New financial services software invites Posts to join UPU in the cloud
UPU’s financial services software will convert to an entirely cloud-based solution and will no longer be available for Posts as an in-house operation.
Twenty years ago, the Postal Technology Centre (PTC), the Universal Postal Union’s IT arm, developed the International Financial Services (IFS) software. It allows Posts to offer international and domestic money transfers to account holders and nonaccount holders alike, as well as debits from Post bank accounts and other electronic transfers.
PTC is still working with the user’s groups to determine the date for the completion of the transition. More details should be available by the end of 2020, according to Marie Fourny, the IFS technical accounts manager, who coordinates with Posts using IFS services.
“[The cloud-based solution] would improve the quality of service,” Fourny said. “Once they are all on the cloud, we can harmonize the service, we can ensure the full community has access to the same features, the same up-to-date service and they can harmonize their practice.”
Posts have a commitment to offer every person in their country a low-cost means of transferring and receiving cash, Fourny says. Some Posts use outside providers or build their own system, but the IFS is a built-in solution that supports Posts’ commitment. And for some of those operators, the cloud service is vital, Fourny adds.
“They don’t always have the IT infrastructure, or they don’t have the IT people,” Fourny said. “And supporting them on the IT administration offers them significant assistance.”
Of the 69 Posts who connect to the IFS network, 39 run the software in-house and 12 are IFS Cloud users. The remainder have third-party - or their own - financial services providers, but have gateway access to the IFS network.
The cloud-based system means Posts no longer need to keep and maintain equipment. Authorized users just need to enroll their chosen hardware - a mobile device, tablet, or computer - to access the network.
Additionally, cloud users will soon have fewer delays related to transfers of funds. The current system is based on a file-sharing system, or FTP, which can result in delays for the receiving Post, depending on when it accesses the network to receive files.
“If the partner connects once a day, you have a delay of one day,” Fourny said. “Now we are migrating to a new platform with the cloud. … When they carry out an operation they share it immediately in the central system.”
The post from Mali has been using the IFS Cloud application for a while and enjoys several advantages, according to Sékou Ballo, the Directeur CTP of La Poste du Mali. These include the availability of the application with the cloud solution; strengthened security through the enrollment strategy for computers and mobiles; the unlimited number of users unlike the previous version via token keys; data confidentiality through an encryption certificate; support for both international and domestic transfer; and ensuring continuity of service through technical support.