Customer-centric innovation – why our IPF Client Days matter to us

20 December 2023

Last month Icon hosted its final IPF Client Day of 2023. The event brought our clients together in London to explore the latest business trends in the payments market and technologies shaping payments, share experiences and discuss new product innovations as part of the Icon Payments Framework (IPF) roadmap.  

 IPF is Icon’s framework-based solution that is used by banks and payment processors to build and run payment processing applications that meet the bank’s/processor’s specific needs and requirements, and to put them in full control, free of vendor dependency. Icon continues to invest strongly in the IPF product with respect to new functionalities as well as embracing new technologies to maximise the value that the IPF product brings to customers.  

The customers of Icon play a key role in the agile approach that Icon applies for the innovation of its IPF product and the IPF client days are an essential part in this customer-centric approach. On the one hand, it gives IPF customers the opportunity to bring forward their future needs and requirements with respect to the product and on the other hand, it enables Icon to present and validate candidate product innovations. Icon also conducts market research and surveys on a regular basis to get deeper insights on the key trends from both a business and a technology perspective and uses the results from these reports to feed the innovation candidate list for the IPF product.  

Some of these key trends we have observed are listed below (in no particular order): 

  • Rationalisation and consolidation of payment processing into a simplified, more open and flexible payment processing solution. This does not only bring a significant reduction of TCO, but also allows banks/processors to focus more on the parts in the payment process with which it is able to differentiate itself in the market and accelerate innovation to generate new revenue streams; one of the key architectural principles to support this is decoupling the value and the implementation of a strategic order management layer. 
  • One-leg-out transfers and interlinking of infrastructures. In different parts of the world, initiatives are taken to extend domestic real-time payment schemes and infrastructures with one-leg-out support. At the same time the infrastructures in various countries are being inter-connected with each other (like IXB between EBA and TCH or multiple real-time payment infrastructures in South-East Asia). This makes it possible to clear & settle cross border payments in real-time at a cost level that comes close to the ones of domestic transfers. This development will have major consequences for the existing correspondent banking model as we know it. 
  • Low Code capabilities. It concerns here the possibility for payment experts and business analysts that do not have a coding background, to define payment processing functionality through an intuitive user interface on basis of which the relevant code is automatically generated and deployed without any involvement of traditional IT staff. This does not only result in a significant reduction of development costs, but it also accelerates innovation and improves the quality as there are less hand-over points between payment/business that define the required functionality and IT staff that need to develop and implement this functionality. 
  • Artificial Intelligence. AI and Generative AI (Gen AI) has gained a lot of attention the last year. The majority of AI related use cases in payments were related to fraud, AML and sanction screening. But there are many more areas in payments where (Gen) AI can bring a lot of value, such as data enrichment/repair, intelligent payment routing, insights in payments and payment processing and automated code generation. 

Arjeh van Oijen