Serrala: bringing clarity to complexity

  Kevin Grant, Chief International Officer, at Serrala

 Hanse Orga Group is proud to announce its evolution into Serrala. Our new name is inspired by the Sierra de la Serrella, a powerful mountain range in Spain symbolising confidence and security.

Serrala optimises payments for organisations that seek efficient cash visibility and secure financial processes. As our company grows, delivering our expertise and solutions to partners and customers around the globe, we wanted a name that reflects our values, expresses the diversity of our people and amplifies our innovative nature. With a suite of future-proof end-to-end payment solutions we provide efficient and secure optimisation of your financial processes partnered with experienced first-class cash visibility and treasury consulting services.

Driven by our enterprising nature, we constantly challenge ourselves to bring relevant innovation to market. Our dedication and reliability empowers and protects our customers and partners around the globe. Serrala supports over 2,500 companies worldwide with advanced technology and personalised consulting to optimise all processes that manage incoming and outgoing payments, from order-to-cash, procure-to-pay and treasury to data and document management.

Represented on three continents with 16 regional offices in Europe, North America and Asia, more than 550 employees are dedicated to service companies of all industry sectors – from medium-sized companies to global players. Taken together, this unique and comprehensive approach enables our clients to achieve the highest possible process efficiency and transparency.

Serrala’s software family of best-in-class solutions creates a complete payments ecosystem that provides security and compliance at every step of your financial value chain. Our solutions offer different deployment options to meet your specific requirements – whether on-premises, in the cloud, or as a hybrid solution with managed service components. The SAP-integrated solution portfolio has been certified by SAP for its integration with SAP’s latest technology S/4HANA Finance and has been honoured repeatedly, having been presented with the international TMI Award for Innovation & Excellence as “Best ERP Based Software” and other awards. Over 30 years of industry experience provide us with the necessary knowledge and understanding to be your trustworthy partners.

Find out more about Serrala’s solution offering.

Video transcript:

Hello and welcome to Business Reporter's Robotics and Automation campaign. I'm Alastair Greener. If a business's productivity is a high-wire balancing act, then the automation of processes will be its safety net. We're all competing to reach consumers faster than our rivals. We're competing to deliver better quality products and services. We must grab any technology that will keep us among the pack leaders.

That's why robotic process automation, or RPA, has been adopted in some industries, for example in financial transactions. Surprisingly, many businesses have not yet deployed it. Well, with me in the studio is Kevin Grant, Chief International Officer from Serrala, to explain why and to dispel the fears that decision makers may have.

Good morning.

Hey. Good morning.

In an ideal world, what aspects of the financial workflow could actually be automated?

So I would focus on two areas. One would be GDPR, and another would be working capital management. And if you look at GDPR, many organisations have struggled to be compliant with it. You need to have a robust software solution which will help you deal with your obligations under the directive, because they are far too great and far too high in quantity for people to be able to process in a timely fashion.

Second one would be working capital management. Since 2008 financial crisis, organisations want to know where their cash is, what currency their cash is domiciled in, which countries with which banks that money sits. And they're looking to maximise the return they get on surplus cash and minimise the cash borrowings they have to take into the organisation.

What you are talking about sounds like a great opportunity and therefore something everyone should be adopting, yet there are many organisations which are still not adopting this and taking advantage of this technology. What's standing in the way? What are their concerns?

I just feel it's understanding and knowledge. And I think they are afraid of being sold to. So I think what they really need to do is find trusted technology partners, engage with those partners, and have the partners educate them on what is possible and what's achievable and not to focus on, like, hey, audacious goal and something in the future.

Let's think about practical steps we can take today which will lead us on the path to further compliance with these legislations. Or in the case of more efficient cash management, let's look at our payments universe. Let's look at how we can optimise our payments processes, gain greater cash visibility, and derive security under financial processes.

And where would an organisation go to make sure they're getting the right products to make sure they're getting the right type of help that's going to suit their businesses?

Well, I think with any consumer, any buyer, you want to go to someone who is trusted, someone who has reference points. They've solved your problems with another corporate client or another financial institution beforehand. They can actually lead you and guide you on best practise, and that's something here at Serrala that we're very proud of.

