Payments, Technology, and the MAG

Payments, Technology, and the MAG
Jamie Henry Vice President, Finance, Emerging Payments Walmart
Jan 5, 2023

In the 1960s, David Gleicher developed a formula to analyze the success or failure of organizational change in the workplace. One of the formula’s factors is the dissatisfaction with the status quo. This factor is generally the fuel for the initial change process. The greater the dissatisfaction with the status quo, the greater the probability change will be successful. If dissatisfaction is a key driver of the change process, then surmise it to say that today two things people are very dissatisfied with are the status quo in payments and the status quo in technology.

Payments and technology have changed at a blistering pace in the last 20 years. Today, merchants face many challenges in keeping up with the latest changes in both payments and technology. How do we keep our customers happy, our systems safe, and our costs low all at the same time?  Merchants simply cannot be complacent in any of these areas critical to success. But we also should not chase every shiny new payment process or technology that catches our eye. What is a merchant to do?

Like many things in life, that which presents the greatest challenge also provides the greatest opportunity. As merchants repeatedly demonstrated during the pandemic, certain technology can be applied to make our payments experiences better, safer, and less costly. However, doing this requires an in-depth understanding of the specific technologies that are available and relevant to the problem you are trying to solve. This research can be complex and difficult to fit into your daily workload. This is where engagement with and education from the MAG can be of great value.

For those of you that may not be aware of the opportunities the MAG offers the payments technology community, let me share a little background. The MAG’s payments technology mission is directed by the Executive Tech Board. The board is comprised of several MAG members from the merchant community and provides guidance and makes decisions that shape the direction of the MAG’s actions on payments technology engagement, education, and collaboration. The board’s vision is implemented by the Tech Ops and the Innovation Committees and is supported by the MAG staff. These two committees serve different purposes.

The Tech Ops Committee is charged with influencing the technologies used in the payments ecosystem to better align with the merchant community through education, collaboration, and advocacy. In its role, the Tech Ops Committee provides input into the content of the Tech Forum conferences and webinars, reviews new and updated specifications and mandates to determine potential merchant technical impact, and supports the MAG core teams on technology-related questions and issues.

The Innovation Committee is responsible for facilitating innovation with Fintechs through active and strategic engagement. In addition, the committee works to create the environment needed to allow merchants' technical resources to be engaged in ongoing payment discussions. Through this engagement and the ensuing discussions, the committee aims to create an environment where Fintechs are developing merchant-friendly payments solutions.

As a result of the work by the board and committees, MAG merchant members are able to take advantage of a number of resources including Tech Forum conferences, webinars, MAG-developed articles, curated news, and more. The Tech Forum events, held twice a year alongside the MAG Conferences, provide not only great educational topics but also the opportunity to network with payments and IT professionals from other merchants and vendor organizations to gain insights on the latest technologies impacting payments. On top of all of this, there are two tech-focused Special Interest Groups (SIGs) where MAG members are able to participate in strategic discussions with other members on topics they are grappling with and learn best practices from those who have “been there and done that.” All of these resources can be used to inform technical decisions in your own shops.

By participating in the MAG payments technology community, you can help advance our collective understanding of the technologies affecting payments and how we can use those technologies to create better outcomes for our customers, our businesses, and our communities.

Follow the links below to learn more about getting involved with Tech at the MAG:

Please contact Chris Storbeck or Steve Cole if you have additional questions about engagement with the MAG’s committees, SIGs, or relevant Communities of Practice (COPs). Your involvement will strengthen our efforts to educate, collaborate and advocate on payments technology.

The Merchant Advisory Group

Driving positive change and innovation in the payments industry that serves the merchants interest through collaboration, education, and advocacy.