The payments industry is going through a massive wave of disruptive innovation. Companies that innovate continually will see it to the other side. Those who don’t won’t. If you’ve been part of the payments industry in the last seven years, and weren’t hiding under a rock, you know this.
But what may be hiding under that rock is exactly how innovative any one company is in the payments industry and whether what they are doing is actually enough to build and sustain a competitive position. “How are we really doing?” is a familiar refrain from the board rooms to conference rooms all across the payments ecosystem as executives strive to answer that question and to do it in a way that is fact-based and not just gut-checked.
At the heart of that question is something else - how any one company is doing compared with its competitors. It’s a question that is also top of mind for investors and analysts, emerging innovators and potential partners and one that is increasingly difficult to answer because the rivals aren’t just the firms that the “traditional” players have been knocking heads with in payments for the last several decades. Today, competitors include companies outside of their particular segment and maybe even outside of the traditional payments industry itself. There are no clear and sharp boundaries in this industry anymore, because innovation in payments is happening at— and because of—the intersections of many new ecosystems. Technology players and Internet companies are moving quickly into payments. And as companies like Radio Shack, and entire industries like video rental fall by the wayside as the information revolution marches forward, it is time for everyone in payments to take innovation – and how to do it in a way that is sustainable – dead seriously.
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