The right payments provider: a Q&A with Anthony McNulty

07 / 04 / 2022

Worldline’s Anthony McNulty answers some pressing questions in the payments provider landscape, particularly within the quick-service restaurant industry. From a merchants’ point of view, selecting the right supplier is a crucial cog in a big wheel.

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Q&A Session: How do you choose the right payments provider as a retailer or franchisee?

Nowadays, customers control choosing how, when, and where to interact with a brand. No longer is the customer journey a linear process, nor does it have boundaries in either time or geography. Whether purchasing in-store, on their smartphones, or even on social media, they expect a speedy and frictionless service each and every time, which makes choosing the right payments provider so important for retailers, not least those within the QSR industry. In this speedy Q&A, Anthony McNulty, Programme Director, GSV at Worldline, answers some key questions for brands looking to make the right supplier selection.

When it comes to embarking on a new supplier relationship, what is expected of the brands themselves?

When it comes to the initial project phase, our aim is ultimately to get things moving as quickly as possible for the benefit of our customers. We typically kick things off with a ‘Discovery and Design Phase’, where we bring together our subject matter experts with our customers, to create a collaborative set of R&D type workshops. During this stage we work jointly on the solution view and the programme management plan, a detailed project plan and a signed off set of requirements, which we can build an effective solution around.

We normally start with a Statement of Work to avoid bottlenecking, even whilst the more detailed contractual agreements are still in progress. Our priority is to reassure the customer and gain their trust, so we will – in some cases – work at risk simply to ensure that things progress without delay.

Like any organisation, we have our delivery methodology, which is a part waterfall and part agile. Typically, we manage a waterfall plan with our customers, whilst any new developments are delivered through Agile Sprints from our engineering centres. One of the fundamental targets of this approach is to do all the talking and Sprint planning upfront to minimise the need for change management during the delivery process. This approach is very popular with our customers and helps greatly with their internal stakeholder management.

About moving quickly, extended lead times have become a common challenge in recent times. Is this merely a symptom of the pandemic?

There are two topics to call out here. Firstly, our customers find that lead times from network providers are surprisingly long now. Though we don’t deal directly with these network providers, it does seem to be a common theme that COVID-19 is at least partly responsible for the increase.

Secondly, from an Android POS perspective, our customers also see lengthy lead times for their preferred solutions. My interpretation is that there is such a surge toward Android POS now that providers and suppliers are, quite simply, overwhelmed with demand.

What are some quick-fire takeaways that you would offer to customers looking to select a new payments provider?

The strongest advice is to get to know your prospective provider as much as possible. Ascertain early on whether you will have the same people throughout procurement and delivery, what teams and SMEs the provider can bring to you, and what will they need from you to make things happen. Another key point is  whether your provider’s delivery method will reduce change and risk later in the project.

Something to be aware of from the beginning, particularly if you are amid a busy RFP phase, is to avoid overlooking certain things that, in your mind, sit within the delivery stage.

This can be a critical mistake – to ensure success, you have to look ahead. Be proactive, not reactive. As we’ve already discussed, disruptions like COVID-19, it’s impact on supply chains, device manufacturing and new network connections have brought about new challenges in terms of longer lead times. Being ahead of the game will stand you in good stead for the future.

Anthony McNulty

Programme Director, Global Sales Vertical, Worldline
Originally from a technical R&D background, Anthony has over twenty-five years’ experience of delivering complex programmes to customers in many different sectors. He has delivered large programmes as client, integrator and service partner and specialises in bringing all these views to Worldline’s customers.