Digital change and business stability

Digital products evolve rapidly, and while advances are usually intended to benefit the end user, they can often be a pain point for online businesses and merchants.

Having full control over the evolution of a product is rare, so exerting influence over small and difficult decisions, wherever possible, is key to managing and nurturing sustainable growth.

Digital engagement under the spotlight

When developing a digital product from scratch, having the foresight to understand that future alterations are inevitable is crucial, even though it may not initially be possible to identify exactly what they may be. The key is not to fall into the trap of making changes that mean having to renege on a previously agreed approach because unknown factors had not been anticipated.

As an example, take 3D Secure (3DS) customer authentication – a security layer for online credit and debit card transactions. Version one (3DS1) established an interaction between the merchant, payment solution and cardholder. It was widely used and compliant but soon proved to be unpopular with consumers.

The issue had nothing to do with the payment solution, but rather its development coming from a time before mobile devices. The authentication process often resulted in a pop-up window for the customer to enter their details, making the merchant checkout page look less secure and more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Version two (3DS2) attempted to solve these problems. It had a different interaction with the browser and cardholder, including frictionless authentication to approve a transaction without requiring manual input from the cardholder.

When it comes to safe and stable payment processing, we make it a priority to take a safe but progressive approach for our clients.

Removing barriers for businesses

With regard to 3D secure, it would have been easier for Payen as the payment solution to tell our clients there was a new version of 3DS available so the old process had to be replaced. Instead, we found a way to seamlessly integrate the new flow into the original one – managing all the migration and fallback plans rather than offloading them onto our clients.

So when clients conducted their technical due diligence and asked what 3DS2 meant for them, and if they had to put their own development plans into action, we could tell them it was in hand and we would manage the implementation. The following month, 3DS1 was retired, and because of our approach, we didn’t have to ask clients to make any changes. 

That’s the principle we follow, making things simple for clients by managing payment processes, with backups plans in place for the unexpected. Having seen similar pain points in the past, we designed our application programming interface (API) – the software that allows two applications to talk to each other – to cope with future change. Essentially taking an approach akin to flipping a switch to make things work rather than passing on the problem.

Avoiding a knee-jerk reaction

When we’re helping clients navigate change in their digital ecosystem, there are three key technical considerations to juggle, which together determine the success of any change:

1) Do things that create progress for the business: We are driven by our customers’ needs and requirements. This means it’s important to be able to continue to develop products and make additions as and when the customer needs them.  

 2) Running a tight ship: Our approach to internal housekeeping and maintenance make product changes possible. Instead of looking through a singular lens – such as the customer experience in isolation – we factor in wider considerations from possible regulatory change to back end technical requirements. This avoids chasing a red herring that might look like a good change in principle, but could compromise compliance or stability down the line.

3) Long term support as a partner: As a partner, it’s our job to ensure we can follow through on what we’ve promised to deliver. If we don’t make the right bets on technologies, features or regulatory change then we can’t help clients over a prolonged period. So our team work diligently to stress test our own recommendations and commit to approaches our clients can trust.

Very few businesses can carry rapid digital innovation without causing disruption to core services or customer experience. When it comes to safe and stable payment processing, we make it a priority to take a safe but progressive approach for our clients.