Intelligent Environments (iE) and Mistral have signed a partnership agreement to provide application development and hosting services for banks.
Online financial software specialist iE and award-winning business connectivity services provider Mistral say the agreement will enable banks to deploy secure, scalable online services faster and at lower cost than in-house IT departments.
Spanish banking group BBVA is the partnership's first customer. BBVA is using iE's NetFinance software running on Mistral-hosted servers to support its innovative new credit card aimed at frequent travellers.
According to iE and Mistral, the alliance is based on complementary business and technical skills in a sector where both firms are already strong players. iE's client list includes HBOS, HSBC, RBS and The Bank of New York, while Mistral provides services to Lloyds TSB, RBS and M&G Prudential, among others.
Jerry Mulle, director of sales and marketing, iE, said: "NetFinance has helped our customers deliver secure, scalable, high-performance financial applications online. But even the best-run systems can run into problems when transaction volumes grow beyond the capacity of the hardware or the network has insufficient bandwidth to handle peak loads.
"In Mistral, we have a partner who can guarantee that whatever promises we make about the quality of the software will be kept from the moment the application is deployed to the end of its operational life."
Jason Vaughan-Phillips, business development manager, Mistral, said: "For the client, the key issues are peace of mind and cost of ownership. Quantity of service factors – processing capacity and bandwidth – are important, but financial institutions also expect first-rate security, project management and technical support.
"With trading conditions as tough as ever, it's not enough to match the cost of providing the same level of service in-house. We need to be able to demonstrate significantly lower cost of ownership. iE shares our belief that high performance and quality of service can still be achieved without sacrificing cost benefits."
According to analysts, customers can make savings of between 25% and 32% in the first year by outsourcing their hosting requirements. The majority of projects now undertaken by iE have involved NetFinance running on third-party servers, a customer preference that continues to increase given internal IT constraints. Outsourced hosting is the fastest growing part of Mistral's business with revenues increasing 100% year-on-year.
iE's Mulle said: "The hosting trend is well established. Just as you don't need to own the road to make a journey, businesses are realising that they don’t need to own the infrastructure to deliver viable services."