The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (Swift) is to sub-contract its network operations - and the development of its promised IP-based next generation service - to Global Crossing.
Swift says the deal, which is worth a minimum of $300 million in revenue to Global Crossing, will enable it to sharpen its focus on messaging services, transaction processing and standards setting while at the same time ensuring a more robust offering for its member-banks.
"A key operations goal for Swift is to deliver secure, high-quality solutions to our customers as quickly as possible," says Joe Eng, Swift's chief information officer. He says Swift will co-design, co-implement, co-test, and co-manage the new Internet Protocol-based network with Global Crossing.
A spokesman says Swift's own attempts to build the secure IP network - a mission critical 'next generation' solution intended to replace the bank-owned co-operative's ageing store and forward architecture - have been ongoing and that the Society had gone so far as to install points of presence.
"The partnership with GX will enable Swift to meet its deliverables better and faster," says the spokesman. "The reason is to use what exists on the market rather than re-invent the wheel and focus our resources effectively on what is truly Swift's core competence."
He emphasises that the network will continue to run under Swift's supervision from its existing operating centres, in the same way as today.
Under the terms of the agreement, Global Crossing will manage the development and operation of Swift's Secure IP Network (SIPN) infrastructure, which will become a Virtual Private Network (VPN) within Global Crossing's existing IP extranet infrastructure. Global Crossing will also take over the running of Swift's current X.25 network.
Global Crossing president David Walsh describes the deal as an "extraordinary" opportunity.
The two companies have also entered a channel sales agreement to jointly market a broader range of networking services to Swift's banking members, providing a one-stop-shop for local loop access and managed customer premises equipment end-to-end, as well as broadband, Internet and VPN services.
Swift CEO Leonard Schrank says that the outsourcing arrangement will enable the bank-owned network to concentrate on the development of value-adding messaging applications and end-to-end repudiation services for Internet-based transaction processing.