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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.''

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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