International markets owe their soundness to the international banking connection networks, if not their very existence. Indeed, these allow rapid exchange of financial flows between those who buy and those who sell in different countries. The best known is probably SWIFT, managed by the Society for World Interbank Financial Telecommunications based in Brussels. It can connect thousands of banking institutions while also defining recognized messaging standards globally.
At least since 11 September 2001, the exclusion from SWIFT access has been considered, and in some cases used, as a sanctioning tool in more than one international crisis, the latest of these being precisely the conflict in Ukraine. Just that may underline the importance of these systems.
At Piteco, we are very well acquainted with SWIFT, way before and beyond its popularity in foreign policy news. Our role as an international banking connectivity treasury hub has often made us cross paths with SWIFT and the other significant info and messaging providers in the market. We were among the first in Italy to provide our corporate customers with banking connectivity through the SWIFT network.
Indeed, our treasury offer provides for integration with these and with other national or global market providers to accompany businesses on their internationalization path.
Our banking connectivity hub can standardize and process the different international banking formats that companies have to deal with to transmit payments or receive bank statements. Furthermore, it offers the possibility of starting projects for banking, organizational, and accounting centralization for companies quickly and securely. That is an essential prerequisite if the infinite possibilities offered by the market are to be exploited consistently.
It is only by making banks and companies able to communicate with one another that it is possible to manage every form, format, and technical formalism used by the national and international banking system: Cash Pooling, Zero Balance, Target Balance, Payments On Behalf Of (POBO) and Receivables on Behalf Of and Collections on Behalf Of (ROBO and COBO). These technical forms are complemented by the different organizational treasury models, such as the Regional Treasury Center (RTC) or the Shared Service Center SSC, which can be implemented thanks to full banking interconnection.
That is the only way in which it is possible to govern the complexity of scenarios in which hierarchical centralization models and continental sub-holdings have to coexist.
Guess Europe is a representative example of how the internationalization of a company may be facilitated through the treasury services just described.
Guess uses Piteco software to centrally manage treasury in Europe through a single process that integrates the authorization workflow and allows secure and efficient payments. Furthermore, business managers can approve them via Web or mobile app service.
Until today, our software has used channels in on-premise mode to interact with the SWIFT network. In other words, the software has been installed in the customer's systems.
For some time, however, the market has been sending unmistakable signals. Our direct experience only confirms what we read in analysts' market research estimates and data: in the last two years, 75% of the contracts we have signed have involved a Treasury as a service proposal, i.e., in the cloud instead of on-premise.
This is a preference manifested not only by new customers but also by established ones who show great interest when faced with the option of upgrading to the cloud.
The cloud and its advantages, combined with the substantial customization that our software house can provide to each customer, is, therefore, an essential strategic alternative, especially for companies with a global vision.
We recently signed a partnership with the TAS Group, an international group specialized in software solutions for electronic money, payment systems, capital markets, and extended enterprise. The partnership aims to meet this increasingly perceived need and extend, at the same time, the variety of the offer. Indeed, TAS plays a strategic role as SWIFT Service Bureau, making it an entity certified by SWIFT to provide connectivity services.
The partnership will allow us to connect more easily with all international banking counterparties by creating a single and integrated platform, finally completing our identity as an international banking connectivity hub and, therefore, an effective tool for supporting company growth.
The technical integration mode is based on the cloud, which gives the new platform all the guarantees regarding service activation speed — which becomes plug-and-play — and security. User profiling, access control, segregation of duty, audit log, privacy, authentication mode, and active directory/LDAP are just some aspects that are managed with the utmost care during implementation.
The new availability as a service of SWIFT today provides our customers with the ability to essentially communicate with all the banks belonging to the SWIFT network. Indeed, the partnership adds the integration with the SWIFT network to our innovative treasury solutions provided in the cloud, our host-to-host connections with banks, and our integrations with Internet banking services. This new easy-to-use mode allows us to optimize the work of CFOs, helping them complement the governance of treasury flows better.
By automating the collection and analysis of information, CFOs will have constant access to the financial performance of branches around the world and the ability to read such data with a single view.
This service allows us to combine the current offer with plug-and-play connectivity to the SWIFT network and expand potential customers' target.
In addition to big corporates, these solutions are also becoming available to smaller internationally-oriented companies. And in Italy, many SMEs meet this requirement and represent an essential part of Italian exports: companies with foreign branches that need to govern their finance resources centrally.
For them, international banking interconnection is now more accessible with all the convenience of the as a service mode: speed, flexibility, security, and costs.
With this in mind, SWIFT can be the network that will make the internationalization process easier for large and medium-small Italian and European companies.
Combining these two elements is a fundamental aspect of our positioning. Furthermore, it offers our partners tools for expansion and raising efficiency.
Therefore, the partnership with TAS and the development of treasury as a service are two very important elements in our way of designing the future. Indeed, we want to accompany companies on a path that starts in Italy and goes worldwide. This approach, which we share with Dedagroup, represents a strategic milestone for developing our company, the Piteco Group, and Dedagroup as a whole.