Secure Invoicing in Microsoft Word

One of the benefits of working with a platform company is that you have the ability to see trends occurring in an ecosystem…

For the last year or so, many of the discussions I have had with technologists (payments and otherwise) focus on the concept of what I call a “highly-integrated user experience.” These are products, and workflows, that have a strict emphasis on solving business pain…but do so inside of an application the user knows and leverages today.

When I went on the Microsoft Across America Tour for the Windows Vista launch, there was substantial talk of the concept of an “Office Business Application” (OBA)* as a tool for enabling this flow. And the concept, at least to me, remains sound. Leveraging Office, a tool that many users have installed on their computer, to deliver a value-add workflow or to solve a pain-point experienced by the business is intelligent.

This same concept, of improving user experience by offering integrated solutions, is now extremely prevalent in the payments industry. For many merchants, a terminal on a desktop is no longer sufficient to meet their business needs…especially if there is a valuable alternative…or if a terminal simply does not meet their business needs.

How does this relate to a platform?

Quite simply, I am afforded the opportunity to see a wide range of compelling solutions built to solve specific, targeted business pain. These solutions range from highly-vertical to extraordinarily broad but they are all designed to ease the process of accepting, and managing, payment acceptance.

With this in mind, on February 2nd, Priority Commerce announced, via a press-release ReceivePay Secure Invoicing for Microsoft Word. The Receive Pay product line itself is intriguing in integration of payment acceptance, whether invoice based or in-person/MOTO, in that each of the products functions as an add-in to an existing tool leveraged by the small business.

In the case of this product, it is targeted at those who are creating and sending invoices through Microsoft Word…This, in and of itself, is compelling. However, the true value is in the fact that the product is a marriage of a Word add-in, a branded website for payment acceptance**, and integration of payment notification into the invoice itself.

As a small business owner at one point, a consultant for a non-profit, and even a general computer user, there is nothing more frustrating than relying upon several applications to complete a workflow that can be done in a single application.

Rather than continue to wax poetic about the importance of integrated workflows, some images may be in order. In these you can see both the experience of managing an invoice in Word as well as the branded landing page for payment acceptance.

Payment Status in Word
Payment Status in Word

A few additional items worth discussing:

Who Benefits?
The ReceivePay products are designed to solve merchant, particularly small business, issues with payment acceptance. However, by leveraging the IP Commerce Platform, these solutions also become a powerful tool for channel sales. As a channel, being able to offer the workflows that your merchant customers desire is extremely important. Similarly, payment service providers, who have integrated to the IP Commerce Platform, now have their services available for consumption through those highly-integrated workflows that ReceivePay represents.

Who is Priority Commerce?
This is an “interest of full disclosure” statement. Remember at the top when I mentioned that, as a platform, IP Commerce is afforded a unique view into the demands of the market? Good. Priority Commerce is a joint venture between IP Commerce and Aurion Pro. When there is a channel demand, or customer requirement, for an acceptance solution in which Aurion Pro has specific domain expertise, IP Commerce provides them with insight and they, in turn, leverage the IP Commerce Platform as the cloud-based enabler of adding payment acceptance to their products.

In a similar fashion, when an IP Commerce partner identifies a need for an integrated solution in a different vertical than back-office, we work with industry leaders to quantify the need and identify what workflows are powerful. This, truly, is the role of a Platform…simplifying relationships between partners with mutually aligned interests.

What’s your perspective? Agree? Disagree? Anything to add? Critiques? The comment form is below…

* A series of OBA FAQs are here.
** Thereby assisting in the alleviation of security & compliance concerns.

February 22, 2010

One response to Secure Invoicing in Microsoft Word

  1. DeidraJow said:

    Hi Tyler,

    Thanks for interesting post on integrated solutions. I agree with you, this integrated workflow is especially helpful for small businesses.

    I thought I'd chime in with some resource links from Microsoft. They're trying to tailor help to the SMB community and they have a couple of tools / links below that might be worth checking out.

    Best,

    Deidra
    The Microsoft SMB Outreach Team
    v-dejow@microsoft.com

    Links:
    http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/hub.mspx
    Microsoft Small Business Center
    http://www.pinpoint.microsoft.com/en-US/
    Pinpoint tool to help you find technology experts and special applications
    http://www.microsoft.com/business/mycenter/defa
    Microsoft Business Resource Center

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