Treasury technology: Why a modern user interface matters

January 27, 2022

Let’s say it’s your first time accessing the new Treasury Management System (TMS). You take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the screen. You’re able to locate your cash positions and outstanding payments in mere seconds and run your market-to-market reports. You didn’t have to sit down for an hour-long training course to learn how to get from point A to B. Instead, it all happened naturally. As if someone managed to read your mind and put all the toggles and shapes in the right places. You navigate through the screen with minimal clicks. You feel empowered and ready to excel at your job with a set of supportive tools. You take another look at a lovely array of colors that are soft to the eye, knowing they won’t give you headaches even if you stare at them for hours, and you are ready to start your day. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

Good vs bad user experience

A good User experience (UX) and User Interface (UI): designed to improve a user’s interaction with the tool at hand. UI focuses on the interface’s style, look, and feel. UX is a holistic product or service experience, including a person’s perception of the utility, user-friendliness, and ease of use.

So, what is bad UX and UI? There is a concept called “Normans door” in the design domain. Did you ever have an uncomfortable experience with a door when you did not know whether to push or pull, and it took you some time to think and decide? Or you pulled instead of pushing and could not go through, which created an awkward moment, and you felt like it was your fault. It was not; the door did not pass usability criteria which lies at the heart of good UX design. Hence it was poorly designed, meaning it had bad UX.

A short history of UX design

Now that we are clear on the key terms let’s dive into the history. Some may argue that UX and UI history started back in 4000 BC with the Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui, which focused on arranging objects and space in the environment to achieve harmony and balance. However, the term “user experience” was invented centuries later in the 1990s by David Norman, a cognitive physiologist and designer. Norman was the first to be labeled a UX Architect in his role at Apple. In his view, UX is all aspects of the individual’s experience with a product, including industrial design, graphics, interface, physical interaction, and the manual.

Value of an exemplary user interface

Over the years, UX and UI have seen expedited growth and became a whole scientific process that involves research, analysis, prototyping, testing, and refining the design model. Ample supporting evidence indicates that redesigning a UI produces concrete and meaningful results. According to Sellbrite research, security software company McAfee managed to reduce its customer support calls by 90% simply by redesigning its user interface. A separate 5-year study by McKinsey on 300 publicly listed companies’ design practices found that companies in the top quartile for the design index scores outperformed industry benchmark revenue growth by two to one. These successes have generated growing focus from companies on investing in UI and UX improvements, a developing trajectory that is only expected to increase.

New ways of working in treasury

Globalization, the recent pandemic, and a continuous drive for efficiency gains are constantly changing how treasuries work. Mergers and acquisitions, expanding teams, disparate time zones, consolidations, adoption of inherited legacy systems, and the requirement of alignment of different company entities across various locations all drive treasuries’ focus today.

Externally, macro and microeconomic factors alike are pushing treasuries to adopt new ways of working and changing the requirements for their supporting tools. That’s why it is vital to ensure that a poorly designed TMS doesn’t add to the team’s burden. Treasurers’ expertise does not lie within IT technologies, and introducing extra complexity around system usage moves treasury teams no closer to achieving set goals.

Benefits of a TMS with a good user interface

Good UX and UI create an easy and intuitive way of navigating through a treasury system that can lift these obstacles and mitigate complexity, bringing easiness to day-to-day tasks. Other benefits of a modern, crisp, and clean UX and UI in your treasury system include:

  • Improved efficiency through the ability to fully utilize the TMS.
  • Enhanced user independence as new users doesn’t need extensive training.
  • Boosted efficiency by reducing the time spent on problem-solving sessions.
  • Better data analysis as users will focus on data analysis without any distractions.
  • Increased productivity through an overall enjoyable experience working with the system.

At ION, we have a dedicated team that constantly evolves our UX and UI strategy, implementing best practices and technology trends. Driving functional and visual consistency across our treasury management systems, we have launched new user interfaces for Reval and ITS.

As our world progresses and we learn more about the interplay between technology and human behavior, the design will become a critical feature in our functioning systems. UX and UI design should have a notable place in the selection criteria for any treasury management system.

ION Treasury

If you want to learn about ION Treasury and our portfolio of treasury management systems, read our brochure.