Anchal Tiwari; Head of Product Management and Strategy
Over the course of the last 20 years, international trade has expanded massively with goods and services traded globally now accounting for over 60% of the global gross domestic product.
Although trade has changed significantly in the last 20 years, processes have largely remained manual, paper-intensive and complex. Digitising trade processes is not a new initiative, but the previous lack of open standards, regulations and heterogeneous systems has resulted in the creation of digital silos stifling further progress.
Things however have started to change and trade digitisation has started to pick up momentum due to the evolution of recent technologies like AI, machine learning, open APIs and blockchain. Coupled with the recent challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the trade finance community adopt digitisation more readily.
The benefits of digitising trade processes are clear; trade digitisation reduces the inherent risks of trade, reduces costs, and removes the inefficiencies of complex, paper-intensive and fragmented processes. Switching focus towards trade finance digitisation delivers countless opportunities and benefits for all trade parties.
We at Bolero have been at the forefront of trade digitisation and innovation for more than two decades. We were the first to roll out a commercial electronic bill of lading solution that allows our clients to receive digital bills of lading from our network of more than 200 shipping carriers across the globe and pass those along to their trade counterparts.
Bolero’s transformation journey
With more than 20 years’ experience in trade, maritime and cloud technology, we have access to data and research that allows us to build products that bring incredible value to our customers. And as such we have cemented ourselves as a main stay in the trade finance digitisation community.
As part of our objectives to build innovative, modern, and intuitive solutions we turned to our customers, partners, and friends in the industry for feedback to fuel our innovation. In these conversations, we were able to spot unmet needs and identified use cases that were not previously addressed by the market. We gained valuable insights from these discussions which have helped us identify improvements, add new functionalities, and create new solutions to address challenges faced by the trade community.
The first step for our talented team of engineers was to future proof our tech stack to keep up with the latest technology trends and innovations. This gave us the foundations to provide a single point of access to all Bolero services, transform user experience, build robust bank-grade security systems, and improve connectivity with third-party systems allowing us to provide deeper and wider functionalities to our customers.
This became a reality when we unveiled our new platform Galileo in February 2020. Our first live module – the Open Account module is enabling exporters and importers to exchange trade documents including electronic bills of lading (eBLs) with each other in a very collaborative and simple way.
A little more about Galileo
Galileo is a flexible, modular, and scalable platform that has been designed to deliver future-proofed digital trade services to Banks, Corporates, Carriers and other trade eco-systems. With an enhanced user experience powered by advanced technology, it delivers unrivalled functionality and seamless integration.
Galileo is also capable of growing in functionality with its ability to embed best-in-class solutions from our partners as value-added services. Our partnership with Traydstream for document precheck and Mitigram for price discovery makes it even more interesting and comprehensive for end users.
Figure 1. Our Galileo platform, connectivity and integrations are key.
Galileo Multi-Bank for Corporates; the first solution developed on our new platform.
Galileo Multi-Bank for Corporates is a powerful, collaborative and secure portal allowing corporates to manage and track all their trade transactions with multiple banks and counterparties on one platform.
This is a major transformation to our existing multi-bank solution used by clients globally.
Galileo Multi-Bank for Corporates allows customers to send their letters of credit or guarantee transactions to banks using our web application or any third-party portal application. Client transactions are sent to banks on a secured messaging channel and Banks can receive transactions via Bolero’s web application or directly into their back-office systems.
Galileo Multi-Bank for Corporates solution offers:
- A transformed digital user experience that is simple and intuitive.
- Access to all trade transactions like Letters of Credit, Guarantees, presentations in one place
- API based connectivity with banks and third-party applications
- Ready connectivity and access to more than 200 carriers across the globe. Collaborative drafting of trade instruments between customers, counterparties and banks.
- Real-time visibility of all trade transactions using dashboard, reporting, audit and traceability tools
- Email and in-app notifications
Replacement of user certificates with 2-factor authentication using Google authenticator or Microsoft authenticator or Bolero’s own authenticator will allow for quick onboarding of clients on Galileo. Over the next 12 months, we hope to move all our existing customers to our Galileo Multi-Bank for Corporates solution.
The collaborative process between our teams and customers allowed us to use that feedback to develop an innovative platform that addresses the difficulties the trade community faces. We are extremely pleased with our progress and the positive responses received from customers, partners, and prospects. The responses have driven us, even more, to make sure we continue to develop cutting-edge and innovative solutions.
The biggest leap is yet to come
With our new technology platform, we have built a strong foundation that allows us to continually innovate and build novel solutions for banks, carriers and corporates.
We have solved important issues corporates have been facing with the release of our Galileo Multi-Bank for corporates solution by providing a transformed user experience and better connectivity with banks and at the same time eliminating the time spent on manual processes.
On the other hand, banks have not been able to offer a fully digitised service to their trade customers due to the immense cost, time and the complex implementation processes required to offer a fully digitised user journey. This is a gap in the market that we believe we can fulfil.
For some time now, this has been an area of intense interest for us at Bolero. We have been working tirelessly in close collaboration with one of the biggest financial institutions in the world to address these issues so that we can bridge this gap and enable banks to offer a fully digital trade finance experience to their clients.
We are close to sharing our newest innovation and the biggest leap in the trade finance space and we cannot wait to tell you more about this in the coming days.