SAP launches services and Swift integration packages

Source: SAP

SAP today announced a new service offering for banks to help them prepare for and take advantage of the latest technological advances in corporate-to-bank connectivity.

The SAP consulting package outlines the benefits of standards-based, real-time corporate-to-bank connectivity in reducing costs and IT complexity while increasing wallet share and enhancing customer satisfaction. The announcement was made at Sibos, the world's premier financial services event, being held in Boston, October 1-5.

The go-to-market service offering will be complementary to the SAP Bank Relationship Management application and SAP Integration Package for SWIFT, a standardized software solution linking SAP ERP directly to SWIFTNet, the IP-based messaging platform connecting nearly 8,100 financials institutions in 208 countries and territories. The consulting package was developed to provide banks an educational resource to better leverage the potential of standards-based corporate-to-bank connectivity based on XML messages.

A recent study, "Are You a Strategic Thinker" conducted by financial news services Finextra and SAP found that over 86 percent of respondents who are responsible for payments are embracing the new XML message types. But of these respondents, 32 percent are only interested in using this standardization for interbank connections. Such a finding demonstrates the need for better understanding of utilizing XML messaging for corporate-to-bank connections.

Today, banks and corporations maintain multiple payment channels and communication lines, often haphazardly integrated with ERP and transactions systems. This complexity increases business inefficiencies and security gaps and leads to higher support costs. With the SAP consulting package for bank connectivity, banks will be able to move away from proprietary applications to streamline payment cycles, consolidate security log-in points and improve compliance management. Additionally, specific value-added services can be delivered through the offering based on customer preferences.

"With this additional service, banks will be able to enlarge their offering for their corporate customers," said Christian Kothe, head of SWIFT Central & Eastern Europe. "Unified corporate-to-bank connectivity will, over time, benefit both banks and corporations as the corporate offerings continue to evolve. This offering was a natural progression of the partnership SWIFT has with SAP."

"With the evolution of standardized protocols and ERP applications, the opportunity now exists to create a fully contained corporate-to-bank ecosystem for all financial transactions," said Karl Kesselring, vice president OEM Sales & Partner Management, Global Banking Line of Business, SAP Labs, LLC. "Corporations have been the main protagonist in the popularity of corporate-to-bank connectivity, but banks have their own important role to play. Through the SAP consulting package for bank connectivity, our customers will get a better picture of what their vested interests are in this new framework and will give them the proper tools to build the framework from their end."

Separately, to accelerate the adoption of electronic payments and reduce the cost of connectivity between a corporation's financial management systems and its banks, SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) today announced the scheduled worldwide availability of SAP Integration Package for SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication)-a standardized software solution that enables SAP ERP to communicate directly with SWIFTNet, the IP-based messaging platform connecting nearly 8,100 financial institutions in 208 countries and territories.

The solution, which is part of the second enhancement package for SAP ERP, will be generally available at the end of 2007. The SAP Integration Package for SWIFT, which is currently being piloted by several customers, including Volkswagen and Würth, combines a corporation's multiple complex electronic banking interfaces into a single, integrated solution that reduces complexity, support requirements and associated costs. The announcement was made at Sibos, the world's premier financial services event, being held in Boston, October 1-5.

SAP Integration Package for SWIFT immediately solves the challenge faced by many multinational corporations that exchange electronic information with banks in different countries and continents. On average, corporations must maintain as many as 10 separate proprietary electronic bank integrations to transfer financial information between their banks and the company's financial applications. These systems may use widely different protocols and data formats, which often results in an overwhelming amount of system complexity and maintenance requirements that drive up the costs of electronic banking for corporations.

SAP has created a unified offering that combines multiple, non-standard bank integrations into a single, standards-based access point for managing a company's electronic communications with its multiple banks. This comprehensive corporate-to-bank connectivity can help companies streamline payment flows, gain real-time visibility into global cash positions, strengthen regional compliance and provide highly secure financial transactions, all with greatly reduced costs.

"Through SWIFTNet, SAP ERP provides its customers with a single, secure, standardized and reliable communication platform with the banking community," said Luc Meurant, head of Corporatte Access Programme of SWIFT. "This will help corporations gain better visibility into their funds, reduce complexity and increase straight through processing. SAP Integration Package for SWIFT is a major catalyst in accelerating the adoption of SWIFTNet by corporations. We look forward to continuing success with SAP."

Banks will benefit from this standardized framework as well. Fewer proprietary integrations should result in lower IT maintenance costs for banks. At the same time, banks can offer more sophisticated value-added services for their customers and cross-sell additional services, increasing their wallet share with corporate customers. With this announcement, SAP also unveiled a service offering to help banks implement the new SAP-SWIFT connectivity technologies for corporate clients.

Businesses are Ready for SAP Integration Package for SWIFT
Cross-industry acceptance of SAP Integration Package for SWIFT has been building for some time as customers demand more robust and standardized electronic communications between their financial management systems and their banks.

"SAP Integration Package for SWIFT has streamlined our banking communications into a single, efficient channel that makes payments and deposits to our accounts simple and direct," said Claus Wild of Würth.

Thomas Bammel, team leader Cash-Management and e-Banking, Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, noted, "The integration between SAP and SWIFT is a logical next step in building a more efficient financial ecosystem between corporate customers and their banks. This technology will allow Volkswagen to achieve a global approach connecting banks worldwide and provide the company with a scaleable platform for all the Volkswagen entities. In addition, SAP Integration Packages for SWIFT provides an ideal way to manage transactions initiated on SAP ERP and then format them for transmission via the SWIFT network. We will also deploy the SAP Bank Relationship Management application on top of SAP Integration Package for SWIFT to obtain a high degree of control and end-to-end automation of electronic payment processes."

"Today's announcement heralds the alignment between the SAP ERP application and the SWIFT community," said Tobias Dosch, senior vice president ERP application solution management, SAP. "Overall, this partnership provides more economical electronic payment solutions to our customers and deepens SAP's commitment to supporting electronic payment standards and to the banking industry."

Integrated ERP with Enhanced Banking Functionality
SAP Integration Package for SWIFT is a brand new solution for its customers and includes the following functionality and services:
  • Comprehensive electronic payments and bank integration
  • Support of straight-through-processing (STP)
  • Support for the SWIFT FIN and FileAct messaging services
  • Enhanced global cash management and transparency
  • Support of ISO 20022 payment standard

The full implementation package will be available with the second enhancement package for SAP ERP, which includes the SAP Bank Relationship Management application, a comprehensive electronic payments management system that offers more complete control of corporate electronic payments processing, including the ability to group payments, comply with international standards and set approval levels for outgoing payments.

SAP ERP Thrives on Momentum
Currently more than 3,400 customers are leveraging the latest version of SAP ERP, and adoption continues to be strong. The value and strength of SAP ERP, its stable platform and its ability to support long-term growth and innovation have continued to drive customers to adopt the application.

(*) SAP defines business software as comprising enterprise resource planning and related applications such as supply chain management, customer relationship management, product life-cycle management and supplier relationship management.

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