Now, RPAs, you've already implied, can help in so many different areas of the financial workflow. Just moving slightly aside from that, how does it benefit with fraud?

So specifically, around any payment process as a policy that comes down from the board or the corporate governance to be followed to minimise fraud opportunities, they are implementing due processes and procedures. And then people are normally asked to manage those. But people are quite often part of the problem around fraudulent activity.

People have a capacity to deal with a certain volume of information. Individuals have different capacities to analyse and consume and draw conclusions from information. And this is where I really think robotic software solutions really come into their own. We remove people from the process. They can analyse high volumes of data to high levels of accuracy, and they allow for real-time KPI monitoring and real-time calls to action if there is a requirement or an exception case. And I think that's where they offer significant contributions to minimising fraudulent processes being implemented within our organisations.

Now, what we've been talking about isn't particularly new, and there will be many organisations who will claim, as you do, how you can help and assist financial organisations with that process. So what's different about Serrala? What do you do that maybe puts you at the head of the field?

There's no problem that's too big to solve. There's nothing too complex that you can't find a solution. But it's about breaking that down into bite-sized chunks and making progressive steps towards an overall goal. It can't all be achieved as a big bang. So I think it's a rally here. We have brought a number of brands together under the one organisation, and that organisation brings complementary services and technology to our existing customers.

And we think that's where the trust lies and where the proven ability is, and therefore customers want to engage with that. I think we've always been disruptive, but we take disruptive technologies that have a practical application and bring them to the market. If it does have a practical application, it's in the research bucket for us. And over the last 10 years, we've been supplying robotic process automation tools, specifically in the financial work flow area for our customers. And therefore we have many reference points and case studies that would give new client engagement security and trust that they're working with a provider who has the capability to deliver against their business problems.

It's interesting you call yourselves a disruptor, because let's be honest, the financial software market is pretty disruptive itself. And you have to continually adapt and change to all of the various aspects that happen with natural change. So how do you go about that? How do you make sure that you are always current?

I think you have to create an environment where innovation is part of the DNA of the organisation. We do that at Serrala. We want to ensure that the solutions we bring are relevant, so therefore we are always looking forward to the challenges that we foresee coming tomorrow for our customers. We survey customers. We do our own research, and we try to be thought leaders in the marketplace. And by being a thought leader, you open yourself up to dialogue, and that dialogue helps drive product management and our own investments. Because we understand what's coming to our customers.

And what about the strategic purpose behind the recent mergers? Tell us a little bit more about that.

Well, it's rather we engaged in an M&A activity which was complementary. We've seen lots of fragmented technology providers in the marketplace, and the financial services area in particular. And we wanted to actually engage with a complementary M&A programme, bringing a wider solution capability to our customers. So from a trusted provider to existing customers, we offer additional solutions which can help our customers.

And tell us a little bit more about the strategic purpose behind the recent mergers and the value that that brings.

I think you spoke earlier about the fragmented financial technology market. And I think we've seen a lot of consolidation taking place in M&A, consolidation which actually takes competitors out of the market. What we have decided to do at Serrala is to have a complementary M&A activity, where we bring organisations in who fast-tracked our own software development ambitions, our own service delivery ambitions in the financial software area. So by doing so, we actually create an organisation that has complementary solutions, complementary skill sets. Therefore the integration has fewer break points and fewer pain points, shall I say.

You're working in an area which is undergoing phenomenal change at the moment, and we've talked a little bit about how you've been adapting and how you're keeping up. What about the future? Where do you see your organisation and the environment in which you work develop over, say, the next five years or so?

So the next five years or so, we will continue to consolidate in the markets where we're strong. [INAUDIBLE] are very strong markets. North America is a very important market for us now. 50% of our customer base is now based in North America.

So we will consolidate in those markets, but we also have an eye to new markets. We have an active partner programme. We are already engaging in LATAM and APAC, and we see geographic expansion taking our message to new markets, so to speak, is one of our ambitions.

And the truth of it is, this is just the beginning of what is probably going to be quite a busy period and the huge amount of change that's going to be taking place. And it's interesting that without question, RPA is going to be very much a part of that future. So it's been interesting getting a bit more of an insight of it. So, Kevin Grant from Serrala, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

Thank you for having me.