Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read May 2021 — Deluxe Corporation is a technology solutions company offering a wide range of solutions to help customers manage and grow their businesses. Division President Garry Capers spoke with Invest: about the pandemic’s impact on his industry, and cloud computing in particular, how small businesses are adapting to the new status quo and the promise of digitalization.
How did the demand for cloud computing develop over the last year?
I think that we probably saw more disruption and advancement in the small-business area versus the enterprise area. I think for a lot of enterprises, they have already gone down that path and understand the efficiencies, the agilities that accrue from transitioning to a cloud-based environment. In essence, cloud computing allows you to execute your business with far fewer resources, and to do so with more and more data. Over the past year, it was in the small-business area where we saw the biggest jump. Some of that was out of necessity. Small businesses needed to establish an online presence. A number of them really began to appreciate the ability to both engage and remain close to their customers and maintain their online presence. There were a number of businesses that really made some advancements, from retail companies that had to introduce curbside pick-up, to companies that now appreciate the need to establish an online reputation and manage that more comprehensively.
What were some factors preventing small businesses from adopting the cloud?
A number of small businesses are really the result of someone’s passion, where someone really wants to go out and make a change and improve their community or the market. In many cases, these people who are driven by passion are not necessarily technology experts. They are not thinking on a daily basis about how to set up a website, establish a logo, or do email marketing campaigns. This isn’t what they got into business to do, but it’s required of them to be successful. So, they were in need of help to be successful in this way and that is where a lot of companies, such as ours, were helpful.
How do you go about branding in an atypical year such as this?
This year, PPP and the focus on safety became critical. That became an element of branding. You had to maintain a healthy staff and also provide an environment where your customers could exist in a healthy manner. That would speak to what you were as a company. Small businesses, as a result, were able to say, we’re attuned to what you want as a customer. Other companies took it as a way to provide products — tools, if you will — that were to the benefit of their customers but that also helped build their branding.
How did digital payments fare over the last year?
The digital payments segment is a huge area for us. Less than a week ago, we announced an acquisition — the largest in Deluxe’s history — of First American Payment Systems. That is focused on how we will move forward in the digital payments space. The main factor around that continues to be flexibility. There are certain types of payments that are recurring and naturally allow for digitalization. There are other payments that are nuanced, one-off payments, like an insurance claim or taxes. These are limited as to what you can do. We are trying to sit between those two to achieve better flexibility and viability in creating different payment methods for the payee and in the ability of the payor to assume those in the way their systems are currently set up.
What business lines are you most excited about in terms of growth?
My business portfolio is varied, with everything from web posting, web design, logo design to small-business formation and small banks, but the area of my portfolio that most excites me is that which surrounds marketing data. We’re probably the largest aggregator of data that I could point to. The insights from our data can be very powerful. There are a lot of questions surrounding things like whose household situation is changing, who is starting a business, who is changing jobs. When you approach these questions, data analysis comes to the fore, bringing with it many applications.
What’s your outlook for the next 12 to 18 months?
The economy and the market in general are humming. We’re seeing results from all types of organizations, banks and otherwise that are declaring record results and a rebound in the economy. That said, there has been a true systemic and lasting change, from what consumers expect to their experience. The levels of efficiency are rising, as is personalization, and these are the things we are looking forward to better understanding in the near future.
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