In a transformative move for the digital payments landscape, software titan SAP SE, known for its diverse portfolio of software solutions, and global payment behemoth Visa, a leader in digital payments, have announced a strategic collaboration. Their shared goal? To simplify and accelerate business-to-business (B2B) payments, with an initial strong focus on the Asia-Pacific market. Essentially, this collaboration seeks to incorporate Visa’s payment solutions into SAP’s broad spectrum of software, empowering businesses to seamlessly pay their suppliers, regardless of whether they accept card payments or not.

Paul Marriott, President of SAP Asia Pacific Japan, expressed enthusiasm for the partnership: “Our collaboration with Visa endeavours to streamline and simplify the B2B payment process and drive further efficiencies for our joint customers.”

Paul Marriott - President, SAP Asia Pacific Japan
Paul Marriott | President, SAP Asia Pacific Japan

Embedding Visa payment solutions into the SAP ecosystem aims to scale and accelerate digital commerce, together empowering enterprises – from small businesses to government agencies and nonprofit organisations – to make secure payments quickly, transforming the last mile of procurement.”

Challenges in the B2B Payment Landscape

B2B payments, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, are notorious for their intricacies. Digitising payment methods can be a steep uphill battle for smaller businesses, often leading to inefficiencies and delays. These challenges have spurred SAP and Visa’s unique collaboration. Together, they aspire to lead the digitalisation crusade, providing a comprehensive solution to businesses eagerly awaiting such an intervention.

The potential market for this innovation is immense. With an extensive customer base of SAP, which includes approximately 99% of the world’s largest companies, this partnership paves the way for exploring embedded finance in the B2B market. The ultimate goal? To seamlessly weave financial transactions into daily business operations. Visa estimates that digitising B2B payment flows in the Asia-Pacific region alone presents an opportunity worth over $50 trillion.

How The Collaboration Benefits Businesses

The integration of Visa’s payment services into the SAP ecosystem through the SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP), an open platform as a service (PaaS) that provides in-memory capabilities, core platform services, and unique microservices for building and extending intelligent, mobile-enabled applications, is a pivotal part of this collaboration. This integration streamlines the payment process, enabling businesses to securely complete transactions with just a few clicks.

The practical benefits of this collaboration are substantial, particularly for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Businesses can enjoy improved operational efficiency, cost savings by reducing manual processing, better cash flow management, and the convenience of instant payments using Visa corporate cards on SAP software platforms. With this integration, businesses can avoid the complexity of managing different payment methods from various vendors, significantly simplifying the payment process.

Stephen Karpin | Asia-Pacific Regional President at Visa

The movement of money is becoming increasingly digital, but the bulk of transformation has been focused on the consumer space. Our collaboration with SAP is an exciting step in making B2B payments simpler and more intuitive as organizations can make payments immediately on SAP platforms with their Visa corporate cards, instead of having to leave their existing enterprise ecosystem and navigate the different payment methods that their vendors accept. B2B payments need to be intuitive and fuss-free, so organisations can maximise time and resources on other aspects of their businesses.

Practical Implications of the Collaboration

Imagine a small enterprise dealing with multiple suppliers and struggling with a labyrinth of payment methods. Before Visa’s payment solutions were integrated into the SAP platform, this company might have faced severe hurdles when processing payments to suppliers who didn’t accept card payments. Difficulty navigating different payment methods would lead to inefficiencies, delays, and potential cash flow issues.

With the new integration, however, the company can now directly process payments to all suppliers within the SAP platform, regardless of their accepted payment methods. This greatly simplifies the payment process, freeing up valuable time and resources that can be better spent elsewhere.

But the benefits don’t stop at the company’s boundaries. Suppliers also gain from this streamlined approach, receiving payments more efficiently and improving their cash flow. The integration removes the obstacles and complexities tied to differing payment methods, fostering smoother transactions and stronger business relationships.

Future Developments

The initial rollout of this embedded finance solution will be to SAP customers in Australia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. However, there are already plans to expand to other markets in the region, signalling the potential for this partnership to influence the B2B payment landscape on a global scale.

Comparison with Other Initiatives

While other financial technology companies, such as Payoneer and the UK-based Wise, have ventured into the B2B payments space, the SAP-Visa collaboration stands out due to the comprehensive nature of the solution, the potential scale given the size and reach of both companies and the focus on integrating directly within an enterprise software ecosystem.

This strategic partnership between SAP and Visa is set to revolutionise the B2B payments landscape, offering a more streamlined, efficient, and user-friendly process for businesses of all sizes. It is a clear testament to the transformative power of digitalisation in the financial sector and a significant leap forward in improving the ease of doing business in the Asia-Pacific region.

About the author

Whitehall Resources is the premier SAP recruitment agency dedicated to connecting high-quality specialist professionals with some of the world’s most renowned and respected brands.