17 to 9 with this technology. We did not lay people off. We redeployed them to other jobs within procure-to-pay, primarily to take on as much as a 12% increase in additional volume and then another 7% to 8% increase in incremental volume through organic growth of our organization.

Our backlog in days went to one or two days. You can see that our error rate improved significantly. If a payment is attached to a purchase order, it dropped well below 2½%, and our non-purchase order invoices are less than a 1.5% error rate. This is substantial, given that we have over 400,000 vendors, and it was all paper before.

The extraction rate of the technology is 90% to 95% accurate. We didn’t believe them. So when we did our ROI, we cut their numbers in half. The reality is that we exceeded that. Our ROI had a payoff of 1.5 years, and we actually obtained our ROI on the investment in the Brainware technology in nine months, through reduced costs.

Our touchless rate -- and that’s defined by invoices that go through with no human intervention at all -- nobody sees them, nobody touches them, nobody does anything with them -- 35% of them are passing through with no human intervention.

One of the advantages of the technology that we implemented was that vendors were not disrupted. We allow them to e-mail their invoices to us. The technology captures it, automatically puts it into the Brainware functionality and then dumps it in our ERP system, and that 30% of all invoices that are e-mailed to us is a big contributor to the 35% touchless rate for our payments.

Thank you again for having the opportunity to present, and for the honor of winning the Silver Award.

JEFFERY:  Thank you, Bruce and congratulations. Mayo Clinic is an excellent story. I’ve been a Treasury & Risk Alexander Hamilton Awards judge for a number of years now, and it’s a great privilege and honor to do that. It’s also a fair amount of work. Each year we get this package. Donna says, ‘We’re shipping the submissions to you,’ and I’m expecting a regular box, and I’m like, ‘Why are they shipping a stereo speaker?’ But inside it is a single notebook, and I didn’t know they made three-ring binders that big.

So that’s quite fun to go through and then we rank and rate based upon a number of drivers in each category and then we usually have a very healthy discussion or debate, and I hope they don’t record those because we  sometimes get verbally violent. But it’s quite fun to discuss those, and that’s really a part of the privilege, to hear new and creative ideas, people that are moving the dial financially with control, with services, creating things that are new, putting ideas from other disciplines into the treasury field, merging things together, doing that type of activity. It’s fantastic, and the technology excellence one is always one of the most fun categories to look at. 

There’s a tremendous number of submissions. It’s almost as fun as the green technology one, but with that, we have the Gold Award for technology excellence. Sean Folan is the senior manager of Cisco Systems. His bio is also in the book. With that, I’d like to congratulate Sean and Cisco System for the Gold Technology Excellence Award.

SEAN FOLAN:  Thank you very much, Craig and thank you to Treasury & Risk for recognizing Cisco’s innovative implementation of technology in the treasury space. 

We’re here to talk about technology and collaboration, and it’s with these panelists. It’s actually a little funny, the collaboration among the three companies. When I arrived, I was feeling a little jet-lagged, so I Googled jet lag and what came up was Mayo Clinic information, and we’re doing it through a Cisco router. So the collaboration that’s actually going on here is great.

Let’s get started here. So Cisco’s treasury group consists of five functional areas: cash operations, corporate finance, foreign exchange, investments and risk management. Prior to 1999, each group used different applications to perform their day-to-day activities, but in 1999, we started to develop applications that centralized information, tool access, metrics and collaboration.

While each of these applications helped treasury move toward its goal of a more centralized and user-friendly tool, each had significant shortcomings that limited their effectiveness. The treasury Web site was our first centralized tool for treasury and internal partners. The treasury Web site linked users to treasury tools, policies and basic reporting. However, updates to the Web site were dependent upon IT, leading to outdated information and affecting the usefulness of the Web site.

The second phase was the data aggregation and reporting tool, which we call DART for short. It was a metrics collection reporting tool. When it was originally built in 2002, it was envisioned to be a one-stop shop for all metrics and reporting. At one time, the technology that DART was built upon was considered cutting-edge, but as with most technologies, over time it became antiquated and costly to support. The final phase of what we call treasury of the past was collaboration, and we built a tool called E-collaborate to help us collaborate across the five functional groups that I described earlier.

E-collaborate created shared calendars, contact lists, discussion groups and wikis, but since E-collaborate was not a Cisco standard tool, it continually had issues integrating with other applications, such as Microsoft Office and document storage. This resulted in poor user experience and limited usage. 

In summary, we had tools that existed to meet our minimum requirements. However, they each had their own particular issue that limited their effectiveness.

So, what did we do next? In late 2009, Cisco treasury undertook an initiative to implement a new tool that not only met the individual needs of each functional area within treasury, but was also a scalable and versatile tool enough to meet future needs. The new tool is called Integrated Workforce Experience or IWE for short, and it was developed by Cisco as an enterprise, not just treasury, solution. IWE is an evolution of the Cisco internet where the individual becomes the center of the information that surrounds them. IWE converges communications, metrics in collaboration into a single intuitive experience. A similar product called Quad is available commercially from Cisco. 

