Mastercard, collaborating with Microsoft, said on Wednesday (Sept. 12) that it is unveiling a digitized B2B platform geared toward global trade conducted by small and mid-sized businesses.
The companies said in the announcement that Mastercard Track, which is powered by Microsoft Azure, connects buyers and suppliers with bank and networks.
Mastercard said digitization has occurred in other parts of the B2B continuum, but that administrative activities, costs and transactions are still inefficient. According to the Wednesday release on Mastercard Track, the administrative costs are $500 billion and rising, with $58 trillion of transactions (half the value of all transactions) still done on paper.
The new platform, according to Mastercard, helps automate and streamline procure to pay, with an eye toward managing business identities and compliance efforts. For example, it might reduce the number of steps it takes to identify a business partner.
Michael Froman, vice chairman and president of strategic growth at Mastercard said in a statement that Mastercard Track takes its place “as a tool that will help reduce frictions in the global trading system and promote increased exports, especially by small and medium-sized businesses.”
For the rollout, Mastercard is partnering with nine B2B networks and procure-to-pay providers, a roster that includes (alphabetically) Basware, BirchStreet, Coupa, the Infor and GT Nexus Commerce Network, Ivalua, JAGGAER, Liaison Technologies, Tradeshift and Tungsten Network.
Beginning early in 2019, the customers of those firms will be able to access and maintain data related to their supply chains through the Track Trade Directory, billed by the firms as a “secure, permissioned repository” of 150 million companies globally. The directory, according to the release, will integrate feeds from more than 4,500 compliance lists into a single location, which will help streamline onboarding efforts.
“As the platform expands, suppliers will have better visibility into cash flow – when they can expect to get paid and for how much – across multiple networks,” said Mastercard. “Track will help connect all types of payments – account-based, card-based or bank transfer – within the platform, while also connecting purchase order and invoice information. This will streamline and simplify back office reconciliation, one of the largest burdens facing businesses today.”
As noted on Wednesday, Mastercard Track has so far been integrated with the National Trade Platform, which integrates key logistics functions and payments between buyers and suppliers.