Smart Enterprise Magazine

Volume 6, Number 2, 2012

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Up Close ITINNOVATION on Counting First Data: | By Larry Lange A tlanta-based First Data Corp. is what many would call a behind-the-scenes financial services company. As a global technology and payments processing leader, it handles credit and debit card transactions for more than 6 million merchant locations, thousands of card issuers and millions of consumers worldwide. Its recent IT innovations, however, have brought the company out of the shadows and into the limelight. In fact, First Data's IT division is integral in empowering the busi- ness, creating innovative business services that deploy advanced new cloud computing technologies such as a joint Google Wallet mobile payment system launched with Google, Citicorp, MasterCard and Sprint; the First DataSM OfferWiseSM solution, an open platform that electronically attaches merchant offers to a consumer's payment card or mobile wallet; and an overarching strategy for integrating smartphones and tablets into the enterprise infrastructure — IT innovations that are enabling its business to grow. Heeding the Knock First Data's transformation from a straight transactional company into an innovative e-commerce player didn't happen by accident, says Jerry Bartlett, SVP and Chief Development Officer. Driven by consumer IT, customers — and their customers — wanted the ability to make purchases, shop for deals, and get loyalty benefits from multiple devices and locations, so First Data made it happen. "We've worked over the past several years to build an environment where we maximize the potential of our team, bring innovation into everything we do, and meet these emerging consumer expectations." "As one of the world's largest payment processors, we have core capabilities in areas such as switching, acquiring and settling," adds John Reed, SVP and Chief Architect, Global Technology and Product Solutions. "We saw a great opportunity to devise new ways 28 SMARTENTERPRISEMAG.COM to leverage these capabilities, provision them through service ori- ented architecture, and quickly deliver new products to market." As part of this change, Bartlett, Reed and other leaders from First Data's IT department partnered with the company's Global Product Management and Innovation team, framing the innovative work they were doing under a banner they've dubbed Universal Commerce. The concept helped both business and IT envision the company's next phase: melding brick-and-mortar commerce with e-commerce to provide consumers with a more convenient shopping experience. "Universal Commerce represents where consumers and everyone who serves them are going," notes Reed. "The consumer has new PHOTOGRAPH: ANN STATES

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