What is a Ghost Switch?
Ghost Switch (GW) in its end state is the Payments processing platform in the Cloud computing that facilitates Any-to-Any
payments in real-time services
as the default delivery mechanism.
The Ghost Switch GS would facilitate frictionless payments between multiple parties such as but not limited to Banks, Financial Intermediaries (Processors), FinTechs and Merchants.
Ghost switch also caters for multiple technology disruptions that are relevant to Payment systems, which includes:
As the market trends continue to change the strategy will continue to evolve based on the market trends, for example as in
Agile Payments Solution (APS) or Universal Payments (UP) or even Any to Any Payments (A2A).
Whether the Reference Architecture (RA) or Universal Payments or Ghost Switch has to be in synch with other systems and had to continue to evolving.
Existing systems will have to continue on the evolution journey and new additional focus areas need to be introduced along with refining existing ones.
The RA should describe company's evolution in 3 major steps - Service Enablement, Shared Entities and Shared Services. Significant progress towards a service-oriented architecture (SOA), PIM, UP Framework should be made.
The UP-Shared Entities evolved to Data Management strategy and Infrastructure Strategy could be introduced. Consumer and Commercial Payment solution evolution (with roadmap) could be defined.
Unified Stack (UPF MCAS integration with UPF APSF), x86 & RHEL, POC with cloud scale database technology (NuoDB) could be taken up.
The Ghost Switch as realization of Cloud Computing Readiness and Shared Services for Payments - Allow users to be building on top of UP to create common services for simplified, cloud-ready, real-time access to the payments eco system. This does not compromising any of the Non Functional Requirements (NFR).
Ghost Switch Payments Platform Details
The Ghost Switch in its end state is the Payments processing platform in the Cloud computing that facilitates Any-to-Any
in real-time services.
Ghost Switch consists of hosted instance(s) of UP Framework-enabled functions that are shareable across customer deployments including data, endpoints, and orchestration capability and shared business services.
Ghost Switch hosted as a utility in the Cloud computing, with its components being sharable via APIs across both in the Cloud computing and on premise customer deployments.
To minimize the cost and customer or/and cost and transaction in Cloud computing, where possible, Ghost Switch components are designed at all tiers to be horizontally scalable, multi-tenant, and x86-based.
To make easy strong NFRs, Ghost Switch components strive for Continuous Availability; active-active across multiple data centres, and at a minimum are designed to be highly redundant within a single data centre.
Ghost Switch Solutions at the core
The Ghost Switch Solutions at the core are the evolved state of Consumer Payments and Commercial Payments solution.
The service-oriented architecture solutions in turn are assembled using the best in class market leading products.
The future solutions will continue to evolve by reusing the existing product business logic in a service oriented manner.
A typical characteristic of product being at the base is less revenue per customer. As a company move up the pyramid revenue per customer will be higher but the number of customers taking the solutions could be less compared to customers taking individual products.
It could take a large number of customers buying individual products to achieve the strategic growth in the given time frames.
This is a difficult task and hence the strategy calls for focusing on the solution and on "bigger" customers.
What this means is going to the next level of Integrated Solutions.
The strategic products sitting at the base of the services serves as foundation and contributes rich payment business logic.
In order for these products to participate in service oriented solutions - products must evolve and become solution ready.
As company continue to evolve the products, the company will also have to cater for the market disruptions and evolutions.
Things such as Real-time payments or immediate payment services including Single Message Authorization (IMA) and Clearing, Cloud Readiness (SaaS), Tokenization, API based access and integration etc. has to be supported.
Ghost Switch API's Services
Access to payment infrastructure and the ability to initiate payments over the web has been complex in the past.
With the advancement in technology - we see a trend of simplicity in this area. REST architecture style, JSON over HTTPS, OAuth, Micro Services, and API Gateway etc. contribute towards the simplicity and ease of integration.
Not everything is as matured and evolved but the signs are quite encouraging.
Then we talk about API's - it is a little more than just service enabling. We have categorized the work involved into four major areas, there could be more:
1. Provisioning and Enrollment - The consumer(s) or adopters of API's should be able to come on board quickly.
Self-service model is preferred.
A number of API gateways (Amazon EC2, CA, apigee, WSO2) are available in the market that can accelerate our journey in this area.
2. Runtime Execution and NFR's - Consumers can be quite innovative in the context and manner in which the API's would be used.
The run time execution, performance, security and availability of the API's need to be consistent and predictable.
3. Access control and Administration - API provider should also have control over who has access and what they are doing with the API's.
4. Reporting and Visibility - API consumers should also have visibility into API usage, performance, billing implications etc.
The API's would enable the next generation Omni Channel user experience - App Centric world. Adoption of an App centric approach can be quite game changing.
We see the evolution happening in adjacent industries. It all started with smart phones and now televisions and streaming devices have adopted an app centric model. Automobiles and wearable devices such as watches and wristbands or other wearable device on a payment terminal without entering your PIN have also entered the game.
It is not that hard to visualize banks and other software providers having a private app store ecosystem, inspired by Apple, Google, Facebook, Samsung and Alibaba, that could accelerate value creation.
Ghost Switch implementation could positions a company as the industry leader and instigator of innovation for Banks, Merchants, Financial Intermediaries and FinTech's.