For multinational corporations, having a robust payments infrastructure is important – but in today's volatile environment, treasurers are increasingly looking to take their payments one step further. While visibility, efficiency and automation continue to be core objectives, companies also want a payments infrastructure which is flexible enough to adapt quickly and seamlessly to changing conditions – a quality that can best be described as 'agility'.

At a high level, an agile strategy is one that enables the company to respond to changing conditions – whether external or internal – quickly, efficiently and smoothly. Agility can be a competitive advantage, particularly when faced with uncertainty. In the current challenging economic climate, this quality is particularly useful: if the road ahead is full of hairpin turns, would you rather be driving a juggernaut or a motorbike?

Since 2008, companies have had to become more adaptable. Strategies that might have worked before the financial crisis began have been reassessed in light of changing market conditions: treasurers have had to adapt to lower interest rates, greater counterparty risk concerns, tighter credit and changing regulations, among other challenges. The list continues to grow, as the U.S. budget deficit and eurozone debt crisis illustrated in 2011.

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