Monday, November 15, 2010

AFP Conference Attendees Ready to Buy

Posted by Mark Brousseau

After years of being relegated to the sidelines as a result of the economic downturn, attendees at this week's AFP Annual Conference at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, appeared to be back in the buying game, reports Mario Villarreal (, president and COO of Houston-based US Dataworks, Inc. ( As evidence, Villarreal pointed to the advertised 30 percent bump in attendance, better booth traffic, and the more substantive conversations with prospects compared to last year.

"After several years of sitting through vendor presentations and strategizing internally about enterprise payments, many of the organizations at AFP appeared ready to buy," Villarreal said. "Based on the conversations we had at AFP, I think we will see a significant number of enterprise payments deals close next year." Villarreal said banks, in particular, appeared interested in enterprise payments.

Two key factors are driving the demand for enterprise payments, Villarreal said. First, operations have reached the breaking point in terms of effectively managing their existing payment silos. By consolidating all of their paper-based and electronic payment channels onto a single platform, organizations can reduce cost, eliminate redundant systems and processes, improve availability, gain better visibility into their payments, and apply consistent controls across their payment streams.

Second, organizations are more confident that they will have the budget necessary next year to kick-off an enterprise payments initiative. Furthermore, banks may be looking to make internal investments that deliver a reasonable rate of return rather than parking their cash and earning a measly 25 basis points, Villarreal said. "By no means are operations flush with cash, but IT budget dollars are loosening up for projects with a clear ROI, and enterprise payments fit that bill," he said.

What do you think?

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