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Global Treasury / Regional Treasury

Centralizing and Streamlining Through Tech, 1995

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February 05, 2015

A look at how Sun Microsystems attempted to shift resources to more productive places in 1995.

Back in its pre-Oracle days, Sun Microsystems was an early adopter of leveraging technology to streamline its finance functions in an attempt to “increase revenue per employee” by reducing its costs “and shifting resources to value-adding business partnering,” as International Treasurer wrote in the February 5, 1995 issue.

Today using technology is a given as the drive toward centralization usually runs head-on into the constraints of global geography. But advances in information technology have enabled new structures that take advantage of remote access to information and applications to process and act on that information from virtually anywhere, and that includes payments information. Gone is the old paradigm of treasury as a centralized server of such functions as the trend toward SaaS of treasury systems and applications has taken root.

But 20 years ago, Sun Micro had the right idea as it pursued an “automated, cost-efficient collections and disbursements processes” and a “single standard interface” as well as a drive to "consolidate banking relationships to increase service, reduce bank charges, and reduce management of multiple banks." However in looking to achieve all this, there were worries. “First, it is difficult to determine whether the automation of non-North American collections of checks or automation of receipts from wires will be the most cost-efficient solution. Second, its goal of achieving same-day updates of accounts receivable ledgers (as the receipt of payment) may prove difficult in some areas.”

In hindsight, there was no need to worry as technology has advanced to allow for all these tasks not to mention treasury departments’ advances in managing from afar via treasury centers, shared service centers and hybrid structures that are centralized with local feel. 

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