The migration of Microsoft's treasury onto the XML-based ISO20022 messaging standard is likely to be a multi-year, ongoing initiative, according to a treasury manager at the software giant.
Microsoft's treasury would like to migrate all of its financial messaging onto the XML-based standard, however the tardiness of banks and their own adoption of the standard for their treasury services, means that the project will be an "evolution" that will involve several phases, according to Ed Barrie, group manager, Treasury at Microsoft.
"The XML standard will give us more enriched data at a transactional level which we can put into specifically defined fields in our Enterprise Resource Planning systems," says Barrie. "This will give us better STP and a single viewpoint for all of our payments information.
Microsoft's treasury department handles global credit and collections, cash management and account opening and closing for the software giant covering 1100 bank accounts and 130 banking partners.
Microsoft is concentrating on its treasury statements primarily, before applying the ISO20022 standard to its payment flows. However the project's success will be heavily dependant on the progress of its 130 banking partners.
"By next year we expect to have at least two banks converted and hope to have six or more," says Barrie.
At least the ISO standard will not face unwelcome competition. According to Barrie, there will not be a rival standard to ISO20022. "It is the format that supports Sepa payments in Europe so that is driving adoption but it has mostly been on the bank to bank payments side. What we need to see is this adoption spread to the bank to customer side."
Despite the slow progress, Barrie is confident that by next year's Sibos event, there will have been some significant developments, helped by demonstrable evidence of the benefits of implementing ISO20022.
"We are now in the initial analysis stage but by next year we will see more tangible case studies that show a return on investment, the percentage of straight-through-processing and the level of cost involved."