IWE addresses the challenges of past treasury IT tools, including a reduction in the number of tools. We now have one-stop shopping. Since it meets all IT standards set at Cisco, it has plug-and-play capabilities for applications developed by other groups and from outside of Cisco. It has dashboard capabilities to meet the needs that Craig described earlier, and it’s able to interface with Business Objects and Oracle to bring in real-time information, so we can make decisions quickly, and it has document storage capabilities through EMC’s Documentum, allowing more efficient document storage management. 

In addition, it has collaborative features that increase the effectiveness of teams working closely together on common projects and time-sensitive deliverables. 

Here’s an example of the dashboard that’s available for our treasurer, Roger Biscay. IWE, as I mentioned, integrates with Oracle to bring in real-time data, and it also has security features to limit access.

Last but not least, here is the replacement of our old treasury Web site. The treasury team can now make updates and changes to this without IT support. What used to take days can now be done immediately, and hopefully, old data and information are now going to be a thing of the past.

Overall, IWE has shifted the focus of treasury and treasury IT to new items and creating new content, rather than validating data and maintaining multiple aging systems. IWE allows the Cisco treasury team to free up limited treasury resources, to focus on more value activities. And thank you for your time today.

JEFFERY:  Excellent. We have some time for discussions. I enjoyed hearing all of those presentations in addition to reading them before. I think we have people with microphones who are eager to sprint to your location, so you can ask a question, but I think I’ll start off with this question. It has to do with replacing old technology. I mean so many firms are trying to get some technology. It might be easy to replace a spreadsheet or something like that, but when you have to replace some technology that maybe is cumbersome but is doing the job, even if it’s manually driven, you know, do you yank it out? What are the triggers that make you change it? Sometimes people have a hard time letting go of their VHS tape library, right? I’ve got all of these great movies, Disney movies, Sci Fi, whatever it is.

So Bruce, would you start with that?

MAIROSE:  I really see two components to your question. The first is: When is it appropriate to pull it out? And in healthcare, that’s a little unique. We’re not going to spend a million dollars on financial technology if we can buy a CT scanner for a million dollars and generate revenue. So that’s one of the reasons that administrative functionality lags behind in healthcare. 

So for us, it’s all ROI, but when you talk about extracting the users from the technology, that actually is a bigger challenge and in our experience, just taking paper away from people that have been doing it for 20 years was a very emotional activity for them, and our goal and our objective was to involve them in the decision, so they can feel comfortable with it. We broadly involved people in the testing, so that we didn’t throw them into a new technology. We brought the entire team and the department along slowly with the process.

FOLAN: I would echo that -- that the process is often very slow, but you have to get the buy-in from the team. If people are comfortable with what they have, they are resistant to change. So you really have to work with them, make sure that the new tool is going to actually improve the end product and will ultimately make things more effective for the organization.

MATHEW:  I think that’s the same for Google as well. I mean, we’re lucky that we’re a technology firm and we’re built on automation. That’s one of our core values at Google. So in that case, it’s a bit easier to get buy-in, but for us, it’s really just about showing how their life will improve by using this new system rather than just shifting around their spreadsheets.

JEFFERY:  I guess that touches on the change management component of any project, right? This is technology excellence. There’s a huge technology component to each of the solutions that addressed your challenges. What would be the balance between the change management, working with people, working across functional areas? How do you overcome those, and what percentage was purely technology, fun activities, you know, playing with some of the newer things that exist there, the Blu-Ray vs. the VHS? 

MAIROSE:  Yeah, I’m not sure how much was fun, to tell you the truth.

JEFFERY:  Oh, that’s right. I’m sorry. That’s the Mayo Clinic, ‘We made the fun in dysfunctional.’ That’s right.

FOLAN:  It can be fun. Learning about the new technologies can definitely be interesting, but for a non-technology person like myself, it’s on the business side. I think the technology folks are more excited, but they often don’t know how to make something that is potentially fun, how to describe it to the business. So I think that’s where we actually have to play the middle person and try to make folks realize that it potentially can be useful, and potentially fun.

MAIROSE:  For us, it’s about applying any activity to our core values, and that is applying it to our mission statement. To have the staff understand and know that we’re so far behind other industries in terms of our cost-effectiveness to manage an organization’s AP department and have them bring you along so that you’re actually ahead of other industries in terms of the cost structure; that really helps move the organization along to move from the old technology to the new, because you can create a buzz around it and they know that every dollar we save is another dollar that can be used to take care of a patient. 

