Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Day two at Sibos and yet again talk about ‘hubs’ has been circulating through the conference. This is a perennial topic with barely a presentation or talk going by when the word ‘hub’ is not applied to yet another part of the payments industry as if the term alone will be the panacea for all things technological. Quite frankly, none of this helps as it is clear that after nearly two decades of talking about ‘hubs’ we are no closer to actually achieving a common understanding of what they are or should be.
Depending on who you speak with, a hub achieves any or all of: more centralisation, less redundancy, less overlap, more consistency with convergence, improvements to organisational agility, risk mitigation and, of course, cost reduction.
But rather than simply throwing another definition into the mix, I’d prefer to pose some questions. Is a hub just infrastructure or does a hub implementation include the processing of payments? Does there have to be one hub or would it be better to have multiple hubs giving greater agility to cope with change such as divesting part of the business? Should a hub come from only one technology company or should there be a more industry-wide approach allowing general vendor integration? Does it have to be a one-switch flip to a hub or should it be that an organisation can steadily migrate towards it module by module? What is the relationship between hubs and industry standards? How does the concept of a hub relate to convergence?
It is clear from Sibos that there is still a lot of confusion out there and the term is almost certainly in danger of becoming meaningless. But maybe by getting some debate going on some of the questions above we can start to end this confusion and create some consistency and understanding for the benefit of everyone. You never know, we might even start to see some execution!
Everyone seems to agree on the general direction on a more holistic approach ‘hub’ but we need to get to the next level of detail in order to actually execute. SOA, SaaS and cloud computing offer us the opportunity to execute in an unprecedented manner.
I open the debate for comments!
Chief Product Officer