The efficiency of straight-through processing (STP) has taken a back seat to business survival that requires smart decision support (SDS) as alert treasuries are aggressively turning to tools that can help them make sharper judgments.

"The financial market crisis has shown everyone the value of having comprehensive, real-time information," says Google treasurer Brent Callinicos. "In the past 18 months, Google treasury has gone live with three FX systems, a new cash management workstation, a new portfolio analytics system, a risk management system and numerous analytical and market-linked tools. This has enabled us to scale our activities in every area, improving our hedging and investment performance and gaining virtually instantaneous, on-demand visibility into our worldwide cash."

Make way for the technologically informed treasurer. "Treasury staffs want every piece of information we can sell them," reports Nick Alex, senior vice president and director of product management and development for treasury and payment solutions at SunTrust Bank. "They'll take anything that helps them predict their [accounts receivable] or [accounts payable] better. I've never seen such a hyper-focus on pushing for information to gain the greatest possible point of knowledge." This craving for data is driven by companies' aggressive liquidity management in the face of tight credit but also by credit concerns around counterparties and supply chains, he says.

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