Microsoft is joining forces with TietoEnator and Nordic banks Sampo, Nordea and OP Bank to develop and launch a Sepa-compliant automated corporate-to-bank connectivity service for transactions and payments.
Microsoft says the package, to be developed by TietoEnator, will be based on its BizTalk Server 2006 and Windows Communication Framework (WCF), and will provide corporate customers with robust Internet-based connectivity to banks.
The system will meet the requirements of the Single European Payments Area (Sepa), the EU directive aimed at driving down cross-border payment transaction costs by 2008.
The corporate-to-bank system will adopt ISO 20022 and industry open standards, including eXtensible markup language (XML), simple object access protocol (SOAP) and Web services. Microsoft says the system can also be extended to include messaging over SwiftNet.
Sheida Hadji-Ashrafi, industry manager for financial messaging at Microsoft EMEA, says: "With the pressure on corporates to save costs and increase efficiencies, corporate-to-bank proprietary networks are no longer economically viable. With a standardised solution, European banks can provide corporates with a low-cost communication channel that will enable them to deal with their banks electronically, achieving an autoomated financial value chain."
Olli Kahkonen, manager of strategy and infrastructure at Nordea, adds: "Europe's banks are all experiencing a squeeze on margins and pressure from corporate customers to deliver premium services at lower cost. We are aware that today it is much easier for business customers to vote with their feet if they become dissatisfied with their current provider. Together, Nordea, Op Bank Group and Sampo have chosen to create this connectivity solution to ensure that we remain competitive."