CheckFree i-Solutions, Inc., a business unit of CheckFree Corporation (Nasdaq: CKFR), announced the signing of an agreement with NTT DATA Corporation (formerly part of the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone [NTT] Corporation) to develop advanced e-billing solutions for the Japanese business and consumer markets. Based on CheckFree i-Series, the leading global e-billing application suite, NTT DATA plans to commence marketing activities immediately.
This partnership brings together two of the most experienced providers in the electronic billing and payments (EBP) industry. NTT DATA is Japan's largest systems integrator and payment service provider, and CheckFree is the world's leading provider of e-billing technology and payment services. Harnessing decades of experience between them, NTT DATA and CheckFree i-Solutions are set to deliver cutting edge e-billing solutions to Japanese telecommunications, utilities, banks, credit card providers, government and other high-volume billers, particularly within business-to-business markets.
NTT DATA's strategy is to leverage CheckFree's experience and proven solutions to offer a highly reliable and user-friendly e-billing solution at a lower cost and with shorter development cycles than other providers. NTT DATA believes that with Japan's high Internet penetration and increasing requirement for advanced e-billing services, the company is strategically placed to help billers provide differentiating services and a higher level of value-added functionality than their competition. Not only can NTT DATA bring services to market rapidly due to the easy, configurability of CheckFree i-Series, but the wide range of value-added applications and low overall total cost of ownership provides ongoing cost and maintenance efficiencies for NTT DATA's Japanese clients.
The choice to partner with CheckFree was made after an exhaustive examination of other leading e-billing vendors and followed a stringent process of analysis and due diligence. The CheckFree i-Series software proved it could support complex Japanese business-to-business e-billing applications through its ability to store and manage complex hierarchical data structures, a powerful range of data analysis and graphing tools and the solution's proven scalability. At the same time, i-Series offers a rapid and low cost deployment, facilitated by its open architecture and a comprehensive suite of powerful application design and administration tools. A functionally rich Web-based customer service representative interface caters for improved customer care and results in a reduced workload within call center operations. Of particular benefit to the Japanese market is CheckFree i-Series' ability to offer fully internationalized applications - extending essential double-byte character set support to Japanese billers. In the final analysis, not only did the CheckFree i-Series software come out ahead of other products, but CheckFree as an organization was also the first choice. NTT DATA was impressed with the company's solidity, its well-established partner program and its list of existing blue-chip production clients across the Asia Pacific region which already includes major fixed and mobile telecoms operators in Taiwan, Australia and Malaysia.
"CheckFree is very much at the forefront of the electronic billing and payments industry. We believe that leveraging this global experience is the best way to deliver a sophisticated solution for Japanese billers, especially to the business-to-business sector which typically processes a high-volume of complex billing statements," said Mr. Yoshida, senior executive manager of the B2B-B2C Payments Unit at NTT DATA. "Understandably we wanted to work with the undisputed global e-billing and invoicing leader. CheckFree i-Solutions' experience in developing a wide range of complex billing environments with maximum efficiency will help us realize our objectives in the shortest possible time. CheckFree i-Series software, which has been implemented in over 150 sites across 23 countries, gives us the platform we need to take a swift lead in Japan's business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-billing and e-statement market and achieve our sales target of 500 million yen by 2005."
"NTT DATA sees the adoption of electronic billing and payment to be a strategic part of its offering to billers and financial services providers and is keen to build on the wide range of business and solution opportunities that the partnership with CheckFree promises," said Steve Wright, Director of Global Marketing at CheckFree i-Solutions. "We are extremely enthusiastic about the relationship with NTT DATA and confident that CheckFree's global e-billing and e-statement experience will prove a valuable asset to NTT DATA and its customers both now and in the future."