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Building the Cloud Strategy That Powers the World’s Payment Systems

“ACI supports 9 of the top 10 global banks,” says Scotty Perkins, ACI’s EVP and head of global cloud strategy.

To Scotty, this responsibility is both daunting and thrilling. The scale of the operation is, after all, what made his position so appealing.

“ACI is an incredibly special brand in the sense that we’ve been providing the most resilient, the most scalable, and the most mission-critical banking applications to the largest banking brands in the world for decades. We’re responsible for moving trillions of dollars in payment value through the economies of the world every day. We support central payments infrastructure for entire countries, like France, Indonesia and Malaysia.”

As part of the product organization, Scotty’s role is to define how the company advances its products and solutions in the direction of the public cloud. He and his team work with the end consumer – not just the banking partner – in mind always, so everything they do ultimately should aim to make it easier for the everyday consumer to buy goods and services electronically. And because electronic payments must work for everyone, inclusion is built into team responsibilities.

Scotty’s team spent years working on a project to provide access to consumers whose only available payment method is cash.

“How do you allow a customer who doesn’t have a credit or debit card to participate in the general economy? How do you allow them to take advantage of the cost economies and eCommerce? We created solutions using mobile devices that give them the opportunity to participate in those buying scenarios in ways that save them money and actually make their lives easier financially, day to day,” he says.

Innovating in a risk-averse industry

“There are several industries that lend themselves to pushing forward on the bleeding edge but the financial services industry is not one of those,” says Scotty. The banks themselves cannot afford to take big risks – there’s too much at stake. But ACI can, and indeed, has to.

Cloud strategy must deal with the here and now of payments technology, as well as the future. For example, it takes any given bank years to change its payment system, so the tech available at kickoff will be outdated by the time the project concludes. The economy will look different, too. Though the industry moves slowly, ACI moves swiftly, keeping up with an evolving global marketplace at every step.

“What’s exciting is that it’s difficult to anticipate where the puck’s going to be in that three-year period,” says Scotty.

To mitigate customer risk, Scotty’s team has to innovate in customer environments while minimizing downtime, ensuring that the networks ACIs supports remain the highest transaction-per-second networks in the world.

Scotty’s own job didn’t exist a decade ago because the tech just wasn’t there. It was the arrival of the public cloud roughly five years ago that changed the way banking systems conducted real-time payments and imagined the theoretical capabilities.

“Talking about the cloud has been so pervasive in the technology community for the last five years, that it’s easy to forget that five years before that, those technologies were only an idea.”

To outpace competitors and lead the way for payment systems of the future, Scotty hopes to build a team that is relentless and passionate.

“We want people who are passionate about payments, passionate about the possibilities of making the lives of end consumers better, passionate about helping banking and merchant customers, and passionate about making the consumer experience better every day.”

That team will imagine cloud capabilities that will hit the market five years from now and be the first to do it.

“I’m completely confident that we will be in a position to deliver on our objectives,” he says. “We’ll be in a good position to continue to take advantage of whatever the technology landscape it looks like in 2028, which, if history is any guide, will look substantially different than anything even we can foresee at the moment.”

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Head of Global Cloud Strategy