MATHEW:  Ronni [Horrillo] touched on this yesterday for those of you that heard her session, but basically, we have our treasury systems engineers sit alongside treasury, and I think that has made all the difference for us. So rather than having an engineer who maybe knows their technology very well but has no idea what treasury does, we don’t have that situation. We’re attending these conferences. We’re very well-versed in what our treasury team does. So it’s much easier to bridge that gap. So we get to play with the fun stuff, but then we can translate it for them.

JEFFERY:  So the progression in that case is no IT support at all, IT support in a different location or embedded IT support right in there with the area. Clearly, which one would you prefer? And I won’t ask for a show of hands who don’t like working with their IT area, because that never makes anybody happy. 

So what questions do you have? You can put your hands up. They can rush right over to you with the microphone. We’ve got someone in the back there

Q:  Hi. A question for Sean at Cisco. I’m just wondering -- I think you mentioned in your talk there that you’ve got a system that’s available for everybody, Quad. Just wondering why you had to build the IWE system, if there was something already available? 

FOLAN:  So IWE is actually going to be replaced by Quad in the near future. IWE was what was developed internally. They recognized that it was a strong product and I guess it has newer technology on Quad and I think a cooler name also.

JEFFERY:  Cooler than IWE? Wow.

There’s someone up in the front here, and while you’re heading there, one thing I think of is project support. What was the key to getting project support, and then not just doing it for the initial phase 1, but building support for future activities, institutionalizing success of treasury and of projects? Anybody want to weigh in on that topic? How did you achieve initial support and ongoing support? 

FOLAN:  For us, I think it’s getting buy-in at all levels across the organization. So you need buy-in from the analysts who are going to be using the tools, and you need buy-in all the way up to the treasurer. So if you don’t have support and buy-in across all levels of the organization, these projects will not be successful.

JEFFERY:  And how about continuing that support to the next project? Because it doesn’t end with, IWE is not what you’re going to need two years from now. There’s going to be four other things that are necessary.

MAIROSE:  Relative to this project, the way Mayo works is usually that way, but they told me it would be three years, so I went to the top of the organization, said, ‘I need this,’ and then we worked it backwards. So the ongoing support is a little bit more difficult for me, because you make a lot of IT people mad when you go around the process. But we actually engaged them into the process, and they saw the value that this was bringing to the organization and now they -- the IT group, the other finance departments -- are very engaged in trying to figure out other ways that we can optimize this technology, and we always get very rapid support because the technology has now become core to our payables process. It’s not just an add-on, in that our accruals are more accurate, they’re more timely, bills are processed more timely, and the entire department of finance sees the value in those improvements.

JEFFERY:  We have a question?

Q:  Yes. My question is actually for Tara. It’s regarding your SWIFTNet connection. Could you elaborate about your project? How long did it take you to get connected to SWIFTNet, and how are you connecting?

MATHEW:  Sure. We’ve been working on this project for a while now, I think, at least a year and what we do is, we take a subset of banks and we sort of onboard them one at a time and do our testing, and we’ve actually partnered with Citi for some of this. So we’ve kind of partnered with them to set up the connections, define the file formats or the message formats, and then we have a road map to say we’re going to onboard these banks over this timeframe. So it wasn’t a big bang where we just said, ‘Okay, we’re going to go switch 15 banks over.’ We didn’t do that. It was a phased approach.

Q:  (Inaudible.) 

MATHEW:  Yeah, we have our own infrastructure, which sends out the SWIFT messages.

JEFFERY:  Thank you. Who else has questions? Just lift your hand up, right in the front here.

Q:  I’m just wondering what new technologies or new technology products you might be thinking about in the future or working on now.

MATHEW:  So for us, we’re starting to build a lot more in-house. We used very much an outsourced solution in the past where we would purchase third-party products. Now, we’re just moving more toward getting the engineers in-house to develop exactly what we need, so that’s the stage we’re at right now.

FOLAN:  For us, it’s on a collaboration front, where we’re actually trying to leverage technologies that are being used by other organizations rather than developing our own tools. Historically, the treasury group, we’ve gone down the road of developing tools and customizing them for ourselves. We’re taking a different approach going forward, where now we’re going to try to use tools that have been developed elsewhere and that plug-and-play solutions into our existing systems. 

MAIROSE:  For Mayo Clinic, it’s a little bit different. Ours is around the electronic medical record, getting every bit of data into the medical record and then associating that with business intelligence on the finance, the billing and the expense side, so that we can track the cost of care for every doctor, every patient.

So if the cost of care from Dr. A is a little bit less than Dr. B, we can understand how that is linked together and tie that back to the patient’s outcome, so that we can get to best practice, best cost. So really, our technology and our vision is linking the cost of care with customized medicine for each of our patients. 

JEFFERY:  Excellent. Any other questions? All right. I want everyone to give these individuals as well as their companies a round of applause for their excellent job. 

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