People-Centered Payments: How TSYS Views Innovation
Director of Innovation is a title that lends itself to some questions. Do you lead innovation in incremental or disruptive steps? Does innovation center on the payment itself or the processes before and after the transaction? Should innovation benefit a business, or should it benefit consumers?
According to Chris Colson, who now holds that title for TSYS, the answer is: all of the above. Market Platform Dynamics’ CEO Karen Webster spoke with Colson about innovation as an industry, TSYS’ central theme of “people-centered payments,” and Colson’s unique history in the innovations and payments fields.
“My background has primarily been focused in the banking industry, with a twist of innovation sprinkled throughout,” Colson said. “So obviously, years ago, director of innovation in a role like this didn’t really exist. And throughout my career, I’ve always looked at products and channels and thought about ways to make solutions more available.”
And why was Colson so eager to accept his new role with TSYS?
“I could take on that challenge of how do you look at payments, and then how can you apply innovation to them that would both benefit TSYS as a whole as well as their clients, customers, and employees but then society as well,” he explained.
People-centered payments now for us, the use case is from the beginning, when they first start to think about that object that they’re going to buy, what motivates them to buy, what are the opportunities from a marketing perspective, all the way through on the back end after they make that purchase.”
Colson uses the example of a consumer who plans to go to a coffee shop and buy his or her favorite doughnut. Rather than focus simply on the transactional aspects of the purchase, Colson prefers to look at ways to streamline the entire process, and “alleviate some pain points” along the way.
For example, Colson says perhaps that person could already have a prepaid card stored on a smartphone, and can make that order wirelessly before they get to the shop. Or maybe facial recognition can allow them to order, pay and pick up their food without needing a device, card or cash at all.
Some of the ideas may seem pretty wild – Colson would characterize them as “disruptive” innovation – but the thought process behind how TSYS views innovation is clear.
“When we look at innovation at TSYS, and again with people-centered payments, it’s how do people live? That’s the societal part that I’m talking about there. Don’t limit yourself to just saying, ‘we need to make this cheaper,’ or ‘we want to make more money,’” Colson said.
“Because yes, you can do that. But the real success comes in when other people look at what that innovation is and they start talking about it with other people. And ultimately, you do want it to impact society. “
To hear more Colson and Webster on the omnichannel concept, the difference between incremental and disruptive innovation and more, listen to the full podcast below.
To read a transcript of the audio conversation, click here.
Director of Innovation, TSYS
Chris Colson is director of innovation for TSYS. He is an 18-year veteran of the payments and financial services industry, having previously served as vice president, product management, of Equifax, in Alpharetta, Georgia, where he was responsible for managing multiple business units and product portfolio teams. Colson’s additional responsibilities at Equifax included defining product and market strategies; identifying, developing and working with segment partners to create joint products; and defining and describing innovative ideas. Prior to TSYS and Equifax, he gained additional experience working at companies such as S1 Corporation, Magnet Corporation, Bank One and Bank of America.
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