A majority of billing organizations are investing in electronic payments technology to keep up with consumer wants and expectations, according to a new report from research firm Ovum and payments provider ACI Worldwide.

The rise in demand is driven by the Internet of Things (IoT), enterprise resource planning (ERP) integration and a greater focus on the cloud, the report said, with the overall aim of improving consumer experience through better management of payment data.

The study is based on a global survey of 1,475 payments decision makers conducted in December 2016 and January 2017. It includes organizations from diverse industries such as higher education, insurance, consumer finance, government, healthcare services and utilities.

Among the other key study findings is that the IoT is driving growth, with 49 percent of organizations actively developing or planning to offer payment capabilities embedded into new devices.

In addition, most organizations post payments to their ERP system in real-time and almost 70 percent plan to enhance ERP integration within payments even further. And while software-as-a-service (SaaS) and other cloud services only account for a small proportion of biller organizations’ delivery models today, a majority (54 percent) said they are likely to move more of their payments infrastructure data to SaaS/cloud models in the future.

“The role of payments has never been more central to both the consumer experience and overall operational capabilities, so organizations must continually invest in their payments capabilities,” said Gilles Ubaghs, principal analyst at Ovum. “This research shows that improved payments integration into ERP systems can benefit organizations by enabling an improved consumer experience alongside more efficient and intelligent back office functionality.”

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