The fintech space is a rapidly changing one and it isn’t necessarily dominated solely by start-ups. For example, Western Union Business Solutions is a business segment of the Western Union Company which means that it has plenty of clout behind it.
In April Western Union Business Solutions launched a digital platform called the WU EDGE and CBR talked to the Kerry Agiasotis, President of Western Union Business Solutions and profiled the product.
JN: Describe your solution in technical terms
Agiasotis: “The Enterprise Digital Global Exchange, ‘EDGE’, is a business-to-business digital platform that has created a simple virtual trading arena where businesses of all sizes can connect. The new WU® EDGE platform connects buyers and sellers in one platform and empowers them with transaction capabilities, cash management tools, insights and support.
“EDGE unifies AP (accounts payable) and AR (accounts receivable) workflows, aligning buyers and sellers through a single global platform. The platform also makes available actionable insights that help businesses to navigate foreign exchange risks and opportunities resulting from international payments. Business tools available in the foreign cash management and trade intelligence modules provide customers with new insights for optimizing their cash flows and profits.”
JN: What problem does it solve/opportunity does it create?
Agiasotis: “The uncertainty caused by Britain’s recent vote to leave the EU has thrown politicians, business leaders and others into a state of flux. For the leaders of many SMEs and particularly those who trade across borders – this uncertainty is likely to be particularly worrying. If the end result of the UK’s Brexit negotiations is that the movement of goods and services between different countries becomes less straightforward – then maximizing international cash flows and managing currency risk will become ever more important.
“We have developed a platform that in this time of uncertainty ensures SMEs have the unparalleled ability to create stronger connections, make smarter decisions and grow their business globally. The platform provides these businesses the confidence to conduct business at scale around the world.
“For the first time ever, SMEs now have access to the same capability as some of the largest corporates and multinationals; meaning this technology is no longer the preserve of only the biggest players in the market. In an increasingly globalised world, and at a time when businesses simply can’t afford to spend days settling individual payments, this is an invaluable tool.”
JN: Why is it unique?
Agiasotis: “This is a unique platform due to our global footprint and associated in-country bank account network to transfer balances between buyers and sellers. The new EDGE network payment feature adds to the customers’ existing abilities to make payments in more than 130 currencies in over 200 countries and territories. This capability leverages Western Union’s global footprint and associated in-country bank account network to transfer balances between buyers and sellers.
“This is also the first time we have connected business buyers and sellers on a single B2B platform that powers real-time connections and payments across the globe. The technology will enable hundreds of thousands of businesses across the world to easily engage in global trade, potentially enabling them to grow, invest and deliver the jobs of the future.”
JN: What language is it built in?
Agiasotis: “The platform is built in English, but can be used in the following languages; French, Italian, German, Polish Czech.”
JN: Which best describes your technology: It is a cloud solution. It is a SaaS solution. It is a third party platform solution.
Agiasotis: “This would most accurately be categorised as a hybrid SaaS connected (Buyers and sellers) platform solution.”
JN: Describe the culture of your company.
Agiasotis: “Our aim is to be the global leader in cross-currency, cross-border money movement & payment services, continuing to meet consumer and business needs as they develop. On a cultural level, we’re realizing this ambition through an environment of constant innovation, and striving to drive the technological solutions that most benefit our customers.
“Whilst we’re an established player in this space, and one of the most recognised names in the remittance industry, we’ve never allowed ourselves to stand still, and our commitment to innovation has ensured we continue to sit front and centre of the market. We’re a truly global business, and this is reflected in our geographical locations, and the diverse make-up of our team.”