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Author's profile photo James Marland

Even the board game Monopoly is going digital! How about you?

Everyone is looking to take paper out of their business. Even the latest version of Monopoly now has gone digital.


According to this article Hasbro has introduced a version of Monopoly that eliminates cash by using a little ATM, with a scanner and barcodes on the cards and board. If a player wants to buy a property they’ve landed on, they just need to scan their credit card, and then the Title Deed, and the price will be automatically deducted from their available funds. It works the same way if another player lands on a property with a house or hotel on it. By scanning both credit cards and the property card, funds can be quickly transferred between players to pay the rent.

This new edition (ominously called Ultimate Banking Edition) reflects that for the target player (“ages 8 and up”, according to the box) handling cash is becoming increasingly rare.

Doctors Fee, Pay £50

Touch-less payments are very common in the High Street, new techs such as ApplePay keep appearing. When I hand my taxi guy a couple of rumpled twenties it already feels vaguely criminal. When I make trips to non Euro countries such as Sweden or Denmark I don’t even think about getting any cash, and only have a vague idea of the Exchange Rate.

Advance to Boardwalk/Mayfair

In the American Rental sector, things haven’t changed much since Monopoly was first introduced, in Atlantic City in the 1930s. 70% of renters pay by check (Bloomberg, 2015). It’s unlikely that rent at Boardwalk is still $400, but it is more than likely that the current residents are reaching for a chequebook once a month. However, over here, on the London version, the renter at Mayfair is paying by direct debit, as the owner requires this as a condition of the lease.

You are assessed for Street repairs

Any Monopolist knows that the worst Chance card is the one that forces you to pay housing repairs. In the real world these are B2B invoices, and 77% of the worlds invoices are still on paper. This means that reconciling those invoices for repairs such as decorating and cleaning will be a cumbersome process.

Bank Error, collect $200

In contrast, this is the best card in the pack, although I suppose it would need to be eliminated from the electronic cash version of monopoly. In reality, a bank error is a failure in the reconciliation process that all businesses have to go through. If you are using a networked-based electronic payments, linked to your invoices then reconciliation is implicit. Many small business still replicate the rite of passage of “balancing the chequebook”, as payments come out of different systems and matching payments to credits and invoices is still essentially manual.

Get Out of Jail

The problem for Businesses today is that their IT systems are pretty much a jail: no communication with the outside world. Your suppliers, customers and other stakeholders can’t really communicate in the real-time, digital, Hi-Fidelity way that today’s economy requires. You don’t want to be languishing in the corner, hoping to roll a double, while your competitors cruise past on the “Just Visiting” lane, picking up all the best assets.

Advance to Go

If you are a Monopoly fan, then you can just buy this Banking Edition, and all of the renters will magically be ready to receive rent notices electronically and render payment digitally. In the real world of B2B, life is just a bit more complex than that. Rather than the 28 payees in the game, you will have 1000s of connections to make. To Advance to Go, you need to join a Business Network where many of those connections are already live, and a team is waiting to connect up the rest. Invoicing and Payment are the lifeblood of any business, and too important to leave to paper.

You can learn more about the solutions of AribaPay and the Ariba Business Network at SAPAribaLive, March 14-16, Las Vegas.

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