IBM taps partner to get banking apps on WebSphere
IBM has disclosed plans to partner with i-flex solutions,
a company based in India that offers financial application software to banks
internationally. The move displays IBM's continuing focus on vertical solutions,
demonstrated in a recent
restructuring of the organization's sales portfolio .
From a technology perspective, the new partnership will move the i-flex
Flexcube for Retail Banking applications to an EJB model on the IBM WebSphere
platform and the latest version of the DB2 database, said Pablo Suarez, global
solution executive for core systems at IBM. From a marketing perspective, it
will give i-flex global reach through IBM's worldwide sales, marketing and
services organization, he added.
Suarez pointed out that while i-flex is not a household name like IBM, since
the firm launched Flexcube in 1997, it has been installed in more than 160
financial institutions in more than 74 countries. In 2002, the i-flex software
product was ranked number one in global sales for Universal Banking Solutions by
International Banking Systems (IBS-UK). According to IBM's announcement, i-flex
has more than 2,600 employees and 10 development centers, including ones in
India, Singapore and New York. IBM stated that customers of the WebSphere
version of the i-flex applications include Syndicate Bank in India, SNS Bank in
The Netherlands and the International Monetary Fund in the U.S.
''At Syndicate Bank in India, we're doing a full implementation of the
Flexcube Retail Banking solution led by IBM Global Services,'' Suarez said. ''What
we're doing there is giving the bank the ability to have new ways of building
products for loans and deposits.''
He said the beans model allows the bank to quickly implement key applications
and then phase in additional banking software products as Flexcube is fully
implemented. Phased implementation, with initial products up and running in the
early stages, makes it easier for IT departments to justify purchasing the new
software, Suarez said.
''It changes the whole equation,'' he explained. ''Remember, banks dedicate at
least 80% of their budgets just for maintenance. Ten percent will go for
optimization and 10% will be for new solutions.'' He suggested that Flexcube will
allow users to ''create new banking products much faster.''
Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.